By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
The Joint Action Front (JAF), the pro-Labour civil society partner of the Organised Labour, is organising a Summit in alliance with pro-people civil society groups to appraise the crises in Nigeria and work out a collective agenda of struggle for a Political Alternative.
The Summit as a first step is bringing together all organisations of the working people and the poor masses, comprising the Labour unions, Students, Academic, Professionals, Artisans and traders, Residents Associations, Left and Progressive Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, Faith-based groups and others.
Invitations have been sent to organisations that are genuinely interested in a Political Alternative and are willing to be involved in the struggle with the poor masses and the working people for political power. The Summit is scheduled on Tuesday, 29THMay, 2018; at 158, PLOT 34 Kudirat Abiola Way, First Bank B/Stop, Oregun between 10.00am and 4.00pm.
Comrade Abiodun Aremu, JAF Secretary, in a statement on Thursday, narrated that in the run down to the 2015 general elections, when the Buhari-APC appealed to the Nigerian people, with its alleged change-mantra, JAF at a press Conference held on March 9, 2015 cautioned that: “Irrespective of the party that wins the presidential election, the crisis in the economy is bound to continue because the economic agenda of the two major parties (PDP and APC) remains dependent on oil and capitalist policies of privatisation and deregulation. These policies are operated and championed by servants of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose main business is to steal our national wealth for the use of the exploiters in Europe, United States of America, Japan, Asia, etc. These agents cannot defend the working people, the poor and the oppressed anywhere”.
Aremu bemoaned that with three years of the APC-Buhari Government and less than one year to the 2019 General elections, the prevailing crises in the economy are deepening with the adoption of the IMF and World Bank policies, fuel prices are still high, the value of the Naira fluctuates with attendant increases in inflation and high prices of goods and services, rising unemployment and job losses, excruciating poverty, poor power supply and super exploitation of consumers through estimated billing, auctioning of public infrastructure and national assets, arrears of unpaid workers’ salaries and the genuine demands for a new minimum wage being manipulated to hoodwink workers for electoral advantage, violence of ethnic and political colorations and insecurity of life across the country compounded by the emboldened onslaughts of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, continuing sharp corrupt practices under a regime claiming to fight corruption, etc. There are also unabashed attacks on the poor by State Governments with repressive actions such as demolition of settlements and workplaces without compensation or alternative, etc., he added.
He recalled that as at March 2015, JAF was clear of the necessity for a Political Alternative and had then declared:
“But beyond the elections is the challenge of organising and mobilising the working people, the poor and the oppressed to resist the Austerity Measures and further misery for the people that are imminent irrespective of the party that win. There is also the fundamental issue of change. To achieve change we must build a Genuine Working People’s Alternative.
“We should ask: what kind of change does the working people and the oppressed want? Is it the Change by the ruling political parties who have looted the country dry? What should constitute Change and who can really effect the Change?
For us in JAF, the Change we want will UNITE the vast majority of our people under a government that will organise the working people and oppressed poor to boost our productive capacities and will use the resources for sustainable economic and social advancement; thereby reversing our economic dependency and restoring our dignity as an independent country.
“The Government of the working people will take care of all Nigerians no matter where they come from, their religion, where they live, and their sex. It will care for all Nigerians dehumanised by the rule of the oppressors”.
Aremu advocated that the crises in Nigeria will continue so long as nothing fundamental is done by the pro-people organisations to rally and unite the oppressed masses across the country around an agenda of a Political Alternative for their true liberation.