Statement from the United Action for Democracy [UAD] Towards the 1st Anniversary of the January Uprising
ONE YEAR SINCE THE JANUARY UPRISING: A CALL TO DEEPEN THE UNFOLDING REVOLUTIONARY PROCESS IN NIGERIA
[OPEN LETTER TO THE JANUARY COALITION]
The United Action For Democracy [UAD], a historic political nationwide coalition of citizens’ organisations across our country Nigeria, wish to once again express our deep and sincere appreciation to the overwhelming majority of our citizens who took collective popular action during and since the January Uprising to rid this country of the endemic, widespread, pervasive and systemic corruption and impunity in governance perpetrated and perpetuated by the Nigerian ruling elite in government, in opposition and in business!
In January 2012 we all rose up as one people and achieved in 10 days of glorious nationwide mass action and general strike, for ourselves and our country, more than what had been achieved in the previous 10 decades of nation building by an inept, incompetent, treasury looting, selfish and greedy ruling class.
We dared to struggle against the systemic corruption and impunity that has impoverished 70% of our population, ensuring that the richest 10% of Nigerians [perpetrators and beneficiaries of treasury looting] owned 41% of national wealth, while 20% of the poorest Nigerians barely own 4.1% of national wealth.
Although it was the unconscionable hiking of fuel prices that triggered our anger and unleashed the fury of the January Uprising; we were all very clear that it was unbridled treasury looting that led us down the path where our refineries had become moribund, thus turning a country which is the 6th largest oil producer in the world, with the 3rd largest installed refinery capacity in Africa, into one that depends exclusively on importation of refined products to meet its domestic needs!
Thus as we approach the first anniversary of that Uprising, with all the issues that have emerged since, with the revelations about the actual scale and scope of the corruption and rot in the system, and precious little having been done in the one year since January with regards to taking concrete steps to clean the Augean stable of corruption, grand theft, and impunity; it behoves on us, Nigerian citizens, the victims of this treasury looting, to while reflecting on our January Uprising, once again take collective action to demand, press for and ensure that we get the change that we want and need!
This unprecedented scale and scope of treasury looting amounting to the loss of close to 17 trillion naira to extra budgetary theft alone over the last decade; that is on average the size of 4 annual federal budgets; is what is responsible for the inability of governments at all levels to meet the basic requirement of governance, which is to ‘ensure the security and wellbeing of all citizens’.
Corruption has thus become the single most significant impediment to provisioning the basic needs [social services and infrastructures] of citizens, and guaranteeing their security and welfare. It is why insecurity has become so pervasive across the country.
It is against this background therefore that the UAD is calling on the Labour Civil Society Coalition [LACSO – comprising NLC, TUC, UAD & JAF] in particular, the primary organisers and coordinators of the January Uprising; as well as the January Coalition in general [that is the multitude of other citizens’ organisations, including the various Diaspora Occupy Nigeria Movements, which though not formally affiliated with the Labour Civil Society Coalition, nevertheless collaborated and joined with that Coalition in prosecuting the January Uprising]; to begin to organise, mobilise and prepare to take collective Nationwide & Diaspora Mass Action, not only to commemorate the First Anniversary of the January Uprising; But to also reiterate our demands, and set new deadlines for the realization of those demands!
In particular we call for LASCO to hold national meetings of the coalition in Abuja and Lagos simultaneously; after which meetings of the January Coalition should also be held across the country at state level.
We specifically urge 2 Days of Nationwide Mass Protests accompanied by a 48-hour General Strike to mark the first anniversary of the January Uprising and place existing and new demands on the agenda with very clear timelines!
We are not unaware of the anger that followed the way and manner in which the January Uprising was terminated; we are not unaware of the seeds of doubt and distrust sown by that process. We however wish to state categorically that the solidarity and collaboration of the four coalitions in the Labour civil society coalition is not an act of charity, it is an historical obligation. For it is only together and united that we can win; it is only if we strike together that we can achieve the maximum impact; and it is only the collective action of the working class acting together with its allies that can inflict the most impact on capitalist society and help to make the necessary transition and social transformation possible.
It is our duty learning from the January Uprising to put in place measures to discourage unilateralism, and the consequent feeling of betrayal in new joint struggles. Not working together is not an option; because it will merely constitute a call to failure! Together we have a chance to win! Separately we stand no chance at all.
We continue to affirm our conviction of the Labour Civil Society Coalition [LACSO] as the United Front of the Popular Pro-working peoples’ forces and social formations.
We therefore urge the formal inclusion in this United Front of the Federation of Informal Sector Workers of Nigeria [FIWON] as the third labour centre in the coalition.
We reaffirm our commitment to work with our allies [NLC, TUC, JAF & FIWON] within LACSO to step up the organisation and mobilisation of the working and exploited majority of Nigerians towards their Social Emancipation.
We call on this United Front – LACSO, to take on the immediate responsibility of coordinating the struggle of Nigerians for Social Transformation, by building on the gains of the January Uprising [otherwise referred to as Occupy Nigeria], through consolidating the January Coalition into massive Pan Nigerian platform of struggle for socio-political change.
In this regard We require immediate answers not only with respect to full disclosures with respect to the scope and scale of the rot in the system; but also, and particularly with respect to transparent and immediate steps being taken to address the rot and cleanse the Augean stable. In this regard we equally demand the immediate prosecution and punishment of everyone implicated in government or in business, the recovery of looted funds, etc.
It is up to us as Nigerian citizens, victims of this historic pillage and monumental looting of our common wealth, to Stand Up and Together Once Again Take Collective Action To TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY from the swarm of locusts that have been laying our collective harvest to waste!
We call on all citizens of goodwill to join us in this historic quest to remake our country.
Jaye Gaskia Ken Henshaw
United Action For Democracy [UAD] United Action For Democracy [UAD]