Nigeria

The objective situation in Nigeria can best be described as a big time bomb ticking at a very fast rate. The Trade Union leadership is under a lot of pressure, as big revolts over wages and working conditions have broken out. They are still holding back the movement qualitatively but it is only a matter of time before it explodes on a higher level. Many of the big companies are now directly cutting wages by as much as 40%-70%. The pressures on the lower classes are mounting by the day. The stock exchange is always overheating. A crash is inevitable.

The process of privatisation and increase in school fees is common the world over. In Nigeria there are plans to impose huge increases in university fees on students who are already finding it difficult to cover their costs. At the same time, university staff has not been receiving wages. At the OAU University in Ife Nigeria the workers and the students are fighting back. The workers have been out on strike and the students are supporting them. We are publishing a press statement we have received from the Ife students.

We are publishing an article sent to us from the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative and is to be published in the next edition of their paper. It argues the case against the privatisation plans of the Obasanjo regime and poses the need for planned economy in Nigeria.

The National Question in Nigeria is probably one of the most complicated in the world - with over 120 languages spoken, three main ethnic groups, none of which constitutes a majority of the population, and the religious divide between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Over the past few years thousands of people have been killed in ethnic clashes. Unless the working class can offer a way out, Nigeria could be dragged into a bloodbath of barbaric proportions. Here we are publishing a collection of articles from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative, concerning this question.

This was the editorial from the first edition of the Nigerian Marxist paper, the Workers' Alternative which was launched in October, 1998.

The regime headed by Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria prides itself at being "democratic". Recently it was involved in passing judgement on the electoral process in Zimbabwe. But behind the democratic façade hides the same old despotic regime of the military that governed Nigeria for many years in the past. At the University of Ilorin, a leading student activist, Tosin Akinrogunde, has been expelled for protesting against the sacking of teachers who were involved in a strike in 2001. During his long history of student union activity he has been expelled several times, and in 1999 was also arrested and imprisoned for five weeks. This case will go to court and will incur legal...

This is another editorial from the Workers' Alternative, written at the time of the transition from the previous military dictatorship to the present civilian regime. At that time there were many illusions in so-called "democracy", as people hoped it would rectify the dire economic situation. We are republishing it now, as we believe it is as relevant now as when it was first published. (June, 1999)

Nigeria is facing the worst crisis in its history. So-called "democracy" has not improved the lot of the Nigerian masses. Manufacturing industry is in a state of collapse. And now the financial sector is also on the brink. In the past two years we have seen two general strikes and practically every section of the Nigerian working class has taken part in strike activity. Even the police has been out on strike and built its own union. And now there are rumours of a mutiny among the soldiers. Nigeria is facing an Argentine-type scenario. From the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative.

This article was first published in the October 2000 edition of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers’ Alternative. We think the analysis developed here by the Nigerian Marxists is still valid, and that the development of the MDC in Zimbabwe is full of rich lessons for the Nigerian and other labour movements. It shows that a mass party based on the trade unions can be created, and can be very successful - but also that this is not enough. To prevent the party from being taken over by capitalist elements, it must be controlled by the working class and have a socialist programme.

This article exposes the conditions of the workers at the farm owned by Obasanjo, the ruler of Nigeria. Obasanjo is the "civilian" president of Nigeria, who was in power in the past, but as a military dictator. He is now in power as a so-called civilian.

A week-long general strike from 7th to 13th June 2000 took place in Nigeria. It was in protest at the 50% increase in the price of fuel announced by the government of President Obasanjo. The strike was successful in forcing the government to drastically reduce the announced increases. We publish an eyewitness report we received.

Here is a report on recent events in Nigeria. Five students were killed by a cultist gang, that is a neo-fascist type organisation, at Ife University. Our comrades were closely involved in the events and some of them are lucky to be alive, as the gang were looking for some of them. Luckily our comrades escaped.

An article from the Nigerian Marxist paper Workers' Alternative which looks at the problems facing the student movement in Nigeria, and the events leading up to the arrests of our comrades there!

In spite of the fact that women constitute a sizeable percent of the Nigerian workforce, putting in the same time as their male counterpart, with their labour of no less value, and in the vast majority of the cases, having the same responsibilities, women are still discriminated against as "second class" workers.

"When I started work here 5 years ago I could see very clearly - now I couldn’t see very well, thanks to WAPCO".  These words, made by a WAPCO worker give a clear indication of condition of work in this "slave-camp". The working conditions are no better than most other factories. It follows the all too familiar pattern in Nigeria - more work, less pay.

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