This year May day celebration was also jointly celebrated by Trade Union Congress (Senior Staff) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (The union of Junior workers). These are the main trade union centers in Nigeria. We can only attend the one that took place in Lagos, the main industrial city of Nigeria. The National joint congress held in Abuja and was keenly followed through media report and eye witness accounts.
The recent past has witnessed an unprecedented betrayal of the unions’ leadership, where in most cases; they allied with the management to callously victimize the most outspoken members of their unions. This is the situation reported in almost all the affiliate unions of both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), the two main workers organization in Nigeria.
This had an unfortunate effect on the 2008 May Day celebration in Nigeria, here we witnessed an extremely low turned out of the ordinary workers who are in the past the main celebrants of the occasions. It was predominantly labour bureaucrats who were present in their large numbers.
We witnessed a mild drama in the circle of one of the unions (LINDA Manufacturing Company), where a comrade of ours was attacked and threatened to be beaten up for selling our paper. Our paper carries a story of how the local unions allied with the supervisors, with the full agreement of the management to mercilessly exploit the ordinary workers in that factory, and later sacked 30 workers who dared asked questions.
The most dominant demands put forward by the workers on the rally ground was very clear: Increase in wage, curb sky rocketing increase in food prices, reverse various already sold out government establishment and stop further privatizations. These demands were placed in spite of the Leadership and not as a result of them. This was as a result of intense pressure on the leadership from the rank and file members of the unions.
The leadership was under such an intense pressure, that they were eventually forced to announce a day of action (May 8th,2008) to back up there demands. On this day of action, a rally will be held in all states of the federation. The rally is tagged a “Movement against Poverty”.
In all we sold a total of 213 copies of our papers and made 7 contacts who are eagerly awaiting us in their factories for a further discussions and clarification on how to build the forces of Marxism in Nigeria.
Poverty can never be eradicated under Capitalism especially in a backward country like Nigeria. Privatization can never be stopped because there is no any other alternative under capitalism, mass sacking, victimization and decaying infrastructures are part and parcel of Capitalism especially in a backward country.
The only way out of the situation is a Workers Government with socialist programs, Trotsky rightly said “There are two alternatives confronting us; Socialism or Babarism”.