SYSTEM CHANGE NOW!!
The Joint Action Front (JAF) salutes the working people in Nigeria and their counterparts across the world on the occasion of this year 2012 MAY DAY, which is the 126th Anniversary of the struggle led by workers in Chicago, USA in 1886 that has become known and celebrated as May Day. That struggle, which claimed the lives of some of the workers’ leaders, ensured that working hours, which used to be for as long as 16 – 20 hours a day for poor wages were regulated to 8 hours work a day and workers all over the world are entitled to a definite condition of service and the rights to associate and unionise.
WHY WORKERS MUST LEAD THE STRUGGLE FOR SYSTEM CHANGE?
Workers are daily retrenched, unemployment continues to grow and prices of goods and services are rising. None of the public and private employers is paying the Minimum Wage according to the spirit and letter of the 2011 Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act. The above are some of the hardships created by the present corrupt system.
The lesson of the January 2012 protest led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and JAF is that a struggle for system change is a legitimate struggle that workers should not shy away from and the need for a POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE to replace the present rot. The January protest could not achieve the set goal of FUEL PRICE REVERSAL to N65 because the leadership of the protest, in the absence of a POLITICAL PLATFORM of the working people and the poor, succumbed to the blackmail and threats of militarisation and violence by the Jonathan presidency and the Governors’ Forum.
Nigerian working people should realise that we have a patriotic duty and legitimate right to drive away every bad government and unjust system and replace such with a government/system that would be committed to the socio-economic transformation of their life and the use of the collective wealth of the society for the common good of all as against the greed of few.
On this 2012 May Day, JAF calls on the Nigerian workers and working people generally to embrace and support the struggle for SYSTEM CHANGE, which has become inevitable in the light of the recently released Report on Oil Subsidy’s thieves by the House of Representatives and the desperation by the ruling cabals and their associates in thievery to undermine the prosecution of the subsidy rogues indicted in the report.
The main challenge before the Nigerian workers is the unjust system and JAF has consistently maintained that SYSTEM CHANGE should be the goal. Nigerians have no option but to struggle for SYSTEM CHANGE and the Nigerian workers also have no option but to lead the fight for SYSTEM CHANGE.
ARE WE REALLY FIGHTING CORRUPTION?
Privatisation, Deregulation, Commercialisation, Concessioning, subsidies withdrawal and devaluation of the Naira are the real issues in promoting and sustaining corruption. These wicked policies so called economic reform or transformation agenda by successive military and civilian regimes are aimed at looting our collective wealth.
Nigerian workers and the working people need to rise above the present anger for the prosecution of the oil thieves. We have passed through similar routes before (power probe, etc) with shocking revelation but none of the culprit has been prosecuted to date. Instead, we need a determined struggle to put an END to all these deceitful economic policies imposed on Nigerians since the era of military rule. All those policies such as SAP, Vision 2010, NEPAD, NEEDS/SEEDS/LEEDS, Vision 2020, 7-Point Agenda, Transformation Agenda, SURE, etc, are ‘same of the same’; aimed at looting. These policies are dictated by IMF and World Bank. Nothing good can come to the people on the account of these wicked policies. Therefore, workers need to know that it is what happens in the economy that determines how governance is conducted.
If the Nigerian workers are to genuinely fight corruption and ensure JUST governance, we must be prepared for a struggle that should seek to rid away the unjust system that is responsible for corruption. We must struggle for a SYSTEM CHANGE that would guarantee Nigerians basic necessities of life as guaranteed in Section 16 of the 1999 Constitution on the Economic Objectives of Government, which include: national minimum living wage, old age care and pension, State control of the major sectors of the economy, etc.
JAF says it is not enough for the National Assembly to pass resolution for the prosecution of the looters and profiteers of the oil subsidy, it has a responsibility to put in place legal and constitutional measures that should:
· Ensure the reversal of the neo-liberal economic policies of privatisation and deregulation – the main architect of corruption;
· Expunge plea-bargain and light sentences for corruption offenders and make the minimum sentence 25 years imprisonment with hard labour to offenders; and
· keeping public the major sectors of the economy under democratic control of workers and relevant professonals.
THE WAY FORWARD
JAF urges the Nigerian workers and the working people not to agonise but to work towards a National Campaign to rally Nigerians towards a POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE as a way out of the present decadence. DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
Reject the IMF & WORLD BANK POLICIES!
Rid Nigeria of looters and Profiteers!
Reject the N97 Fuel Price and Resist the plot by FG and Marketers to further increase fuel prices!
Demand for SYSTEM CHANGE to guarantee Full Employment and wealth creation, Revival of local industries, Revitalization of Education and Health sectors, etc
Mobilise and Participate in Mass Actions declared by JAF and its allies!!
DR. DIPO FASHINA Comrade ABIODUN AREMU
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary