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.
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?
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).