As the financial crisis continues to bite harder, Nigerian ruling class through their executioner; Central Bank of Nigeria keeps transferring the burden on the mass of bank workers. The bank executives who in the first instance, immensely benefited from the cause of this crisis are only barked at and slapped, but the real hangman dagger of the ruling class has been consistently directed against the workers who have always been at the receiving ends both before and during the crisis.
The recent commemoration on October 19 2009 of the death of Dele Giwa , the late editor-in-chief/co-founder of Newswatch Magazine, who was killed by a parcel bomb 23 years ago while at the heart of investigating one of the deeds of the then military regime of Ibrahim Babaginda, again brought back to life one of the many uncommon roles played by Gani Fawehinmi in the life of a nation before he was carted away after a protracted struggle with lung cancer on the 4th of September, 2009. The ceremony held at the auditorium of the Lagos Television (LTV8) was organised by a collection of individuals tagged the Friends of Fawehinmi (FoF). Gani was the late journalist’s lawyer and he was in the fore-front of the crusade to unravel who killed Dele Giwa; he had raised accusing fingers toward the direction of Gen Babaginda and those of his military intelligence aides: Cols. Akilu and Togun.
Like a thief in the night, crisis in Nigerian financial sector entered when Nigerian bourgeois think-thanks least expected it. When the crisis first showed its naked faces, it was fiercely denied, being extremely superstitious set of people, the bourgeois economists refused to acknowledge and talked about it. They simply rejected it in Jesus name!
Unfortunately, truth is a stubborn thing; whether you acknowledge it or not, the truth will always catch up with you. Suddenly, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, (Lamido Sanusi) publicly lamented the imminent collapse of the entire Financial Sector, immediately 420 Billion Naira was coughed out within seconds to bail-out five of the threatened banks, not long after, another 220 Billion Naira dolled out for another three banks. Recently, another $2 Billion (Over 300 Billion Naira) was injected to re-inflate the economy. Close to a trillion Naira already dropped, but instead of the situation improving, it is rather deteriorating. All the Bank directors and executives of the affected banks have been severally harassed and legally challenged, all the debtors prosecuted, but is this crisis caused by the misdeed of some individuals as its been advertised or it is a crisis of Capitalism? Is this crisis avoidable under capitalism or it is inevitable outcome of this barbaric, blood sucking, all for profit systems called Capitalism? These are few of the issues look into by this article.
When president Umaru Yaradua assumed office in may 29th 2007, one of his promises to the nation was to improve the electricity generation in the country, he even went as far as saying that he is going to declare a state of emergency in the power sector. But after more than 2years the situation is even worse than before.
The installed generating capacity in Nigeria is about 6000MW, presently the electric energy output for the whole country is less than 1000MW, a quantity that is insufficient for even a state like Lagos. Most generating plants are old; there was no new infrastructure for over a decade now despite rapid population growth and rising demand for power. One wonder how the government wants to actualize its vision 20:20:20 without power.
With a population of over 140million people, how much energy do we really need in Nigeria? To answer this questions, one will need to compare our per capital production of electrical energy with other nation like USA and South Africa. USA is producing almost 570billion KWH and South Africa is producing 200billion as at 2001, if Nigeria were to produce electricity at the USA rate of 12.7bilion KWH per million people, then with a population of 140million people , we should be generating 174,000MW of electricity. Whao! We still have a very long way to go.This situation has caused many factories to close down because of high cost of running generating plant leading to mass lay-off of workers and subsequently increasing the rate of unemployment and insecurity.Many people have equally lost their lives as a result of inhaling the fumes from the generating plant as each household, market etc has now turned to power generating unit to cope with the bad situation.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of 140million people, despite her enormous resources and potential, poverty is widespread throughout the nation. Nigeria is one of the 20 poorest countries of the world, about one million Nigerian children under the age of five died. The infant mortality rate at ten percent of live birth is one of the highest in Africa. Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 43.4years. Nigeria has been in stagnation and relative decline since 1981, from a per capita GDP of US$1,200 in 1981 to about US$300 in 2000. About 70% of the population is leaving below poverty line.
For many Nigerians the quality of life has declined rather than improved since independence almost 50 years ago while the standard of living for a few privileged Nigerians—military officers and their civilian associates, corrupt politicians, and big contractors—has improved substantially. An average worker cannot earn enough to support a family because of inflation and rises in food prices The national minimum wage of N7,500 (about US$53.57) per month, adopted by the federal government falls far short of what is needed to cover housing, food, education, and health care. The material condition of women, who comprise 50 percent of the population and who are doubly oppressed under this present system, is even worst because the welfare of women in general, including education, and workforce, had been neglected over the years. The incidence of prostitution of Nigerian women within and outside the country has therefore increased.
On May 13 after a Joint Task Force patrol was reportedly attacked by armed groups in Delta State, the JTF began a major offensive The JTF have been conducting land and air strikes on communities across the Warri-south and South-west Local Government Areas where the Nigerian government believes the camps of the armed groups are located. Hundreds of people are feared dead.
On May 15, using helicopters equipped with machine guns, the JTF attacked several communities of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, including Okerenkoko and Oporoza. In Oporoza, around 500 people had gathered for a yearly festival that was being celebrated in several communities of the Gbaramatu Kingdom. Exact casualty figures following the attacks are as yet unknown. According to reports, hundreds of bystanders, including women and children, are believed to have been killed and injured by the JTF, and by the armed groups, while shooting at each other.
Since May 13, 2009, thousands of villagers have been displaced and thousands more are trapped in the cross fire between the Joint Task Force (JTF), which is composed of troops of the Army, Navy, Air force and the mobile police set up in 2004 to restore order in the Niger Delta and armed groups in Delta State, South West Nigeria. The JTF attacks on the communities in the area, including the Okerenkoko and Oporoza communities, are continuing on a daily basis, reportedly because they believe the armed groups are hiding in the communities.
Labour Must Build its Party Now!
Typical of the capitalists and their hangers-on, they passionately love dealing with the symptoms rather than the root cause. They prefer pursuing the shadow rather than the real event. To address the root cause is to expose the capitalist system that has made life miserable for millions of Nigerians. The System that ruins the lives of millions daily, ruins hospitals, education, transportations and other social amenities, and throws millions into unemployment market annually; what a vicious vampire that sucks blood and reminds humanity of the period of barbarism. To expect this system to usher in and sustain a credible, fair and transparent electoral process is to expect a Camel to pass through a needle eye. The ruling class want us to discuss, argue and struggle for abstract, shadowy and absolutely fruitless demands like “Demand for Electoral reforms”, but we must insist on discussing the more important things, we must insistently call on our Labour Leadership to struggle only for more fruitful and concrete demands and save our energy instead of expending it on what can never yield anything positive.
The first step towards a credible and truly democratic process in Nigeria is to first overthrow the present degenerate, inept and absolutely inefficient ruling class and their system (capitalism), which is the root cause of all our woes.
This article is a Marxist intervention in the ongoing debate on whether Naira can really be saved. There have been two main trends arguing out this debate and both are clearly wrong. While one trend advocates the conversion of earned Dollars first by Central Bank to Naira before distributing it to Beneficiary, the other trend wants Central Bank not to convert the Dollar, but to issue a Dollar Certificate to the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries can now go later in the future to convert their certificate to Naira. None of these participants is right because their point of view is restricted within the confinement of Capitalism and therefore instead of seeing a real Naira, they keep analyzing a fetish Naira. We hold it a duty to Nigerian Working class, the explanation from firm Marxist point of view, at least to clear off the confusion that these Bourgeois intellectuals have been selling all these while.
In the previous edition of Worker’s Alternative, we raised it that it is not possible for Comrade Governor Oshiomhole to make any meaningful development that can fundamentally touch the live of ordinary people of Edo state while limiting himself to Edo State This was what we wrote in Workers Alternative December 2008.
“As soon as Adams Oshiomhole was declared the rightful occupant of the State Governor's seat in Edo State he started making a series of announcements on job creation, the payment of back-wages to workers who have not seen payments for months, public spending, etc., which have raised even further the hopes of the Nigerian masses, not just in the State but right across Nigeria. How he is going to find the finance to back these proposals is another matter. He is after all only a local governor and depends on central government for funding. (The abyss facing Nigeria in the face of the growing world crisis of capitalism December 2008)”
Happenings in Edo state after the Last 5months of his swearing-in has really confirmed the correctness of our positions. The question to be asked is: what has the comrade Governor achieved so far?, What are the outstanding to be achieved?, Why the present method he is using cannot solve the problem and finally what is the way forward for ordinary people of Edo State. To answer all the questions, one need to look critically on the questions raised one after the other.
Fuel Price Table
Iran & Iraq N4.50
South Africa N23.20
It has been said that it is a form of mental degenerate disorder to keep on doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. This is the case with the Nigerian Capitalist class who have over the past 23 years have followed loyally the anti-people dictates of their imperialist masters.
The results of the impositions of all these anti-people (mis)policies have been devastating on the masses. It is been misery without end – poverty, disease, unemployment, homelessness, etc. There has been no time in history where thing have been these terrible for the masses. Yet the Nigerian ruling elites, bourgeois, through its Government keep on talking about continuing with more attacks on the masses.
What is most mentally irritating is the fact that they use the same old arguments. This shows the extent of degeneration of the Nigerian ruling elites and a further confirmation that this class of people must be overthrown by the working masses. If the Nigerian ruling class is not overthrown they would destroy this society.
Again we are back at the ‘good old days’ where fuel scarcity reins and we are gradually losing count of the number of times fuel prices have been increased. Prices of kerosene diesel, aviation fuel, etc have been deregulated.
In February, the Yar’Adua regime reduced the price of petrol to N65.00 and declared that the downstream of the oil sector is deregulated in March. We said then that it was a trick to prepare the ground for a major assault on the masses. The leadership of the oil workers NUPENG and PENGASSAN also declared that it was deregulation via the back door.
It is not a new thing in Nigeria, that when a new administration is sworn into office, they always come up with some "new" policy or other. The experience of the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) introduced by the Babangida regime is still fresh in our memory. The Obasanjo regime came up with the "Fight Against Corruption" crusade, and to achieve this they set up the EFCC and ICPC. How far have they gone with this crusade is left to the Nigerian people to decide. On August 1st 2007, the present (Yar'Adua) regime came up with its own policy, named the "Seven Point Agenda", which we look into below.
According to the government the following are the seven goals it has given itself:
Power and energy - To develop an adequate power supply so as to ensure Nigeria's ability to develop as a modern economy by the year 2015.
Food security - The emphasis is on the development of modern technology, research, financial injection into research, production and development of agricultural inputs leading to a 5 to 10-fold increase in yields and production. This is supposed to result in massive domestic and commercial output and technological knowledge transfer to farmers.
Yar' Adua, President of Nigeria (Photo by Andy Mettler on swiss-image.ch)
agricultural and solid mineral sector. This requires Nigerians to "choose" to work, as hard work by all is required to achieve this reform.
By Oke Ogunde in Lagos
Friday, 25 April 2008
We are told that today "democracy rules" in most of the world. Where there were formerly military dictatorships now we have civilian rule, elections, parliamentary democracy and so on. The truth is far more concrete!
In Pakistan Musharraf has gone, and now there is an elected government. But no one should have illusions about the elections being "fair and free". There was blatant rigging, as we reported in Pakistan: PPP confirms blatant fraud in elections and Massive fraud! - An Eyewitness Account. It was clear that imperialism was pushing for a coalition government, and hey presto the results fitted just right.
In Mexico there was electoral fraud on a grand scale in 2006, which led to the massive mobilizations in the Zocalo Square in Mexico City, with up to three million taking part. The masses rightly see the present government as illegitimate.
In Nigeria last year, again there was fraud on a grand scale, in fact on a scale never seen in the past. The leaders of the western powers may fool themselves that there is real democracy in Nigeria or, to put it better they fool the general public that that is so. The masses in Nigeria know full well that the elections were not fair. They know that there was blatant fraud, stealing of ballot boxes, falsification of results, physical threats and even murder.
By the Workers’ Alternative Editorial Board
Friday, 11 May 2007
Special Mayday Editorial Statement by the Workers’ Alternative Editorial Board
Labour must act now! Demand an end to "reform"! For socialism!
Fraternal greeting to all workers on this special day for workers. Mayday has come to be a very important date in Nigeria and to workers in particular. Traditionally this day is very important to the working class movement internationally. It is a day of international solidarity and its origins are in the struggle of workers for improved living conditions.
This year's Mayday comes at a very critical period in the history of the Nigerian working class movement, a period of growing hardship, turbulent instability and an urgent need for a programme of action by the workers.
However, it is quite commendable that both the leadership of the NLC and TUC agreed to have a united Mayday rally this time around, instead of separate rallies. This should be a step towards uniting the Nigerian workers as the strength of the working masses lies in their unity. This is an essential ingredient now in the face of the problems facing the working masses.
By Ola Kazeem in Lagos
Tuesday, 05 June 2007
No doubt, the Nigerian ruling class has landed itself in a very deep mess. It has created a situation that has made it extremely difficult for it to continue ruling in the old way. Within a period of eight years, all the ingredients required to sustain a minimal level of "bourgeois democracy" allowable in a neo-colonial economy like Nigeria have been completely eroded.
The Nigerian ruling class has been carrying out the policy of the IMF/World Bank over the years and is already paying dearly for this. But is there any alternative for them? Can the Nigerian ruling class refuse to do the bidding of imperialism?
Privatization, mass sackings and serious cuts in public spending on social services have created an unheard of level of inequality (a GINI coefficient of 0.75!) and extreme level of poverty with over 78% of Nigerians living on less than $1 dollar a day.
The consequences of these criminal policies are easy to see. The Nigerian ruling class has been completely discredited, without the slightest support among the people and, most expectedly, they are extremely divided among themselves, with one section accusing the other for the woes of the working class, but most unfortunately for them, both sections are completely discredited and mistrusted by the people.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
About a hundred and fifty years ago, Marx wrote that capitalism would enormously increase the wealth of society, but that this wealth would be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. If you have the will, glaring contrasts of wealth and poverty are not hard to come by in 21st century capitalism. Indeed, they strike you in the face.
"Ill fares the land," wrote Oliver Goldsmith, in his poem, The Deserted Village, "to hastening ills a prey/ Where wealth accumulates and men decay." Young men on the corner, like scattered leaves - decaying, heaps of garbage, rotten, decaying houses and schools. Over whom has capitalism "triumphed?"
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