this year came after a series of rotten deals between the trade union leaders
and the bosses in many companies. That explains why the turn-out was not as
high as in previous years. In spite of this, the union leaders came under such
pressure that they have been forced to call a day of action for May 8.
Last year's elections
in Nigeria saw fraud on a scale never seen before. This has severely undermined
the authority of the government in the eyes of the masses, so much so that the
judiciary are now overturning some of the results. This has led to illusions
that the judiciary is now a friend of democracy and even "revolutionary".
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This article, written this summer, highlights the material
and human devastation provoked by the oil barons in Nigeria. They have sucked out
billions of dollars from the Niger Delta region without any benefit accruing to
the poor masses that inhabit the regions. That explains the violence and
constant conflict. It is an utter condemnation of the Nigerian bourgeoisie that
is totally incapable of solving any of the pressing problems facing the masses.
Once again, just as
the general strike was starting to have an effect, the leaders of the Nigerian
trade unions called it off. The regime was on its knees, but it has survived
thanks to the unwillingness of the trade union leaders to go all the way. It
highlights the need for a genuine fighting leadership. The Marxists can play an
important role in building this.
The contradictions and tensions in
Nigerian society have exploded and the class struggle is back
firmly on the agenda. Nationwide strike action has been called to
battle government proposals to raise petrol prices, increase the
VAT, and sell two state-owned refineries. After two days of solid
support for the strike, the struggle continues.
Less than a month ago the present government of Nigeria was
brought into office on the basis of blatant and massive fraud in the elections.
We predicted it would be a weak regime with no real base in society. Faced with
a general strike this regime has already been forced to make concessions. But
it is only playing for time.
The recent elections in Nigeria were blatantly rigged, but
the nature of the official opposition – as corrupt as the clique in power –
means the masses have no clear point of reference to rally round. In this
situation the responsibility of the leaders of the labour movement is enormous.
If they gave a lead the masses would rally behind them and it would mean the
end of this regime and the beginning of the struggle for socialism.
For the first time in years there was one joint Mayday rally
of all the trade unions. The Marxists intervened successfully in spite of
attempts by the police to stop the distribution of material. Meanwhile the
petit bourgeois left are once again making the same mistakes as in the past by
mouthing the same slogans as the bourgeois “opposition”.
The recent elections in Nigeria
were blatantly rigged. The problem is that the official bourgeois oppositions
is incapable of doing anything about it. That is because they serve the same
interests. It is up to the working class to build its own party through the
trade unions and offer a genuine socialist way out of the present crisis.
The Nigerian authorities are attempting to crush all
independent student union representation. At the OAU campus the students are
valiantly defending their right to organise but have been met with a brutal
response. Please add your name to the protest.