A CLARION CALL by Joint Action Front [JAF]
Being Text of the Press Conference by Joint Action Front (JAF) held at CCG, Lagos, March 9th 2015
We in the Joint Action Front (JAF) welcome our dear media compatriots to this press conference, which has been specifically scheduled to state our positions on the State of the Nation and our resolve to defend the interest of the Nigerian working people and the oppressed poor classes at all times.
The Nigerian economy is heading towards a collapse despite the empty assurance by the Federal Government and its various spoke-persons that all is well. The prevalent socio-economic realities have proven the Government wrong.
Our assessment has shown that the Federal Government and State Governments and their agencies are in deficit of arrears of salaries to workers across the country, which Governments admitted has been due to the shortfall in national revenues, and thereby informed the short fall in allocations.
However, JAF notes that the same economic downturn, which is the direct result of the capitalist economic policies of privatisation, deregulation and the underdevelopment of the nation’s productive forces, is bound to continue as long as this system of exploitation continues.
Over the years, we in JAF have maintained that this system of exploitation must be fought and defeated, hence our consistent struggle for SYSTEM CHANGE in the direction of socialist transformation of the Nigerian society.
STATE OF THE NATION
.The highlights of the State of the Nation are:
· The General elections of February 14 and 28 were postponed and despite the new dates of March 28 and April 11, there are worrisome signals of the conspiracy to again postpone the election. The use of the MILITARY to force the postponement of the elections is dangerous and threatens even the new election dates of March 28 and April 11. Who, except the military itself, determines whether or not there is enough security? Nigeria must not allow the military to come again and tell us we cannot have elections. We must resist this for the sake of our country and its people.
· There is no end in sight to the Boko Haram menace despite the renewed war by the military.
· There are crises in the economy, manifesting in very big, sharp drop in prices of crude oil, destruction of the value of the Naira, heavy and cruel joblessness, abject poverty and no one, no place is safe from violence in our country.
· How have Governments responded to the drop in oil revenue? The same old therapies: default in paying workers’ salaries, retrenchment, Austerity measures in the 2015 budget, neglect of public infrastructure, no welfare, more starvation, more insecurity, more suffering for the working people, the poor and the oppressed. For the exploiters, more riches through foreign currency, cheaper labour, heavier profit.
· 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.
· In Nigeria, the privatisation and deregulation policies have undermined the 1999 Constitution, which in stating the country’s economic objectives, makes it mandatory that the commanding heights of the economy shall not be in private hands. Rulers, their governments and their agents have sold and are determined to sell everything sellable unless the working people lead the oppressed to stop them.
LESSONS OF HISTORY
· The rule and policies of Electoral manipulations since post-independence Nigeria have been harbingers of national calamities. In the 1960s, election heist led to Operation Wetie, military rule and the 1967 - 70 Civil War. The 1983 NPN electoral moon-slide led to another 16 years of military rule. The crisis arising from the annulment of June 12 1993 election led to the strengthening of military dictatorship and anarchy.
· Who suffered in the past? Who will bear the brunt of ongoing political and economic crises in the country if they are allowed to get worse and worse? In all these crises, it is the working people and the oppressed poor that were worst hit with untold deprivation and bloodshed.
· We should therefore oppose all manner of electoral manipulations and postponement under whatever guise, including the ongoing rumour of a military coup or imposition of an interim regime to scuttle the election. The clear lesson from history is that such an aberration, will leave the working people and oppressed masses worst off, and thereby cut short the process of building a broad movement that can ensure the realisation of SYSTEM CHANGE under the control of the working people and oppressed.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
1. To Defend Democratic Gains won by the people of Nigeria.
· We have a DUTY to support the democratic rights of the Nigerian masses to choose their leaders through elections, hence we should INSIST that elections must hold peacefully and in line with INEC rules and guidelines on March 28 and April 11, Results must be declared and the winners of the elections must be sworn-in on May 29, 2015.
2. To mobilise the Working People and all the poor and oppressed in our country against Austerity Measures.
· 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.
3. To Build a Genuine People’s Political Alternative.
· Also, there is the fundamental issue of change. To achieve change we must build a Genuine Working People’s Alternative.
· We should ask: what kind of change do 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
· But to get this kind of Change, we in JAF cannot do it alone. This is why we have resolved to commend to all working people and all oppressed classes in Nigeria the necessity to join forces together and build a BROAD MOVEMENT that can put before the Nigerian People a Genuine Working People’s Alternative.
IMMEDIATE PROGRAMME OF ACTION
- We have started nationwide consultations with NLC, TUC, Trade Unions, Trade Associations, Student organisations, Professional Bodies (NMA, NBA, etc), Artisans and Market Groups, Residents Associations, CDAs, Progressive Political Parties, Left groups, CSOs and Faith-based groups on the basis of the above enumerated goals.
- A Consultative Meeting of all the consulted groups will hold before the elections to define the Programme of Action of the BROAD MOVEMENT and the tasks to organise all people’s organisations to come together and struggle to win.
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!
Dr. Oladipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary