The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), has elected comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto as its candidate to represent Ifo 2 constituency in the Ogun State House of Assembly. This took place at the party’s primary election on Saturday 29 September 2018 which held at TOF Hotel, Ikare Bus stop, Oke-Aro, Ifo LGA, Ogun State.
The primary elections was attended by enthusiastic party members from different wards of the constituency as well as party leaders from Ogun State, Lagos State and the national headquarters. This includes the party’s national secretary, Comrade Chinedu Bosah, Comrade Adeola Soetan (NEC member, Ogun state), Comrade Eko John Nicholas (Chairperson, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Afolayan Sunday (Treasurer, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Rufus Olusesan (Chairperson, SPN Lagos State), Mrs. Ronke Adebayo (Treasurer, SPN Lagos State) and Comrade Shoyombo (Publicity Secretary, SPN Lagos state).
Comrade Soweto is a Socialist and also a labour and youth activist. He is the national coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Through the ERC, comrade Soweto has led major campaigns across the length and breadth of the country to defend the rights to better funded, well-equipped and democratically-managed public education system. He has also been a consistent advocate and a vocal voice for the recognition of the rights of workers, women, youth and the downtrodden.
Ifo 2 constituency comprises some of the least-developed communities in Ogun State including Alagbole, Agbado, Ope-Ilu, Adiyan, Giwa/Oke-Aro, Matogbun, Maidan, Legun, Olambe and Akute just to mention a few.
While presenting the party’s flag to the candidate, Comrade Adeola Soetan, SPN NEC member representing Ogun State described the terrible condition of roads in the constituency as something below the standard of public infrastructures in war-thorn countries.
“Even in Afghanistan or Somalia, roads there are not this terrible. It makes me want to ask whether you have any government in Ogun state. I think the state of your roads is the more reason why you need to vote in someone who can represent you effectively at the Assembly to draw in development”.
In his acceptance speech, Comrade Soweto blamed the lack of development in the constituency on decades of neglect by successive anti-poor governments in Ogun State and the ineffective and self-serving representation by Honourable Ganiyu Oyediji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who currently represents the constituency in the Assembly.
“The terrible state of our roads, the poor state of public education and healthcare and the absolute lack of jobs and economic opportunities in the constituency is a direct result of the conspiracy of the Ogun State government with the active connivance of the Honourable member representing Ifo 2 to keep our people in misery. The raining season is here and you can see how our people wallow in mud to go about their daily activities. When dry season comes, people and children fall sick regularly because of the enormous dust that envelopes you when you walk or drive over the untarred roads. Unfortunately neither the governor nor honourable Ganiyu Oyediji cares. Just look around to see how many uncompleted projects litter the community. In addition, the terrible state of roads and public infrastructure has constituted a danger to our people and particularly the children.
Just few weeks ago, exactly on Sunday 16 September 2018, a 14 year old girl, Damilola Adegboye was swept into an open canal from which she has not been found up till now”.
Going further, he said “My campaign is about the issues of lack of development, jobs and economic opportunities for our communities. It is about getting justice for Damilola Adegboye and preventing another child from suffering the same fate. As an activist and advocate, I intend to use the enormous powers and influence I shall possess as an honorable member to fight vigorously for the rights of our communities to even and harmonious development. We shall not take no for an answer because we know the resources to tar our roads, build public schools, pay teachers and build public health care centres are there. They are only being stolen by the state government in connivance with contractors and crooks of various shades. While effectively utilizing all the enormous value of legislation to advance the interest of our people, I shall not stick to legislative routine. Where debate fails on the floor of the Assembly with respect to the rights of my people, I shall not give in but march on the streets with my constituents until their rights to live as human beings are respected”.
Soweto who said he believed that political office ought to be about service and not self-enrichment pledged that as an honorable member, he would live a frugal life not different from that of the majority of his constituency.
“I shall declare my assets annually and I shall be accountable to my party and constituency. I will continue to live in my rented one-bedroom apartment in the community, I shall not accept more than the average wage of a civil servant. The excess of my salary will be donated to the party to utilize in assisting the struggles of workers, youth, the poor and our communities”.
Soweto also assured that his service will not just be to Ifo 2 but all the workers, students, youth and downtrodden in Ogun State.
“I regard the entirety of the long-suffering workers, students, youth and the downtrodden in Ogun state as my natural constituency. The workers in this state have suffered so many indignities and anti-worker attacks for far too long. The public education sector in the state are in comatose while policies of the state with respect to public higher institutions are anti-poor, disruptive and ill-thought. Ogun State public higher institutions charge some of the highest school fees in the country. All these would be resisted once I emerge next year. The workers, students and downtrodden in Ogun State can be rest assured that with me in that Assembly, not a single anti-poor policy will go through without a stout resistance from me. I shall work with all unions to defend the interests of their members by both using legislation as well as building massive campaigns to fight for free education, reversal of hiked fees, reversal of all politically-motivated sack and expulsion of workers and students leaders, payment of owed salaries and allowances to workers, payment of minimum wage and respect of labour laws by employers and the democratic rights of our people etc.
I shall also stand for the interests of Small and Medium scale Enterprises, shop-owners, traders, transporters, informal clusters and farmers against exploitative taxation and other policies that impedes their businesses. I shall fight vigorously for a progressive taxation that puts the heavier burden on rich corporations while giving breathing space for small traders, enterprises and farmers to thrive in addition to regular government support and assistance. I shall equally be a voice for women, youth, minorities and the environment”.