Five years after the fall of the hated military dictator of Nigeria,
General Sani Abacha, we look at why he came to power and why in the end
the same ruling elite that had supported him was forced to intervene to
remove for fear of the mass movement that was building up from below.
We have received reports on the latest developments at the OAU in Ife,
Nigeria, from the students involved in the struggle. In spite of a
determined effort by the student leaders to stop the massive fees
increase, because of many factors, not least the totally treacherous
role of the student leadership nationally (NANS), for now the
authorities have managed to impose their measures. But this is not
going to be the end of the story.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).