Nigeria

The terrible ethnic clashes and killing of over 200 people in Northern Nigeria that erupted around the Miss World pageant have brought to the attention of the world media the national question in this impoverished African country. What was the real cause of the conflicts? Fred Weston puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of western imperialism and their local lackeys in Nigeria.

Due to the immense poverty and apparent hopeless situation of ordinary working people in Nigeria many of the old superstitions still survive today. Comrade CD in Lagos, of the Nigerian Marxist journal, Workers' Alternative explains why.

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.

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.

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 National Question in Nigeria is probably one of the most complicated in the world - with over 120 languages spoken, three main ethnic groups, none of which constitutes a majority of the population, and the religious divide between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Over the past few years thousands of people have been killed in ethnic clashes. Unless the working class can offer a way out, Nigeria could be dragged into a bloodbath of barbaric proportions. Here we are publishing a collection of articles from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative, concerning this question.

This was the editorial from the first edition of the Nigerian Marxist paper, the Workers' Alternative which was launched in October, 1998.

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...

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, 1999)

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 Workers' Alternative.

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.