Lagos DSM discusses the anti-corruption fight and the challenges for the working masses
The Lagos State Chapter of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) held its first aggregate meeting of the year on 16 January, 2016. The meeting was a follow-up to the previous meeting held in December 2015. It was partly meant to continue the discussion with people met in workplace interventions, students’ movement and community campaigns that are interested in the DSM’s ideas and activities. In declaring the meeting open, Ayo Ademiluyi noted that it became necessary to review the anti-corruption fight of the Buhari regime which has seen several elements alleged to have taken part in the monumental fraud called the “arms deal” brought to trial. He raised the need for the working masses to review the whole scenario with the objective of drawing the tasks and challenges for the coming period.
In his introduction off on the topic for the political discussion, Buhari and the Anti-Corruption Fight, Hassan Taiwo Soweto employing facts and figures highlighted the monumental fraud that took place under the smokescreen of “arms deal” and the widespread corruption that characterized the Jonathan regime. He pointed out that while Socialists support all genuine efforts to recover all stolen funds and demand the stiffest penalties for convicted looters, we also must point out the limitation of fighting corruption under the system of capitalism which inherently promotes and nurtures corruption.
An aspect of this limitation is manifested in the fact that the dragnet of the probe is not directed holistically at all politicians including state governors and local government chairmen and councilors who served under the last administration. If this is done, a lot of mini-Dasukis would be unearthed. Many state governors and their officials also used similar means as the former National Security Advisers (NSA) to funnel public resources into other purposes including to finance their party’ candidates during the last general elections.
Another aspect is the fact that while Dasuki has made it known times without number that all decisions he took over the $2.1 billion arms funds were authorized by former President Jonathan, nothing is being done to arrest the former president, and it is unlikely that anything would be done to him. Throughout the history of Nigeria, former heads of state and presidents, except late Sanni Abacha because of his death, no matter the level of their crimes while in office are often left undisturbed to enjoy their loot as respected statesmen.
He submitted on a basis of capitalism, the Buhari regime with its acclaimed “good intentions” cannot successfully clean the Augean table. He argued that without a working class political alternative built to throw out the entire looting elite and capitalism from power, the efforts of a “one-man savior” cannot resolve the fundamental crisis of capitalism.
During the questions and comments session, a young student comrade from Lagos State University (LASU) argued that individual moral uprightness of citizens is also required to rid the country of corruption. In their comments, Pelad and Segun Sango replied that given the neo-colonial capitalist economy of the Nigerian society that creates the material condition for corruption, no amount of individual moral uprightness can fix bad roads, repair collapsed schools, put in place proper infrastructure and meet the basic needs of the vast majority. It will require a working people government on a socialist program which entails democratic running of the society including public ownership of the commanding heights and democratic control by the working people before the human and material resources of Nigeria can be used for the benefit of the society and vast majority of the population.
In his sum-up, Dagga Tolar argued that various capitalist attacks including hike in the Value Added Tax (VAT) could be intensified in the coming period by the government using the collapse of oil revenue as the excuse. He stressed that socialists must come to the fore in helping build a mass movement against the capitalist attacks like the hike in electricity tariff and increase in taxes if introduced.
The meeting ended on a note of fresh confidence among both the new members of the organization and the old layers that the coming period offers new opportunities with growing layer of workers, students and youth searching for a genuine way out of the myriad of crisis that capitalism has foisted on the mass of the working people.