AFENIFERE, the Meaning of Progressive Politics, nothing progressive about APC

JAF Mobilisation in KANO for mass action against Buhari/APC led government over hike in fuel, electricity prices and increase in VAt

No true progressive party in power will unleash market forces on the poor citizens to make them poorer, none. 

By its coinage and interpretation, the Action Group, AG, of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, defined "progressive" politics as "Afenifere" i.e, life more abundant for all". This guiding principle defined the welfarist programnes of the party, AG and later UPN, Unity Party of Nigeria, - free & qualitative education, free health for all, rural integrated development, massive employment, drastic tax cut, farm settlement  scheme, establishment of market board to buy off farmers' produce, which acts as a buffer to stabilize local and international prices of cocoa and other produces for farmers to get richer.

Instead of privatizing and selling off public corporations as scraps to their fronts, the AG and later UPN government in the West was investing heavily in creation of public utilities for commonwealth like low cost housing estates, public works corporations for road construction and rehabilitation, industrial estates, forest reserves, banks, hotels, schools and vocational centres, newspapers, television and radio stations and many more so as to create much  commonwealth to finance their public service  driven programnes. As they were creating commonwealth they were also building  human capacity to meet the knowledge requirement.

Awolowo led progressive party never embraced SAP or unleashed privatization, deregulation, commercialisation of public utilities on the people because that would be antithetical to their concept of "AFENIFERE" - Life more abundant for all. Government had business with the business of giving service to the people so that the people in turn can give service back to the region. That we still have high number of Professors in the predominantly  agrarian Ekiti-Ondo axis, was a product of that vision and endeavors of a truly progressive party, AG, to make life more abundant to the overwhelming majority of the people.

The Awo's team appropriately defined their vision and path to Nigeria's greatness and they stood by it in principle and actions. They remained committed to true federalism, resource control, ethnic nationalism. You agreed or disagreed with them, they were guided by their  defined ideology - social democracy. At least, you know what they stood for on almost all issues of governance. 

No progressive party will throw citizens to the jaw of maximum profit driven market forces, it's a monumental fraud to still call such a party "progressive". It's a conservative party led by an ultra-conservative president. Nothing progressive about  APC.

APC and its conjoined  twin, PDP, are strongly  united by their politics and economic philosophy -  election rigging, vote buying, neo-liberal economic attacks. The only "difference" is that the conservative PDP never pretended about its market forces driven anti-poor neo-liberal economic attacks on the people since its establishment  and they never  swindled people in their campaigns with promises of  true federalism, resource control, ethnic nationalism, they are  pretentious nationalists and status quo defenders all the time. 

It's because of this identical political and market economy philosophy that binds the two parties together  that makes it  so easy for a  top politician or a high profile political  thug  to sleep in the evening as an ultra-conservative and wake up in the morning as a "progressive" or vice versa. Ize Iyamu and Obaseki's switch of parties "just like that" to run for gubernatorial election further put a lie to any pretence to ideological difference. The two anti-poor, pro-rich, pro-market capitalist parties are one in soul and spirit. 

For a better Nigeria, system change is inevitable.

Adeola Soetan

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