Nigeria

In just four years since the year 2000, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called mass strike action 7 times. Repeatedly the leaders of the NLC have let down the workers. It is time to move on. Ther wokers of Nigeria need a fighting trade union leadership and their own party. Workers’ Alternative Editorial Statement.

Education, universally, has evidently proven itself to be the sine qua non to the development, progress and advancement of a nation. As a result of this, it plays a pivotal role in the development, progress and advancement of all other sectors of the social, political and economic enclave of such a nation. Pathetically however, despite this indisputable fact, the story of education continues, day-in and day-out, to remain one of tragedy in Nigeria. Education, particularly (though not singularly) tertiary education, continually suffers from abject neglect by the Nigerian ruling class, which starves the tertiary institutions of funds. According to a UNESCO report, the average budgetary

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The crisis in the Nigerian pension scheme can be best appreciated when one has a graphic view of the inhuman and highly degrading conditions pensioners have been subjected to. It is either a case of non-payment of pensions and gratuity, or the creation of undue bottlenecks to frustrate and kill pensioners. They are constantly to go for worthless “identification parades”, and “verification exercises”, tortured in long queues, receive insults from dubious government officials or their servants, etc. The following examples show what the situation is.

As we go to press [July 2004], the strike called by the medical and health workers of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital has entered its third week, 38 days to be exact and the workers remain resolved to see it through in spite of heavy threats from management and government.

On June 9 the workers of Nigeria embarked on yet another general strike. Two days later it had already been called off. There is a stalemate situation that has developed between the classes that must be resolved one way or the other. For the workers to come out on top they need their own party.

In May Obasanjo, the President of Nigeria, imposed a state of emergency on Plateau State, removing the local state governor. The measures were taken after serious ethnic conflicts erupted in the area, but behind all this lies a more sinister agenda. The central government is preparing the ground for more bonapartist measures, that are ultimately aimed against the labour movement.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (the main trade union federation in Nigeria) has been under pressure to launch its own party. The leaders of the NLC have unfortunately always run after the coat-tails of Obasanjo's PDP. Earlier this year some elements within the NLC did indeed launch a party, the PSD (Party for Social Democracy). But they did so without really doing anything to seriously publicise the party and take it to the workers. The NLC was not seen to be officially backing it. This led to its disastrous electoral results earlier this year. Here we publish an article from the Workers' Alternative on the party's programme.

The Nigerian ruling class is famous for its levels of corruption and incompetence. What is even more striking is the way it was created. The irony of the situation in Nigeria is that the working class came into being long before the “ruling class”. This was due to the colonial domination on the part of British imperialism. Here a Nigerian Marxist looks at this apparent contradiction.

Wole Soyinka is a prominent Nigerian playwright, and in 1986, he became the first African writer ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In October 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region radio studios and using them to publicly dispute the published results of the recent elections, but in December of the same year, he was acquitted. Didi Cheeka of the Workers' Alternative Editorial Board looks at the ideas and works of this well known writer.

In Part Two of his article, Didi Cheeka shows how Soyinka's works express the struggle for " the liberation of the individual, for the individual, by the individual and the removal of general liberation for the mass of the people". It arises from the petit-bourgeois intellectual's conception of human nature in completely individualistic terms, divorced from all social being. It is, nevertheless, a tribute to Soyinka that at the height of the ethnic cleansing that presaged the Nigeria/Biafra civil war he was shrill in his condemnation of the perpetrators. He paid for this with 27 months in detention. Again he protested against the brutal repression of students in 1978. But his...

Wole Soyinka is a prominent Nigerian playwright, and in 1986, he became the first African writer ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In October 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region radio studios and using them to publicly dispute the published results of the recent elections, but in December of the same year, he was acquitted. Didi Cheeka of the Workers' Alternative Editorial Board looks at the ideas and works of this well known writer.

Since Obasanjo came to power in 1999, the regime has been trying to portray a picture of itself as “modernising”, anti-corruption and generally a new type of regime based on rectitude and respect for democratic principles. In reality beneath this façade lies the same old corrupt, despotic ruling class. This is the case of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, who two years ago sacked more than sixty lecturers. In Nigeria this question has made front page headlines and is still attracting a lot of attention. Our correspondent in Ilorin interviewed the chairman of the Ilroin branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Yesterday's announced general strike was called off as the Obasanjo regime was forced to give in to the demands of the trade unions. The mere threat of a strike has been enough to gain victory. This now poses a dilemma before the ruling elite in Nigeria: how to govern the country in the face of such a militant and organised working class?

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 9, an indefinite general strike is scheduled to start in Nigeria. The reason for the announced strike is another increase in the price of fuel, which follows on from last June's increase which provoked an 8-day general strike. The country is now bracing itself for a major confrontation between the classes. What is being prepared is a colossal clash between the mass of working people and the privileged few who sit at the top.

We only received this analysis of last June's general strike in Nigeria a few weeks after it was written. This was due to technical reasons. Although we published several articles at the time of the strike, we believe the present article will be of interest to our readers as it was written by Nigerian Marxists inside the country.

Last week's general strike in Nigeria revealed the enormous power of the working class. Unfortunately, once again they have been betrayed by their leaders. The government has got away with a 30% increase in the price of fuel! It is time to build the left in the unions and a mass workers' party.

An Editorial Board statement of the Workers' Alternative on the outcome of the June general strike and the political conclusions that can be drawn from it.

The masses in Nigeria are showing enormous willingness to struggle. It is now spreading to the a key sector, the oil workers. But this militancy is not matched by the leaders of the unions who are negotiating with the government a reduced increase in the price of oil. That is not why millions of workers have been out on strike for.

The workers of Nigeria are once again on the move with the start of today's indefinite general strike. This is a first report about what is happening there. Further analysis will follow in the next few days.