Nigeria

The following article was written by the Nigerian Marxists, concerning a call by the leaders of the labour movement for workers and youth to join the Labour Party en masse in the run up to the 2023 general election. Despite the rotten character of its leadership, many workers and youth see the party as a vehicle for change. Therefore, Marxists must form a correct perspective towards this development.

We are starting this perspective document with an excerpt from Leon Trotsky’s The “Third Period” of the Comintern’s Errors, written in January 1930. In this work, Trotsky explains the importance of perspectives for a revolutionary Marxist organisation to correctly orient itself towards the working class.

On 6 October 2020, just five days after the celebration of so-called Nigeria Independence, Nigerians woke up to one of the most unprecedented youth movements in the history of the country. This article attempts to highlight some of the key lessons that can be drawn from this experience.

The youth of Nigeria have risen up in revolt against the brutality of the hated SARS police unit. Neither concessions nor the whip of reaction have beaten the #EndSARS movement back, but only driven it forward. This spontaneous outpouring of rage must be put on an organised political footing, aimed squarely at the rotten capitalist regime.

For days, protests have rocked cities across Nigeria. It is organised around #EndSARS, a movement that is calling for a complete ban of the so-called “anti-robbery” wing of the Nigerian Police, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS – no relation to the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2). Set up in the mid-90s to combat incidences of armed robbery, which had become rampant as a result of deepening poverty under the corrupt military regimes, SARS has since then metamorphosed into a dreaded force associated with all sorts of evils.

As Nigeria is battling with the coronavirus, the merciless bloodshed going on, especially in the northwestern part of the country in recent times, is exacting a much larger human toll. 5,000 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced in the Faskari, Batsari and Dandume Local government areas of Katsina state, the home state of the current Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. In just a week, over 100 people are reported to have been maimed in these communities.

Watch our interview with comrade Kazeem about the situation in Nigeria, where the coronavirus poses a catastrophic threat, and the perspective is one of explosive class struggle.

Kano has become the epicentre of the spread of Covid-19 in northern Nigeria. A large number of so-called “mysterious” deaths was recently reported, but the state government of Kano blatantly claims that the sharp rise in deaths is not due to Covid-19. Here we provide an eyewitness account from an IMT comrade in Kano.

It would be hell if the Covid-19 breaks out in Nigeria on the scale presently being witnessed in Europe and the US. Apart from the dire state of the healthcare system, 69 million Nigerians have no access to clean water. This invariably leads to water-borne diseases like cholera, which continue to break out as regular epidemics. Social distancing and self-isolation presuppose that people have enough space. In Lagos where we have over 100 slum areas, about 80 people can be found sharing a 10-room building with only two toilets and a bathroom being shared by all with no pipe-borne or treated water readily available.

The recent “release” and immediate brutal re-arrest of Sowore raises the question of the nature of the present regime in Nigeria. The justified anger of many workers and youth poses the problem of “what is to be done?” Here comrade Rashy in Nigeria explains that this event brings into sharp focus the need to radically transform Nigerian society along socialist lines.

A few months ago, Nigeria was thrown into one of the deepest socio-religious controversies ever when Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer and wife of singer Timi Dakolo, accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, senior pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) of raping her on two different occasions when she was 16 years old. The accusation, in an explosive interview she granted YNaija, was released on social and mass media via four separate videos on 28 June 2019.

On Saturday 27 July, the African Action Congress (AAC), led by former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore, called Nigerians to a revolution, to take place on 5 August. This has predictably gained the attention of the ruling class as well as a layer of radicalised youth.

18 comrades from Lagos, Ibadan and Ekiti gathered at the Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Lagos state, on Saturday and Sunday 15-16 June for the national congress of the Campaign for Workers’ and Youth Alternative – the Nigerian section of International Marxist Tendency (IMT). Comrades arrived with a lot of enthusiasm, which reflected the radical change in the situation in the country.