Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Imperialism, Obasanjo And Nigerians
Democratic Socialist Movement
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
April 1, 2006
The political situation of the country is becoming a somewhat decisive factor for common man survival today than ever. What this implies is that the roles of our public office holders today are having a direct bearing on the lives of the teeming majority of the people. As a popular saying goes that the economic, political and history matters cannot be separated. While economic is decisive, the political determine who get what from the economic gains while the history is the story of that relation. Therefore at this juncture it is important to discuss the various issues that are confronting the vast majority of the people most especially in the political arena.
The most important issue today is the self-perpetuation agenda of the Obasanjo government which has attracted negative comments from various quarters – both genuine and otherwise. Not to be forgotten is also the positions of the establishment town-criers who want to justify to us the necessity of the ruinous agenda of continuity. However, it is important to first state that looking at the way the Obasanjo and other surrogates of his got to power, a sophist may be forced to conclude that there is no need to discuss their political activities of those who stole peoples’ mandate in order to satisfy their pecuniary interests. Moreover, the economic activities of these peoples have made the frustrated majority to get disenchanted with the political system. Nevertheless, when one looks at the trend of events in the country, the continuous degeneration of the country further in to the abyss of barbarism, one discovers the necessity not only to analysis the situation but also for the progressive trend to mobilize all there forces and chart a viable way out for the mass of the people who are already enslaved by the system.
One of the arguments of the pro-third elements is that the Obasanjo government has been able to stabilize the economic system of the country. But it should be clearly stated to them that such argument is not meant to convince the majority of the poor masses but to convince imperialism and the powers that determine the political career of the capitalist ruling class whose economic interests they are defending in the corridors of power. For the toiling masses, the economic policies of the Obasanjo government and its clones have meant continued misery for them. Are we to talk of the privatization policy which has led to hand over of Nigeria’s vast economic resources to multinational corporations at token fees (which has attracted vast condemnation from global human rights community), and who invest neither in the human nor material leading to retrenchment of many workers who are deprived of economic power along with other dependants of those workers. Moreover, the remaining working people are over-worked to provide huge profit for the multinational corporations leading to high capital flight from the country. Therefore, in the final analysis, the country is again turned into a cheap haven for the cheap profit for the multinationals and their local allies while the majority of the people are subjected to excruciating poverty via inflation, currency devaluation low purchasing power, further closure of local factories and further retrenchment. This has been amplified by various policy organizations in the world but the ruling class who are “the extension of the imperialist corporations and economic hit-men of corporatocracy” using the language of John Perkin’s language in his highly revealing book, “Confession of an Economic Hit-man”.
Other policies also has no better effects; such policies as retrenchment, liberalization of market, deregulation of the oil industry, and most recent of all is the debt ‘relief’ policy in which over $12 billion is being given away to the multilateral vampires called Paris Club, London club and other financial cartels. While it is a known fact that just 2% of the borrowed money was actually used while the remaining were stashed away in foreign banks by despots in the country supported by the developed nations and multilateral organizations like IMF, World Bank, WTO, etc and the same money is loaned out again to other third world country (According to Oxfam International, Jubilee USA, reports on debt etc). Furthermore, it is estimated that only about $19 billion was originally borrowed by Nigeria which, based on the fraudulent unilateral parameter of compound interest drawn by the creditors, has turned miraculously to $32 billion for Nigeria as a debt while Nigeria has paid over $40 billion for servicing and repayment! At the same time the whole debt of the third world countries is just 2% of the world’s debt, meaning that the multilateral creditors could forego the whole money for the development of these backward countries. Rather than do this, these vampires will prefer to plunder Nigerian economy via stashing away of half of Nigeria’s foreign reserve knowing fully that Nigeria has amassed some amount from oil boom.
At the other side, Nigeria was asked to implement what they call Policy Support Initiative (PSI) which in turn means SAP i.e. removal of subsidy on social services funding like education, health, and other infrastructures, which in turn imply economic attacks on the vast majority of the poor. This also mean that the money meant to provide free education, free health, better infrastructures, jobs, etc have been given out to multinational vampires who enrich themselves via the plundering of third world countries economies.
Yet, Obasanjo government and its town-criers like Fani-Kayode will want us to belief that these are gains for the mass of people in Nigeria! While education is in shambles, hospitals have become death centres while able bodied men are turned into artificial sinners and politician bandits, the members of the ruling class continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the state, e.g. N33 million annual dollar-salary for the minister of finance, Okonjo-Iweala, who tells us to tighten our belt for the economic hardship of the reform programme. Her salary is enough to provide jobs for six workers for the next ten years. While Obasanjo informed us that he is making N30 million from his Ota farm but failed to tell us how much he was making before 1999, and how much he is earning from the unproductive stock market and the allowances for junketing round the world ( that has brought us debt bondage). Yet, fact continue to emerge that billions are been looted and misappropriated by various members of the ruling class – N100 billion on fictitious TAM of the NNPC refineries, N200 billion on ghost road rehabilitation and construction during Tony Anenih corrupt ridden era has works minister, N33 billion looted from ID Card project, N150 billion from CHOGM, COJA and presidential jet, etc. there is also the 2002 Azu audit report which indicted the presidency of millennial misappropriation. These are scratches in the face of other gargantuan looting going on at various level of governance.
Therefore, in summary, the reason while Obasanjo must go on continuity mission is to perpetuate these obscene situations which will lead to social and economic alienation of the majority of the people. To achieve this people have to be gagged and ruled over in a dictatorial and undemocratic manner, which in turn requires use of bribery (Ohuwabuwa of MAN and Obasanjo’s N10 million donation to Kenneth Orkumah Hembe NANS, among others) and naked power display (attack on NLC and other secessionist agitators, among others). This in itself has the blessing of the hawk group of the imperialist powers holders of developed countries especially neo-liberalist US Bush/Republican and Britain’s Tony Blair/New Labour who belief that the current system and policy implementation must not be given any break or else it can mean a gain for the masses who will then take their struggle to the politico-economic arena which can spell doom for their economic and foreign policies. Moreover, no other representative of Nigeria’s ruling class can be trusted than this. However, the Dove within the imperialist power holders belief that unless there are change of faces, the current neo-liberal capitalist policies which are having untold hardship on the vast majority of the people, if maintained could lead to revolt and political turmoil thus jeopardizing their economic interests. Therefore, there is need to groom other layers of the pro-imperialism, pro-neo-liberalism ruling class that can deceive people for the mean time ( to stave off the threat of mass uprising)
However, it is unfortunate that rather for our media to have in-depth research into this issue; they have reduced it into a PDP/ ruling class affair and thus giving opportunity for some pro-establishment section of the press, especially the well-established ones to gain financial benefits via invitation to politicians and promotion of their views. It should be noted that if other present political parties are in power, the same policies will be implemented; the same political situation will arise. We are witnesses to how the AD governors attacked the masses via implementation of neo-liberal policies of retrenchment, cut in social service funding, etc., how tinubu government in Lagos as refused to show any tangible things for billions accruing to lagos months but continue to use some corrupt section of the media to promote his government; while the terrible experiences of ANPP governors cannot be easily forgotten.
Therefore, while of course Obasanjo continuity signify imminent civilian dictatorship (which has begun as early as 1999 anyway), it is more sensible to conclude that whether Obasanjo is continuing or not, if the current neo-liberal, neo-colonial imperialist capitalist socio-economic relation which assures more money and influence for the multinational corporations and the already super-rich few, while the vast majority of working and toiling masses wallow in abject poverty continues, we cannot stop having the Alams-gates, Ngige-gate, Ladoja-gate, third term-gate, etc, while poverty-gate will become perpetual experience for the teeming poor.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon those who identify with mass struggle for a better living to start to strategize on how to fight for a better economic system that is egalitarian, pro-poor and anti-imperialism; a system that will defend nationalization of the commanding height of the economy under the democratic control and management of the working people at various levels of economic activities, that will defend proper funding of the social service, and promote genuine people’s democracy. To do this, power must be taken away from the present set of self-serving capitalist politicians and put into the hands of the teeming working and toiling people who are suffering the system. Therefore, the human right activists, pro-democracy activists, socialists, environmentalists, etc must be ready to join force with the labour to demand for a workers’ party that will lead workers, students, police, army, peasants, and the oppressed in general in the struggle for political power in order to establish an egalitarian socialist society where the need and welfare of the people will be the basis of production, distribution and governance against the capitalist system in which interests of the rich few is supreme. The Nigerian situation is between revolution and barbarism.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.