SWL Statement on the Presidential Election in Nigeria

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1. The declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling APC as president-elect is yet again an endorsement of the triumph of impunity, violence and money bag politics in elections 

2. The 25 February presidential elections involved large-scale rigging, intimidation of voters, and vote-buying by the four leading parties (APC, PDP, LP & NNPP) in their different areas of influence. 

3. We condemn the process as not reflecting the People’s will and draw attention to the fact that elections in liberal democracy are skewed towards ensuring that the winner, irrespective of their party, represents and will defend capitalism and the ruling class’s continued exploitation and oppression of working-class people. 

4. In the particular case of the 25 February election, ineptitude and possible treachery of the electoral umpire was an important factor in determining who won.

The naira swap crisis that poor working people faced was also a weapon in the hands of the different contending parties and factions of the ruling class.

As we have argued earlier, rather than make vote-buying difficult it only made it cheaper for the richest parties, as several people were ready to part with their votes for a pittance. 

5. An interesting dimension of the election is the Labour Party’s performance. While this reflects general youth discontent with the two dominant parties and their indistinguishable commitment to neoliberal exploitations, it also reflects a general failure of the left to inspire and massify a clearly anti-capitalist fightback against the neoliberal agenda of the Labour Party’s candidates.

The middle-class driven “obidient” movement of the new Labour Party builds on the failure of organised labour’s building the party, which it established, as a radical working people’s party.

6. While vote rigging is a serious issue, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture: INEC reported a voter turnout of 27%. This is lower than the turnout of 35% in 2019. In fact, there has been a STEADY DECLINE OF VOTERS TURNOUT since 2003. And despite all the hype of massive rates of collection of PVCs, this trend continued into the 2023 general elections.

The ruling class have consistently pursued the neoliberal regime, regardless of party differences, causing disenchantment among the mass of the people. Collectively, they have consistently betrayed the working people. This is causing most Nigerians to opt out of the system entirely. This tells us that most Nigerians know that this system isn’t built for them. Nigerians want complete system change, not just a periodic charade to choose their next betrayer.

7.The different parties of the bosses will resolve their differences over the polls amicably, one way or the other. They do not want a rupture of the system. This is what informs the position of the LP as much as the PDP to approach the courts, instead of taking to the streets if they are really convinced that they won the elections. 

As revolutionaries, we will be part of any rising against the system, even if it starts with ideological confusion. But we will do this with a clearly unfurled banner of struggle against all factions of the ruling class, as none of them is interested in the emancipation of working-class people, which can be won only by the working people themselves. This perspective informed our Neither MKO nor IBB/Abacha position during the “June 12 struggle.” 

But the ruling class faction at the heart of the “Obidient” movement lacks both the spine or desire to deepen the ongoing intra-ruling class conflicts to a point that will bring the mass of the people into the equation of struggle directly. 

8. The tasks at hand require concerted efforts at building the presence and influence of revolutionary forces for popular struggle aimed at winning system change. The left’s strategy for this must include tactics that speak to the current electoral moment, but which are not limited to it. Extra-parliamentary politics, including strikes and demonstrations, must be at the heart of our approach to build counter-hegemonic power and fan the embers of the revolutionary fires latent in the hearts of working-class people. 

9. The African Action Congress & People’s Redemption Party-Vanguard alliance is the revolutionary alternative for working-class people in the ongoing general elections. We urge workers, poor farmers, artisans, youths, women and all people who want a qualitatively different Nigeria where the exploited people liberate themselves to come out and vote for the African Action Congress candidates in the governorship and states’ houses of assembly elections on 11 March.

The AAC/PRP-V alliance equally represents and promotes renewed and concrete hope for revolutionary left unity to inspire working-class people with an anti-capitalist agenda in the unfolding period after the elections. 

10. The president-elect, and indeed the candidates of the PDP & LP as well, made it clear during the campaigns that they will make life more difficult for the working masses. With an economy in tatters because of the global crisis of capitalism and the thievery of the ruling class in Nigeria, the incoming government has committed itself already to implementing the dictates of international financial institutions.

A sharp increase in fuel pump price in the name of “removing subsidy”, is just one of the many attacks we must expect and be prepared to resist. We must not allow the contention between the different factions of the ruling class and their parties over who won their elections to distract us.

Now more than ever, we must redouble our organising and mobilising for the struggles ahead. And our battle cry must be Workers and youth, unite and fight! 

            Sgd                                                                                     Sgd

Frances Akinjole                                                                     Kevinci Ayemhenre

National Chairperson                                                             National Secretary

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