“The modern laborer,” Marx wrote, “... instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper...” This pauperisation have taken place against the backdrop of a colossal looting of public funds, accompanied by a more ruthless expropriation of the fruits of the worker’s labour by government officials and employers – in one word the capitalists.

Once again, we are called to the barricades to take up the fight for a living wage. Once again we must take up our position among the ranks – ready for this fight. Workers have the right to earn a living wage. This time the demand is for a ‘whopping’ #52,200.00 minimum wage. The response of the ruling class is – traditional; the bogey of inflation.

This bogey is reserved solely for the working class – each time a living wage is demanded. “It will cause inflation, stupid!” One could almost hear them say. We will deal with this presently. But first we must point out, as an aside, that they never frighten themselves with this in their enjoyment of various perks of office. Even they go on grabbing for more, never mind the fiction of the recent so-called wage ‘cut’ of public servants. This is just an attempt to throw sand in our eyes. It won’t work; we continue to see clearly and we say that in the face of the current economic crisis, bringing in a decent wage is a necessity. It spells the difference between having food and going hungry.

A sizeable proportion of Nigerian workers receive pay that is nothing but starvation wage. Today, over 75% of them live in conditions of crushing poverty, in conditions not far removed from barbarism. They live in rotten tenements in decaying communities. Hundreds of thousands of working class families lack access to medical services and find it increasingly difficult to send their children to school and workers poverty have reached new heights.

Government officials continue to line their pockets and swell their bank accounts with money that could be used to offer workers a living wage. In the past period, fuelled by rising oil prices, government and big business had made more money than ever before. But not a single dime found its way into the pockets of the poor toiling masses.


Late last year, during the fund-raising drive for the construction of a new secretariat complex in Abuja of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) the ruling class achieved further heights of insensitivity: over #6bn donated – for a building! The list of donors include:

Femi Otedola - #1 billion

Aliko Dangote - Cement worth #3 billion

Princess Bola Shagaya - #25m

Chief Michael Otedola - #25m

Strabag Construction - #100m

President Umaru Yar’Adua - #527,205 (Representing 15% of basic salary)

VP Goodluck Jonathan - #454,735 (Representing 15% of basic salary)

(THISDAY Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008)

By Oke Ogunde in Lagos    
Thursday, 15 March 2007

Undoubtedly, one of the interesting developments in the ongoing transition programme towards the April 2007 general election in Nigeria is the entrance of the Labour Party into the Nigerian electoral scene, after its previous aloofness in the last general election in 2003. This should be particularly interesting to the numerous supporters of the Workers' Alternative, since the paper has been a forerunner in the campaign for a mass-based Labour Party, with a socialist programme, resting on the Trade Unions, since the first issue of the paper in 1998.

Much as this entrance into the electoral plane by the Labour Party might sound interesting, it is however far from being the desired genuine mass-based political platform of the working class and the poor masses in Nigeria. The Party as presently constituted has a deformed characterization in its membership and leadership-cum-class appeal.

To make things worse, the initial euphoria generated among the working masses when Adam Oshiomhole, former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, declared for the governorship seat in Edo State on the platform of the Labour Party soon died down when he decamped from the Party to the Abubakar Atiku-led Action Congress (AC) as its Governorship candidate in Edo State. Although, it need be noted that the response would have been more thunderous across the country if it has been a declaration for the presidency on the platform of the Labour Party.
The Labour Party in history

By Workers’ Alternative    
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
For the first time in years there was one joint Mayday rally in Nigeria of all the trade unions. The Marxists intervened successfully in spite of attempts by the police to stop the distribution of material. Meanwhile the petit bourgeois left are once again making the same mistakes as in the past by mouthing the same slogans as the bourgeois “opposition”.

By Ola Kazeem in Lagos - Campaign For Workers Alternative    
Wednesday, 20 June 2007

In less than a month since the massively fraudulent election that ushered in the present administration, the Nigerian working class is in a determined mood and on the offensive against it. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to some on the left and seems almost miraculous to those sectarians who had earlier condemned the Nigerian workers as reactionary, simply because the Labour leadership refused to mobilize the rank and file behind one wing of the ruling class in opposition to the fraudulent election.

Opportunists were demanding the subordination of the interests of the working class to the interests of one supposedly "democratic" wing of the ruling class. They rejected the independence of the working class and acted as a transmission belt of the ideas and influence of that wing of the ruling class into the arena of the working class.

We, the Marxists of the Workers' Alternative have been consistent in our demand for independence of the working class from any wing of the bourgeoisie. We have maintained that the only consistent opposition in Nigeria remains the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the two main trade union federations, and that any section of Nigerian ruling class - notwithstanding any of their superficial claims to being "democrats" - represents simply a bunch of reactionary elements out to defend their own greedy interests and they can never play any progressive role. We have always understood that the masses move through their traditional organisations. In Nigeria, the NLC/TUC remain the only traditional mass organisations, and to us it is no surprise at all that they are leading the Nigerian masses against the constant attacks of this regime.
What are the demands?
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