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
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.
paid a sum of $12billion to the Paris Club, thus cancelling
its foreign debt. The fact that through the servicing of the debt,
Nigeria had already paid back more than it has borrowed is
conveniently skipped over. Those $12bn could have been used to
improve the miserable lives of most Nigerians.
been privatised, 92% of Nigerians are living on less than $2 per day,
the interest rate stands at 36%, the (official) inflation rate at
15%, millions are either unemployed or not gainfully employed, life
expectancy stands at 45 years, annual per capita GDP at $200 and
incredible sums of debt hang over the head of the poor. There is no
way out on the path of capitalism.