The demand for a minimum wage is key to the improvement of the living
conditions of millions of Nigerian workers. This article, from the
Nigerian Marxist journal, Workers’ Alternative, explains the issues involved. (October 2000)
In this article, the comrades of the Nigerian Marxist journal, Workers'
Alternative, examine the revolutionary essence of the music and songs
of the late Afro-beat master, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who died on August
2, 1997. The article was originally written on the first anniversary of
his death. This artist was extremely popular among African workers and
youth for the radical and revolutionary content of his lyrics.
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.
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 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.
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 costs, so we appeal for donations.
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,
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