by Segun Ogun
The certificate of registration of Labour Party was returned to the Nigeria Labour Congress by Dan Nwuanyanwu, a former National Chairperson of LP, reigniting hope and debate about the possibility of reclaiming the party for the working class. But, if anything tangible is to come out of this hope, the tasks of mobilising workers into the ranks of the party and its adoption of a socialist programme need to be taken up with urgency.
The 2003 NLC policy on Labour and Politics clearly states that the party required to be built must be based on a socialist ideology and have a robust internal democracy, resting on mass workers’ involvement. But through bureaucratic manoeuvrings, the party NLC established was based on a social-democratic programme. With inadequate faith in the mass of the working class, a turn to “progressive” bosses was also canvassed.
This prepared the grounds for the movement from bad to worse; reducing the party to an electoral machine, where its tickets were sold to the highest bidder amongst those bosses who had lost out in their more traditional capitalist parties. Unfortunately, the National Caretaker Committee set up by NLC and TUC last year is about as rotten as the National Working Committee elected at the disputed Akure Convention of October 11. Its leading members appear more interested in using NLC and TUC as crutches for holding onto power rather than mobilising workers from below.
At this juncture, if the tasks that confront the party are to be met, organised labour needs to ensure that a new all inclusive Convention (involving labour’s radical civil society allies, whom the Caretaker Committee members are against) is held. This must be charged with electing a leadership that is guided by the primary principle of the working class’ self-emancipation and laying the ideological, political and organisational basis for re-building LP as a fighting mass-based workers’ party with a socialist manifesto for building a new Nigeria, with workers’ power.