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SWB Issue 5 (& 6, combined); Oct. 3-30, 2011

EDITORIAL:

RESIST REMOVAL OF OIL SUBSIDY!!

FUEL HIKE & MASS ACTION

Every evil policy contains the seed of its own destruction. Removal of oil subsidy next year will set the nation ablaze and might trigger a revolutionary situation if implemented as proposed by the Federal Government. Nigerians appear to have been docile because our oppressors sow seeds of division among us. The elite to divide us have manipulated ethnicity, religion, educational attainment, and other differences. The state equally does not provide the barest social security for poor working people, tearing the myth of citizenship to shreds.

We the oppressed ordinary people are united by hunger and the threat of imminent death. Higher fuel prices will worsen our plight and resist it we must, with all our might! When the prices of food and transportation services rise beyond the reach of many, we would have been pushed to the wall. Many commuters might end up fighting with drivers and conductors as they can’t pay bus fares. House rents, food prices and the costs of living as a whole will rise to the rooftops, making living exceedingly difficult for working people. A possible recourse in several quarters might be violence and strife.

Higher fuel prices might also result in the temporary reduction of traffic jams in cities like Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Lagos. Many amongst the disappearing middle class will be forced to abandon personal cars and trek or join public transportation. Exotic cars will almost completely disappear, because their owners will hide them in garages for fear of being attacked by the hungry poor. The purchasing power of 90 per cent of Nigerians will shrink as never before, making nonsense of the new minimum wage. The unemployment rate is also likely to reach an all-time

high as formal employment further contracts due to rising costs of production while small and micro-scale operators in the informal economy take a battering as the prices of petroleum products they require for powering their business make life unbearable.

Nigeria is rich enough for us to enjoy even lower prices for petroleum products as is the case today in Venezuela. But the ruling elite in this country are stooges of Western imperialism and would rather heed the directives of IMF and World Bank to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, privatize our nation’s wealth and cut funding of social services.

Total deregulation of the downstream sector (that is, higher fuel prices), from next year will mark the beginning of President Goodluck Jonathan’s “transformation” agenda. It will equally mark a point in the redefinition our critical issues such as who owns the land. We the poor 99% own this land that is Nigeria. Labour creates wealth, but the few

who rule us and serve the powers in New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo take the wealth and yet would deny us of what they describe as “subsidy”.

This time around though, these elite might be biting more than it can chew. To remove the oil subsidy would be to unleash a civil conflict that will be led by the people, the 99% in Nigeria against the 1% of looters and oppressors. It will be a class war aimed at ending insecurity, unemployment, and homelessness in this country. It will be part of the global class war raging across all the continents. And through mass action, we shall win!

APOLOGY

We were humbled by the questions from several branches and even supporters of SWB that are not members of SWL on why the last edition of SWB was not issued and on the delay of the current issue.

We wish to first and foremost apologise for these. A plethora of activities and different other challenges confronted us, resulting in this regrettable pass, which we shall endeavour to ensure does not repeat itself again.

We have packaged a double edition to make up, at least to some extent, for this development, with 8pages as against the regular 4pages for SWB editions. Once again comrades, do accept our apologies, please.

FORWARD EVER!

WE SHALL WIN!!

Nigeria: State of the Nation

NIGERIA@51, WHICH WAY FORWARD?

by Tunde Liberty

“On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence from the British. The working people across Africa greeted this development with great hope. At independence, Nigeria seemed destined to become one of the future global economic giants based on its vast natural and human resources. The country is now a shadow of the potentials it held for Africa 51years ago. Corruption has become the main means through which its elite accumulate wealth at the expense of production. The fate of workers, farmers, youths, women, and the urban poor is one of sorrow, tears, and blood. Disillusionment is matched only by hopelessness and suffering.

There is no doubt about the fact that Nigeria is going through a lot of challenges and the country is passing through one of its most trying moments. The level of insecurity is very high, crime rates are rising, the level of poverty is increasing, unemployment has turned a high percentage of the youths to 419ers and kidnapers, the level of corruption is continuously increasing, and socio-political tensions are very high.

This year’s Independence Day celebration is coming against the background of a wave of workers’ strikes in several states due to the refusal by many state governments to pay the new N18, 000 national minimum wages. And the fear of terror attacks forced the FGN to “celebrate” in the closet of Aso Rock.

For most of Nigeria’s history as a nation, we have had ineffective and incompetent leaderships, by elite that lack genuine vision of social transformation. This is because the people have not been the focus and subject of governance. Our national wealth is placed in the service of international capital with domestic capitalists serving as its loyal servants at the detriment of the masses.  This has led working people to conclude that there has really been no progress in the country’s development.

There might have been some noticeable physical growth but this has not translated into any significant human development. We have actually had retarded growth, particularly in the last thirty years. In the early decades of our independence, there were at least functional hospitals with ambulances and drugs, staff and equipment. Now, in some cases, public hospitals are hardly functional despite the urge of health workers to provide services, because they are underfunded and ill equipped. Before, clean water ran from every tap in most major towns and cities; today only the “pure” water and bottled water factories and boreholes in rich homes are sources of water. Public schools used to provide functional and relatively qualitative education; today, public schools only produce dropouts who are now the potential recruits for militancy and terrorism.

Another shameful aspect of this year’s independence is the fear MEND created in the minds of many who were preparing for Eagles square independence parade by issuing bomb threat warning, which made the President to move the parade to his bedroom. At 51, measuring development in the country can be visible only in the area of increased tension and corruption.

The reason for this abysmal reality of our country is the capitalist system that places the greed of a few over the needs of the vast majority of humankind. We need to overthrow this inhuman system to win our humanity. And this system which is a global system has to be overthrown in every country and indeed on a worldwide basis to institute international socialism through the mass participation of working people in remaking the world.

As we mark 51years of “purposeless purposelessness” as a nation, capitalism is being challenged across the world by working people and youths. It is time for us in Nigeria to march decisively with the sea of humanity that is fighting to reclaim our humanity by overthrowing capitalism.

Boko Haram in perspective

By Biodun Olamosu

The Boko Haram sect is an Islamic fundamentalist group in Nigeria that wants to organise society along Islamic doctrine as against how it is presently constituted on the basis of “western education” or capitalism.

The group has clashed with security agents, bombing the INEC office in Suleja, Police headquarters and United Nations office in Abuja; many other houses including churches has been reduced to rubble. Many lives have been lost and properties worth billions of Naira have been destroyed providing further excuse for the militarisation of society.

The response of the State against the group and its supporters perceived as irritants was that of passing judgement instantly by raining abuse on it and the members of the group including its leader were killed in detention.

What should be the approach of Socialists to this group and the state? As we have earlier commented in SWB, the state should be neutral in religious matters which should be the personal affair of individuals with right to freedom of worship. The present problem that provoked the insurgence of the group against the state like other self-determination groups before now is basically socio-economic that could be traced to the world economic crisis of capitalism that Nigeria is experiencing its own share; despite the fact that this is being robbed in religious garb.

Yusuf Mohammed, slain Boko Haram sect leader

Unemployment among youth has been in the ascendancy since the 80’s putting over 70 percent of Nigerians constituting about 90 million of the population below poverty line. Retrenchment and rationalization is a frequent occurrence among the working people. The usual public social responsibilities of the past whereby the State provided jobs for the greater percentage of the youth has been abandoned for the present policy of total privatization of government properties. Despite the government’s devaluation of the country’s currency in relation to

foreign currency, foreign investment has not led to development. Instead, foreign bankers and creditors that came into the country to trade with their money are the only beneficiaries of the business relationships. Our oil that generates over 95 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings could not be refined in the country because of lack of necessary technology to do so. The imperialists that own the foreign oil companies and Nigerian ruling elites including the state and dependent capitalists are the beneficiaries of oil; while the working people are left unattended to.

This is the background of the militant Boko Haram group and the support it enjoys among some youths in Northern part of Nigeria. Socialists sympathise with any group that acts in weakening the capitalist state and imperialist forces but will condemn any act that results in the killing of working people. We are also not under any illusion that such religious fundamentalist groups as Boko Haram are capable of resolving the problems that capitalism has forced on us. While we recognise the group and its supporters as victims of the system, they lack a proper understanding of the problem as shown by their laying the blame of social degeneration on western education.

It must be understood that this way of counter posing Islamic values to those of Western values is a misconception of how society develops. It is a fact of history that the so-called Western values are not rooted in some mythical European culture, but arise out of the development of capitalism over the last two centuries. The dominant culture of English middle class before then was almost identical to what is being demanded by the Islamic revivalists.

It is not accidental that Boko Haram centres its attacks on Western education and other issues they consider as vices in the system rather than the capitalist system itself. This is because of the fact that such a group is being led and constituted by small property owners that also strive to belong to the rich class they are presently condemning. This is the contradiction in Islamic ideology that is responsible for well known Islamic countries like Iran, Pakistan and Libya to compromise with capitalism later despite earlier anti-capitalist posturing.

As Socialists, we have no alternative than to condemn any organisation that claims the lives of the working people; at the same time we will not fail to point out that the chief culprit is the State and other ruling/capitalist class elements (nationally and internationally) that are responsible for the economic crisis in the country whereby graduates cannot get jobs for up to 10 years with even a lot of employed people living from hand to mouth. The problem is capitalism and not western education.

STOP HARRASMENT OF JOURNALISTS

by Tunde Liberty

The arrest of editors of The Nation newspaper by men of the Nigerian Police in October, on the allegation of publishing untrue information that could worsen the already tensed security situation in Nigeria downplays the Freedom of Information Act and fundamental human rights of citizens.

The newspaper had published a story that General Obasanjo, former President of the Federation had written to the serving president Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, asking that certain officers of the Republic be undemocratically removed from office based on some cult like arrangement of the ruling PDP. When Obasanjo denied the story, the newspaper went ahead to publish a copy of the letter.

If the published letter were a forgery as Mr. Obsanjo claims, the place for him to go is the law court where he should sue the newspaper for libel and not to the police which is now being used to witch-hunt The Nation, a newspaper owned by Alhaji Bola Tinubu of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria.

Both the PDP and ACN represent different sections of the ruling elite that have led Nigeria down the road of underdevelopment and impoverished the masses. SWB does not support ACN or PDP. We stand for the truth and for social justice. We stand against the use of state power for the victimization of any group of Nigerians.

It is also important to note that the journalists that have been arrested are workers who have merely followed the professional ethics of their vocation.  We thus call for an immediate stop to this harassment of journalists.

Against the rape in ABSU

By Kenny Balogun

The ugly incident of the rape of a female student of Abia state university, Umuahia, Abia state, Nigeria by a group suspected to comprise students is cause for grave concern. We see this incident as degrading, dehumanizing, disgraceful, callous, and unacceptable.

This traumatic development came up shortly after an earlier reported rape case at Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, where four male students also raped a female student in the company of her friend.

This spate of events point at the growing collapse of values and the rise of attacks on females in institutions of higher learning, and have to be frontally combated. The initial responses of the Abia State Police command through its spokesperson, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, the University’s authorities and officials of the state were quite worrisome, as well. Stating that the matter was mere fiction because it had not been formally reported, even as video clips of the incident made the rounds on the internet, was playing the ostrich. If the lady had been the daughter of a top government official the matter would have been handled with the alacrity it deserved from the onset.

SWL condemns dehumanizing acts, like rape. We call for justice to be done. The suspected rapists that have been reportedly arrested must not go unpunished.

Working people’s struggles & solidarity

ANTI-PRIVATIZATION Confrontation

by E. Todun Jagun

The anti-privatisation demonstration organised by NLC & TUC on September 22, ended in a confrontation with the police at the National Assembly Complex as the demonstrators were locked out of the inner premises of the complex. This throws up the possibilities of sharper conflicts ahead but also led a number of younger activists to conclude that nothing was achieved with the popular procession.

The 15-kilometre procession started at the busy Berger roundabout in Wuse, at about 8.00am. Workers and youths, including SWL activists, marched along, singing songs of defiance and protestation, denouncing the anti-people policies of the government and the Nigerian state. The crowd of about a thousand persons got to the National Assembly Complex some two hours later. The police stopped the demonstrators at the first gate for over an hour.

Several labour leaders, particularly the presidents of the NLC and TUC, Abdulwahed Omar and Peter Esele addressed the protesters, asking that they be calm. Everyone was asked to sit down till the gate would be opened. After a while, the crowd rose and tackled the police at the gate, where they insisted on entering, if need be, violently.

To avert a riotous situation, the protesters were allowed to gain entrance. The more secured 2nd gate a kilometre and a half away was however to remain closed, despite all entreaties by trade union leaders and loud protests of workers and youth activists.

Many of the protesters were disappointed. Some said to the extent that the 2nd gate could not be passed into the inner premises of the National Complex to deliver the anti-privatisation position of the people to the leadership of the legislative houses, the whole demonstration was a failure.

This however might not be a correct position. We need to remind ourselves that until a few years back, demonstrations to the National Assembly, many of which had been triumphant, never went beyond the 1st gate. It is not as important as it might seem to hand over our petition to NASS officers. During the SNG rally last year that even entered the inner premises, NASS officers were shunned when they turned up.

A number of trade union leaders also felt surprised that the legislators were too “foolish” to realise that the demonstration was in the National Assembly’s interest. Had the unions not summoned the demonstration as a plank to ensure the revelations from the privatization exercise probe do not end up on the shelves like those of the power probe?

The capitalist elite in and out of the National Assembly merely try their best to play on our collective intelligence. Elumelu who chaired the power probe that revealed Obasanjo’s administration spent over $16b with nothing to show for it is now the Chairman of Transcorp, a corporation where Obasanjo is a major shareholder.

 

The anti-privatization confrontation of September 22 is a pointer to the deepening of sharp conflicts that lie ahead, as Nigeria gets sucked into what is turning out to be the greatest economic, social and political crises of capitalism globally.

 

Socialist Workers League was very involved in this struggle as its activists led songs and the chanting of slogans. Its banners featured  prominently even in snapshots by leading national dailies and 74copies of SWB were sold during the rally.

 

WORKERS BATTLE AIRTEL

by Baba Aye

Contract workers associated with Airtel brought the telecommunications corporation to its knees in October, forcing it (and its labour brokers Tej Mahindra and Spanco) to reinstate 3,000 sacked workers and revert its proposed cutting of wages.

 

Zain telecommunications in West Africa was bought barely a year ago by the Indian multinational corporation, Airtel for the whopping sum of $10.7b. Interestingly though, in less than 4months, the company had racked in over $40b as profit! Over 50% of this surplus profit across West Africa is from the Nigerian market.

 

This windfall did not translate into a better lot for the thousands of workers whose labour resulted in the harvest. As is characteristic of big business with the dominant neoliberal ideology of present-day capitalism, the bulk of staff are hired on contract basis through companies known as business process organisations (BPOs). In the case of Airtel, the concerned BPOs are two Indian multinational corporations; Taj Mahindra and (particularly) Spanco. The non-core staffs they provide for Airtel are mainly in the four call centres that service the nation where the contract workers work round the clock with the monotony of slaves.

 

N150,000.00 is paid by Airtel to Spanco for each of these workers. But what they get paid per month is N75,000.00 with N24,000.00 air time. This is typical of the exploitative nature of capitalism. But capitalism is not only concerned with exploitation for profit, it tries to secure more, and more, and more profit. Thus, instead of giving the workers bonus with the expanding profit profile of the companies, first one of the call centres (at Oghara) was shut down, and then, the N24,000 airtime was withdrawn. As if this were not enough, 3,000 workers were laid off and it was announced that the salaries of the remaining staff would be cut from N75,000.00 per month to N29,000.00!

 

The gallant workers revolted! Realizing the need to combine to win their struggle, they reached out to NLC and the Nigeria Union of Post and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE), forming a branch of NUPTE against the wish of Airtel and the BPOs. It was on the platform of the union that the workers shut down Airtel servers in Abuja, mid-October, making it impossible for Airtel services to be available for a whole week. An association of subscribers set the ball rolling by sending text messages around calling for solidarity by Nigerians on October 9 with a simple message; don’t load airtime or call with an Airtel line for that one day!

 

Phillip Okoli, a supporter of the Socialist Workers League and one of the leading shop stewards of the Airtel NUPTE branch described the high spirits of the workers to SWB during the mass action they took. “We are tired of this exploitation and oppression and we will fight to the last drop of or blood, no matter what it costs. We are convinced that we stand for what is just and we shall win”.

 

The 3,000 sacked workers have been recalled based on the determined struggle of these determined workers. This goes to show that if we dare to struggle, we dare to win. The war is not yet won. The exploitation of Airtel workers is a part of the oppression of workers in general by capitalists. The challenge is for us to overthrow this oppressive capitalist system and enthrone a just society based on workers’ democracy at the workplace and in society at large. But an important battle has been won, by the heroic workers of Airtel, because they rose against exploitation and domination.

 

GLOBAL ANGER OF THE 99%!   

By Baba Aye

On Saturday October 15, protesters in over 220 cities in more than 80 countries in the world rose against capitalism, in what is best described as the anger of the 99% exploited and oppressed people against the 1% rich oppressors.

 

This global movement of indignant working people is a critical whirlwind of mass anger emerging from the global crisis of capitalism which we are witnessing. It was inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and the rise of the “indignados” (indignant persons) in Spain and started on September 17, as “Occupy Wall Street” in New York, continuing the trend of resistance and revolution that has challenged the greed and discredited power of capitalist elites.

 

Another world is indeed possible. This movement makes this reality to be felt as the masses in action assert that “we are the 99%”. They can see, as they say that “banks got bailed out, we got sold out”. While those of the angry 99% that have seized the streets might come with different views and demands, they are bound by a realisation that the world as it is, is unjust, and does not have to be so. They are also bound by strong bonds of solidarity.

 

The state in several countries swung into action to contain them but to no avail. Hundreds of protesters on the platform of this growing global anti-capitalist movement have been arrested and billions of dollars and thousands of police officers have been mobilised to curtail this occupation of physical, political and ideological spaces in opposition to neoliberal capitalism, but like molten lava it keeps spreading.

 

While it remains fluid and “autonomous” in form, structures of popular power are emerging like the New York City General Assembly which meets every evening by 7.00pm, openly, to collectively discuss on what is to be collectively done. The future of humankind will emerge through the spread of emancipatory enlightenment and activities in underdeveloped countries and the advanced capitalist countries, as we now witness.

 

The internet and mobile phones have served as media for spreading the movement’s revolutionary gospel and getting more and more people out to resist and revolt. But the resistance and unfolding revolutions, as in Tahrir Square and in Tunis are by living human beings amongst those who constitute the 99%!

 

We are seeing before our very eyes the seeds of a future for humankind. This is a future where the needs of the 99% and not the greed of the 1% of looters that represent big business and its capitalist state, determine how society is run.

 

In Nigeria, the fire of the anger of the 99% is set to burst out in rekindled struggle. The spark of deregulation of petroleum pump prices might set an occupation ablaze that will burn the pillars of the rotten economic and political system in the country down to ashes. Our future lies in our hands to seize. History beckons on us; as we march with the rest of humankind to bring the degenerate capitalist system down and across borders and oceans bring to birth a new just world, on the ashes of what now is.

 

ATN: Africa needs alternative model 

by E. Todun Jagun

The African Trade Network held its 14th Annual Review and Strategy meeting in Dakar, at the end of September. Civil society activists, progressive academics and trade unionists deliberated for three days around the challenges for transforming Africa and the emancipation of humankind at a critical point in history.

 

ATN was formed in 1998 at a time when capitalist thinkers had made so many people believe there really might be no alternative to neoliberalism. It was the pan-African network of activists that engaged with issues around the World Trade Organisation in particular. By 1999, when the alternative globalization movement recorded its defining moment at Seattle, it was a leading representative of Africa on the streets.

 

In the past 12years, ATN has brought together a diverse number of civil society and social movement forces which have engaged with as well as challenged African states and multilateral institutions as well as such processes and mechanisms as the proposed, so-called Economic Partnership Agreements that would further Africa’s subordination to the Western world.

 

The Dakar meeting reiterated the need for an alternative developmental model for Africa which would place the people at the heart of growth and social, economic and political transformation. Inspired by the spread of resistance and revolution in North Africa and globally, the meeting committed itself to building bridges of work and struggle against neoliberalism and imperialism.

 

The Network will be part of the resistance processes towards the WTO ministerial summit in December and the Climate Change summit (COP 17) in Durban by November.

 

The programme, ended with a well attended discussion session at the Cheikh Anta Diop University, where Dot Keet, Toufik Ben Abdallah, Demba Musa Dembele and Gyekye Tanoh led discussions on unfolding struggles and challenges in the wake of the global economic crisis. 

 

NIGERIA-CUBA FRIENDSHP

By N. Ike-Agu & Kenny Balogun

There had always been quite close relations between workers organisations and socialist groups on one hand and the people of Cuba on the other. This had led to the formation of the Nigeria-Cuba Friendship and Cultural Association decades back. These fraternal relations were deepened in October with the formation of the Abuja Chapter of the Nigeria-Cuba Friendship Business and Cultural Association and a visit of its members to Hugo Milanes, the new Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria.

 

The Chapter which is led by Felix “Che” Oyimnatumba, a member of the Socialist Workers League has a number of young men and women, who as workers, academics and professionals are committed to the broader cause of transforming human society and building a better world, as they expressed to the Cuban Ambassador.

 

Comrade Hugo Rene Ramos Milanes who resumed in Nigeria barely a month before the courtesy visit on October 14 expressed his delight at meeting members of the Association. He pointed out that Cuba as a sovereign country has warm relations with many African states, including Nigeria. The relations Cuba builds are however between peoples as well as between states. For Africa and indeed Nigeria, he further noted, this is very important as a significant proportion of Cubans have their roots in the Yoruba culture from Nigeria.

 

In responding to the Ambassador, Baba Aye of the SWL noted that the Cuban people had confronted and still confront the biggest imperialist force on earth with dignity and pride and this is worthy of commendation. He also pointed out that people who stand in defense of Cuba are actually fighting to defend their own dignity and sovereignty.

 

He promised to raise the possibility of resuscitating Cuba Si, the Nigeria-Cuba Friendship, and Cultural Association newsletter which had commenced as a project when he was PRO of the Association a decade back.

 

Other members of the NCFBCA, Abuja Chapter such as “Che” Oyinatumba, Engineer Haruna and Dr Akoji, gave assurances that the Association would rise even beyond the skies in the Federal Capital Territory towards deepening popular awareness on the situation in Cuba.

 

JAF’s 2nd National Convention

By Hussein Lawal

The Joint Action Forum held its 2nd National Convention on October 8-9, at the Textile Labour House, Acme Road, Lagos. The Convention represents a milestone for this leading United Front of pro-labour civil society organisations which along with the NLC & TUC constitutes the Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO).

 

JAF had emerged in 2004 as a result of the need for radical civil society which had collaborated with the trade union movement in organising mass protests since 2000 when the first of what would be a tradition of waves of struggle against fuel price hikes started. Dr. Beko Ransom-Kuti and Chima Uban, were the first Chair and Secretary of the Front respectively.

 

After its 1st Convention in 2005, Comrade Chima Ubani died in a ghastly auto-crash at Potsikum on September 21, during a national mobilisation against deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and other demands. Barely five months after this, Beko also lost his battle against cancer.

 

The vacuum of leadership had been ably filled by Dr. Dipo Fashina, a former President of the university lecturers’ union, ASUU and Biodun Aremu, former Convener of the United Action for Democracy (UAD) as Chair and Secretary respectively. Both comrades were returned at the 2nd National Convention, with Comrade Basirat Oguns, National Secretary of SWL emerging as Treasurer of the coalition.

The Convention equally adopted a definitive fighting programme and changed the united front’s name from Joint Action Forum to Joint Action Front. In the unfolding struggles that lie ahead as the contradictions of oppression and resistance deepen in Nigeria, JAF is set to play a leading role in mobilising the masses for “system change”.

 

Dele Giwa, 25years after

By Nnamdi Ike-Agu

October 19, 1996 was a terrible day on the continent of Africa and in Nigeria. On that fateful day, Samora Machel, radical President of Mozambique was killed when his plane was shot down by forces of apartheid South Africa. In Nigeria, Dele Giwa, the vocal Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine was assassinated with a letter bomb in his home at Ikeja and till date, the “mystery” behind his murder has not been officially unravelled.

 

Many believe that this act of terrorism, the first in which a bomb –now an unfortunately common means of terror in the country- would be used and dastardly so too, was an act of the Nigerian state under the degenerate Babangida dictatorship.

It was no secret that Newswatch was on a story which showed that people in high places in the Nigerian state were involved in drug trafficking. Specifically, Gloria Okon, who had been arrested for drug peddling and was supposed to have subsequently died, was believed to have rather been spirited away to London, where Kayode Soyinka, the bureau chief of the magazine in the UK had interviewed her.

 

Soyinka was having breakfast with Dele Giwa that fateful morning when a package was dropped by a despatch rider from the Presidency. The package was a letter bomb. Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the late legal luminary who was Giwa’s lawyer was persecuted for his insistence that Akilu and Togun, two czars of the intelligence services under Babangida should account for Giwa’s assassination.

 

During the Justice Oputa-led Human Rights Violation Investigations Commission’s hearings earlier in the decade, it was further alleged that General Buba Marwa, was also central to the assassination after which he was “paid off” with a course in Havard and subsequent posting as Military Administrator of Borno and Lagos states.

 

A quarter of a century later, there is no official closure of this damning case. There are however lessons that could be drawn, even as terrorism is being condemned and combated today. The primary one might be that, in a capitalist system, the worst of terrorists just might be those who wield state power.

 

THE FALL OF GADDAFI        

by Segun Ogun

As with many despots who believed they were invincible before him, Muammar Gaddafi died an inglorious death. On October 20, in his hometown of Sirte where he had withdrawn after his regime lost hold of Tripoli, he was captured and humiliated before he died in circumstances which remain unclear. Some of the NTC fighters say he was shot dead by them, but the NTC provisional administration in Tripoli claims he died in crossfire, after his arrest.

 

The captains of imperialism have risen to claim the victory of the people of Libya as their own. Gloatingly; Obama, Cameron and Merkel, assert that the determining force in uprooting the demented tyrant was the fire power of NATO, even when they commend Libyans who fought, bled and died during the bitter struggle that lasted 8months.

 

This is the end of the beginning. The expansion of democratic space and popular confidence won by this revolution will allow for the flourishing of the working class and radical traditions that will challenge Islamic fundamentalists and pro-Western liberals that dominate the NTC today, alike. It is morning yet on creation day in Libya, as Gaddafi meets his end.

 

SYL, OAU branch to hold seminar

The Socialist Youths League (SYL), Obafemi Awolowo University branch, will hold a workshop on October 19, to discuss removal of oil subsidy in the context of the current global crisis of capitalism and the rising tide of resistance and revolution across the world.

 

This is coming up at a very opportune time, as mass anger is simmering in Nigeria against the imminent removal of oil subsidy. Youths are the barometers of revolutions. In all the countries where resistance and revolution presently shake the very earth on which capitalism stands, youths have been at the fore of mobilization, education and organisation of struggle.

To effectively play their generational role though, youths need to be better enlightened about the system they are confronting and the socialist alternatives that can supplant it. They equally need to be organised and march with the working people. The SYL OAU branch seminar is the first in a series which shall be held in the various SYL branches across campuses. A national SYL seminar will similarly be holding before the end of the year.

 

REINSTATE “OGUNRUKU” NOW! & UNBAN THE OAU UNION!

Comrade Olawale “Ogunruku” Olawale, a leading member of the SYL, OAU branch has been denied his right of studentship by the OAU Ile Ife branch unjustly, since the beginning of the year.

Ogunruku had studied as a diploma student of the university and had secured a direct entry into the PHE department’s degree programme. The school introduced a N20,000.00 acceptance fee at the beginning of the session which the students rose against. The union was banned, four student leaders were expelled and Ogunruku was denied the right to matriculate on the matriculation day supposedly for his role in organising resistance to the fees.

Three of the students’ leaders have been reinstated, by the new Vice Chancellor who is trying to legitimize his tenure. Ogunruku, who was known for his principled revolutionary stance right from when he was running the diploma programme and “Mandela”, secretary of the students’ union have been denied their right of studentship.

We demand the IMMEDIATE REINSTATEMENT of both students and the unbanning of the Awo Varsity students’ union. “Freedom cometh by struggle”; the students of OAU would have to mobilise actions including lecture boycotts and demonstrations in defence of the union and the rights of the victimised students NOW!

The Osun State Joint Campuses Committee and the National Association of Nigerian Students would equally have to rise up to challenge such attacks on students’ unions and activists, in the present period.

 

STOP PRESS

                                                 POLICE MURDER STUDENT

Adaramola Olawale, a 300level Primary Education Studies student at the Osun State College of Education Ilesa was shot dead in front of his apartment in the town on 19th October, by Police on rampage, shooting in the air, supposedly because of information that armed robbers were in the vicinity.

On October 20, students of the institution mobilised by the students’ union and the SYL Ilesa branch, protested this dastardly act, only for 4 male & 2 female students to be arrested.

SWL condemns this despicable act and calls on all well meaning persons to demand the release of the arrested students and justice for Adaramola.

 

Issued: Thur., 0ct 20, 2011

 

  

 


          

About socialistworkersbulletin

a bi-weekly publication of the Socialist Workers League, in the traditions of International Socialism. we stand for revolution from below! and our call is: workers & youths! unite & fight!

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