The Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and beyond (ASCAB) is a critical intervention and emerged as a response to the global Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. The total and predictable lack of preparedness of the state, which continues to linger, immediately suggested that the Groups and Coalitions responding to how poor people will survive Covid-19 pandemic, as a typical emergency, must look beyond the Covid-19 emergency; hence the name Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 And Beyond (ASCAB). Such a coalition, being necessarily one of Groups and Individuals of people that developing collective views about an issue or a number of related issues—will politically organise to achieve its objectives. To this end, the pandemic served as the trigger for the emergence of ASCAB, but its driving force is building a democratic society where the interest of the masses always prevails and is the central determinant for government action. The purpose of ASCAB is the survival of poor people. What must be done and is required for poor people to survive and thrive, this is the justification and rationale for the establishment of ASCAB. Some of the issues on the front burner include but are not restricted to the following: the sanctity of human life, inequality, poverty, bad governance, policy inconsistency, corruption and revenue leakages, protecting our common wealth, insecurity, police brutality, violation of human rights, lack of access to decent public health and education facilities, just to mention a few.
ASCAB has short, medium and long term goals and these goals form the basis for the transition from one stage to the next. Our unifying force is the desire to make Nigeria a truly democratic, fair and just country.
The Areas of Focus (Thematic Areas) of ASCAB include but are not restricted to the following;
1- Governance and Democracy.
2- The Economy.
3- Security and defense for poor people.
4- Human rights and rights violations.
5- Welfare, Social security and palliatives for poor people.
6- The Health Sector.
7- Education Sector.
8- Labour related issues, job security and protection against job losses, cuts and salary and wage cuts. Solidarity with strikes, protests and other collective action.
9- Vulnerable and special members of the society- women, children, youths and persons with disabilities (No one is left behind, ensuring that everyone is covered).
ASCAB would engage from two perspectives;
1- Thematic/Sectoral/National Engagement.
2- Grass Roots Engagement (Zonal, State, LGA, Neighborhood/Communities).
Two Levels of Action
1- Arguments/Intellectual Work- Battle of Ideas, challenge them and ensure that nothing is left unanswered. The National Secretariat would asses our communication materials. We would assess the impact of our work. ASCAB would own its work. Ideas/information/models/arguments/positions- to counter the fraudulent arguments of government and its supporters with solid facts, points and data and provide credible and verifiable alternatives. In the process, we would educate the poor people and getting them to sign up and join the movement and engaging the government head on and its lies. We would engage in public debates with the government and its apologists, call out the state and educate and orientate the poor people.
2- Action on the streets. As we win the battle of ideas and get our message out there more people would be convinced and join the action on the streets. They would own the struggle and see it as their own. ASCAB would reach out to as many people as possible.
Theme of Our Struggle.
The redistribution of the commonwealth- good and responsible governance.
- To get the character of governance to change from anti-people/masses to pro-people/masses.
- To get the central thrust of government policies and action to be for the common good.
- To pressure the current government/state/ruling class to act in the best interest of the poor people.
- To work towards getting a government that is truly in power for the people.
ASCAB would establish a nexus between technicality and political action, backed up by our idea of what society should be. To this end, all our work, technical, intellectual or professional are all connected to the bigger picture and should take us a step closer to our goal of poor people surviving with a better life. ASCAB would utilize all its resources; people and organization and their skills, reach and spread to realize our goal(s). The ASCAB intervention must be drastic as it’s a matter of life and death. This position is premised on the fact that every day we fail to do needful poor people continue to suffer into lawlessness and chaos. The Government, politicians and those at the helm of affairs are either clueless or intentionally don’t want to address the real issues affecting poor people. This is literally life and death for poor people and if we want them to take us seriously then, we must show them that we mean business by our actions and priorities and our response to the issues that affect poor people. We must be proactive and be ready to swing into action once issues arise. The above would require ASCAB to put in place a machinery and system that ensures that ASCAB is functioning and operating round the clock. We would also integrate Technology into our operations to ensure we can function in real time.