Friday, December 6, 2013

AWAITING INTERMENT (on Festus and Us)

the remains of rof. Festus Iyayi...killed by a projectile in the heart
The remains of Festus Iyayi await the silence of soils that is mother earth’s final embrace, barely a day from now. I still find it difficult to put words on paper somewhat on the great mind with a large heart that Comrade Festus was, and will continue to be, as an inspiration to us, and those that will come after us. A lot has been said and written about his life, and his death, not the least during the tributes session of the ceremonies for his last journey, which started two days ago. A lot more will still be said, indeed, have to be said.

I wouldn’t know if “tribute” would be the most apt word to describe what I know try to write here. But I cannot think of any more appropriate term, really. When I heard the news some two hours after his brutal killing in what initially seemed to be an accident, numbness was what came over me. This was partly due to my state of health at the time. Arriving from the NUMSA International Colloquium four days earlier, I hit the road in pursuit of an inter-party struggle, ending up with an auto-crash. Unscathed though, I took ill the following day, but self-discharged against medical advice to meet up with long delayed book chapter for Lou R, and to prepare for travelling to Lagos for Baba Omojola’s burial rites. With all these, I just found a seat in my General Secretary’s office when he broke the news...and literally broke down.

The sudden loss of so many of our tribe of activists have hit me badly before, particularly such of my generation like Teslim, Laitan and particularly Chima whose corpse I received at Abuja from Potiskum. They were all in the prime of their lives, in their early forties. Festus died when he was sixty six, some fourteen years younger than Baba Omojola whom we lost three weeks before that black November 12. Why has such a broad spectrum of activists and other citizens been shocked by Festus’ death to this hardly describable extent?

The circumstances are important in this regard. Like Chima Ubani, he died in a car accident, whilst on active service in the cause of the working people. Festus Iyayi might still be alive if the Federal Government had the slightest tinge of honour and had respected the agreement it reached with ASUU four years ago. Further dimensions of “circumstances” have also unfolded with the realization that he was his heart was pierced by a projectile, which could have been a bullet.

The very vast depth of Festus Iyayi as a person, an intellectual, a revolutionary, equally account for the avalanche of tributes that have poured in since that Black Tuesday. I do not intend to go regurgitate much of this. It was a honour for me to have written a tribute to this great man when he turned sixty, on the pages of The Health Worker, the flagship periodical of Medical and Health Workers; Union of Nigeria, which he appreciated. Festus was always very practical as well as having a rich grasp of theory. I am concerned here, as his remains await interment to point out some critical elements of who and what he was, that maybe, could be imbibed more within the circles of the revolutionary Left, and change-seeking activists in general. This is particularly so as we live through an era of crises in which discontent is rife, revolts become more commonplace, but the theoretical and practical leadership remains abysmally weak and inchoate.

Comrade Festus Iyayi was first and foremost a revolutionary socialist. His literary works, dynamism as a unionist, patriotic and yet internationalist activism were derived from this primary commitment to the socialist transformation of society which can be enthroned only with the emancipation of the working class. The fate of the socialist movement operating more often than not underground was woven with that of the social movements and mass democratic organisations in which Festus played key roles.

He was ASUU President at a crucial point in Nigeria’s history. But this is only part of that story. A deeper part is the charged flux of changes going on in the world in the mid o late eighties when he was president of the union. This was the period of Mikhail Gorbachov’s perestroika and glasnost. Socialists and activists in the labour movement world over were faced with the challenges of interpreting and acting on the basis of a world-historical context of capitalist triumphalism as the Soviet empire moved from decline to collapse.

In Nigeria, there were turning point events within the socialist Left as well as in the trade union movement (with the 1989 “compromise” of the progressives with the democrats that brought in Pascal Bafyau as NLC President). In 1986, when Iyayi was taking up the mantle of ASUU, the Socialist Congress of Nigeria was established. While it was supposed to be a united platform for the Marxist-Leninist left, the Working People’s Liberation Movement was formed more or less immediately as well, and the Trotskyite Labour Militant publication commenced within months of this period.

Festus Iyayi was a dedicated member of SCON till he died, serving at a point in time as its General Secretary. He was one of the most doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist you could ever find. But, he was never sectarian. He never allowed tendential differences to stand in the way of working together, and was actively involved in every effort to rally the Left as a body, in his lifetime.

It was one of such efforts that brought me to working closely with him. This was in 2002/2003 during preparations for the 3rd All Nigeria Socialist Conference, which held on February 21-23, 2003[1]. The Conference established the (short-lived) Nigeria Socialist Alliance (NSA) and elected a 14-person leadership comprising 2 persons each from the seven leading organisations that participated. Festus insisted that the leadership structure should be called “Working Committee”, as it had to work a lot. His Centre-piece Consultancy office in Benin City became the base of the Working Committee.

It was great trying to work with Festus in that committee. I say trying to because most of the members of the committee were never available for work, and never attended meetings to even plan such work. Despite the battles in the CDHR then, which Iyayi was in the thick of, he always found time to be active in the committee (I remember him shuttling between a CDHR national meeting and the WC meeting on May 31). But apart from him, there would only be myself, and both Eskor Toyo and Laoye Sanda (both representing the SRV) being available. Eventually NSA simply stopped existing. Chima Ubani was saddled with coordinating NSA, but his hands seemed to be filled with work as the Executive Director of CLO.

It is important to point out here that Chima Ubani and Festus Iyayi were the two representatives of SCON on the WC. Why is this important? It is not so much because they had such strikingly, and painfully so similar endings of their lives. It is much more that they lived such strikingly, and honourably so, similar lives. They were both doctrinaires as Marxist-Leninists. But they were strongly against sectarian politics and had open hearts. Consequently they established bridges of trust, respect and work with comrades across the broad spectrum of the Left. Another important dimension of the matter is that SCON had earlier split nine years before then.
In the pro-democratic movement this took the form of the breakaway from Campaign for Democracy and formation of Democratic Alternative by the largely NGOs-based (younger) “SCON II” cadres (which Chima was a part of). “SCON I” remained rooted in the Universities-based intelligentsia, of an older generation. The Iyayi-Ubani representation of a joint SCON presence in NSA thus reflects a unity-seeking within a revolutionary Left organisation, as part of the broader unity-seeking between organisations that the alliance was.         

A sharper and more lasting effort after the NSA was initiated in 2005 and could be considered as having collapsed by 2011.. This took the form of the All-Nigeria Socialist Alliance (ANSA), which Festus Iyayi was a pillar of. On October 12, 2005, at its inaugural meeting, the Abuja Socialist Collective (an effort by the then Socialist Workers’ Movement to rally Left activists based in Abuja as a united front for discourse and work), resolved to utilise the presence of comrades from far and wide at Chima Ubani’s burial on October 27/28, to call for a national united front of the Left). This united platform which adopted ANSA from the earlier experience of 1989 had several contradictions within it, which Festus Iyayi and Eskor Toyo were the first to point out.

Most of the left groups were comatose to some extent or the other at the time. An “alliance” formation became not just a call for “Left unity”. It also spurred the re-awakening of most of these groups. A debate on how loose the alliance/coalition/organisation should be. Both Eskor and Festus pointed out the centrifugal forces that could be unleashed in the context within which the re-alignment was taking place. In 2008 when this debate raged, Festus got the Abuja Socialist Collective (which was a model of working together despite nuanced differences) to pass a resolution that ANSA be a “Socialist Organisation of Nigeria”, with room for platforms.

This was when Comrade Festus was doing his sabbatical with the Nigeria Labour Congress. He was a leading light of the ASC serving on the editorial board of Working People’s Vanguard which I was editing, and which later became the ANSA paper. Our resolution was defeated and ANSA it was...at least as a nomenclature, for slowly, but surely, like NSA even if in a different way, it atrophied. But while it lasted, Festus hosted most of the ANSA meetings. His office, and more often than not (particularly for those meetings throughout the night when the few that slept where much younger comrades”) in his home became home to ANSA.

At this different junctures, a number of leading comrades of became distraught drawing back from efforts at building unity in work and/or organisation/coalition. Some did out rightly drop out of that penumbra of revolutionary political life in the shadows (of semi-legality at the best) as a whole, while still being active in the social movements. And some even just fashied everybody and continued living their lives as if the knowledge of socio-historic truth did not place the burden of fighting on their shoulders. We need not talk of those like Labarn Maku who lived in Iyayi’s boys squatters and ate from the same pot as Festus during his NYSC days in Benin. For those, we have no description short of dammed treachery.

But Festus never tired or looked back. In February 2011, he was at the fore in initiating the process of “Benin meetings” at forming a Socialist Party of Nigeria. He had been very active in the Labour Party hitherto, and had been commissioned by the NLC to write on how to revamp the party. He was of the view that the socialist party cannot be “seized back” by revolutionary forces.

We had healthy debates on this. I pointed out that he was more active in the Labour Party “nationally” in a way that was through the trade unions that had themselves been distant from it, at the time. A clear manifestation of this was during the 2nd National Convention of the party on December 19, 2009 when Festus Iyayi initially wanted to vie for the office of National Vice-Chairman South-South. Meanwhile, structures from below in Edo state and the zone had settled for a veteran trade unionist, Comrade Lawson Osagie, without his being aware of this initially. He subsequently withdrew from the contest.

The road to the SPN efforts could arguably be said to have started with Professor Eskor Toyo’s declaration of ANSA as dead and calling for a “Revolutionary Socialist Party”, at Calabar in August 2010. Festus, did something that few ever got to do, while agreeing with Eskor on the essential, in his view, i.e. establishing a  socialist party, he challenged the “superman me” approach of Eskor to this. Without the slightest sense of disrespect for Eskor’s greatness as a revolutionary, he does obviously have a chronic sense of acute megalomania, which is only near matched by his genuine self-sacrificing commitment to revolutionary struggle for the past 60 plus years.

As the organisationally-minded revolutionary that Festus was, the Benin meetings were initiated based on collective decisions and efforts. This time it was largely on the platform of Edo Future group, led by Comrade Ihonde, a former Deputy President of the NLC. The SPN1 if I may so put it, with the formation of yet another SPN, this time by the DSM in Lagos[2], had dozens of activists from the different geo-political zones in the country.

Iyayi was however very much bothered by the fact that most of them were tested and trusted over the years, but on average, in their 60s and 70s. He called for regeneration and made it clear that for the party to have a future it had to be driven by young hands, with the old guards as trustees within the structures, while remaining active as members. He did see Felix O, Sylvester O-A and my humble self as being a fulcrum in that direction and many a time he called on me to be ready to serve as the General Secretary of the party.

Of course, I pointed out time and again equally that, based on party formation on the basis of the 199 constitution, I would rather be in a party with workers that is not explicitly socialist than in one that is socialist but not rooted in the working class as it were. I thus would choose, if the decision were mine alone to make, to be in the Labour Party, warts and all. This I saw as not barring collaboration with the SPN as a non-member.

The last time I saw Iyayi, which was in September, we still had this debate. Alas, I did not know it would be the last time, I would see him...alive.

Why have I eventually taken up the task of this rather lengthier than I thought it would be when I started article, as Festus’ remains await interment? I think it is largely to stress a few important lessons to be learnt from Festus Iyayi’s life.

First, the struggle to change society beyond merely winning the concessions of a few reforms now and then is one which requires the building of social movements as well as unwavering commitment to building vanguard organisation, without which the steam of social movement’s rising could dissipate without fully turning the wheels of history. Festus was one of those rare breeds that gave the most commendable levels of leadership in the most self-sacrificing manner at all levels of service to the organisation and the working people. The linkages of the concentric circles of organisation driving revolutionary struggle are hardly ever visible for most, not the least because of security concerns, but require documentation, in the ways we can.
Second, is the fact that our pathways as revolutionaries could at times, indeed most times, be frustrating. But radical faith is not only possible, it is the essence of a permanentist commitment to permanent struggle itself. But within this haze of frustration, there is a halo of fulfilment. While we cannot fully win until capitalism is globally overthrown, the partial victories won yesterday and today are because we dare to seek for much more than what they are. Besides to live in the hearts of the masses is to live forever....as Festus does.

It would not be apt to round up without addressing one or two other issues relating to Professor Festus Iyayi.

One, I daresay that Festus Iyayi had one of the most robust relations with working class activists amongst our comrades outside the trade union movement. Shop stewards, state, zonal and national officers of different unions that had the opportunity to listen to and read Iyayi’s presentations over the years would run into a few tens of thousands. Over the last ten years, this has largely been as a result of his being one of the most regular lead speakers at the NLC National Schools. As a member of the NLC Education and Training Coordinating Group, I can say the reasons for these include: the succinctness of his presentations, which were simple without being simplistic; his down-to-earth nature which saw to his establishing close relations with several unions beyond the schools and; the fact that you could be rest assured that Festus would have a fully completed paper ready when he would arrive for his presentation, unlike many other presenters.

Two, I had a debate once with another radical professor who has impacted on me, particularly in the field of industrial relations, with regards to Professor Iyayi as a consultant, not being a poor man. It is important for the records to point out that Iyayi built his Centre-piece management consultancy to survive after he was kicked out by the state in UNIBEN for his ideas. He fought this impunity and won after a decade, during which Centre-piece flourished. There was no untoward practice by the consultancy, and more importantly, he put his substance where his ideas where. I actually remember discussions with Paulo Bambe, Lanre Filani and Muyiwa A, when in 1990 I took the decision to leave medical school and become a professional revolutionary and build the M31M. While I would still take the same decision within those same context, I think their argument then that our objective roles in the logic of capitalism as bourgeois or petit-bourgeois elements those not necessarily have to debar our political commitments. Engels as a manufacturer is probably the sharpest example for us as Marxists.
Three, Professor Festus Iyayi could and did commit his life to the revolutionary cause, to a great extent because he was blessed with a warm heated, loving and tolerant wife. Aunty Grace would always make us feel so much at home whenever we visited No 11 Bello Street. And it did not matter if we were two or thirty two, she would prepare such mouth-watering dishes and interact with us all as family. And believe you me, she cooks some of the most delicious ogboni soup you can ever imagine. In fact the last time I saw comrade Festus, I asked him to tell her that I was missing her ogboni soup and would be coming soon to Benin to eat some more.

Fourth, I learnt from Comrade Festus that it is not enough to have the best of ideas and be “committed”. We were discussing once about his being profound as both a novelist and a political essayist. He said there are no two ways about it beyond “hard work and perseverance”.

Finally, I must say that I did not know where I was going or where I have ended with this piece, when I started. But I do think that the death of Festus, and just days after Baba Omojola, is a very symbolic one for us at the threshold of what would most likely be a tumultuous 2014 in Nigeria. The challenge of learning from the lives of these greats who have just departed from us cannot be overemphasized. But much more importantly, as Festus would argue, I do hope this inspires greater commitment to theoretically-informed action for us, in the unfolding period, as hopefully, the Nigerian Left awaits rebirth with the working masses rising revolts to come.

For now....my last respects I must go pay! Hasta la Victoria, commandante Festus!!





[1] The doyen of the Nigerian Left, 83-year old Professor Eskor Toyo has challenged the description of that Conference as the 3rd “Al Nigeria Socialist Conference”, tracing similar conferences, even if not so described then since 1953
[2] Interestingly, while a number of members of the SPN at Benin felt a sense of betrayal by the DSM in adopting the same SPN-identity, after a leading DSMite had participated in one of the SPN meetings at Benin, and thus were of the opinion that discussions need not be held with the DSM-SPN, Festus was of the view that the essential thing was to forge Left unity and deepen its partisan capacity, and thus, despite this legitimate question of the sincerity of the DSM in this direction, discussions should be pursued with its SPN efforts

Saturday, November 9, 2013

on attempts at self-perpetuation by the LP Chairman

The National Chairman
Labour Party (LP)
LP National Office
Ladoke Akintola Boulevard
Garki II

Dear Chairman,

IN DEFENCE OF THE 3RD LP CONVENTION HOLDING BY OR BEFORE DECEMBER 19, AND AGAINST A THIRD TERM BID

By December 19, 2013, it will be four years since the 2nd Convention of our Party was held at the Labour House, Abuja, where you were returned to run for a second term of office as the National Chairman, haven been elected into the office on February 28, 2004, at the 1st LP Convention which held at the National Women Centre, Abuja.

At this juncture, all well-meaning party members, and supporters are looking forward to the convocation of the 3rd LP Convention and you handing over as National Chairman after spending almost a decade in that highly exalted office. I am constrained to have to point out the obvious, due to some unclear signals that you just might be interested in self-perpetuation as the party chairman: such a step would not augur well for either you or the party, and I would have otherwise considered such signals as being nothing short of rumours.

I was however very much bothered at the last National Working Committee meeting where you were very ambivalent when the issue was raised and I noted that it was most likely a non-issue as you had not indicated interest that you would run. Your response that I should not put words in your mouth, and that you had equally not said you would not run, was, and indeed is, very worrisome.

A further cause for concern in this regard is that barely two months to whence it becomes illegal for us to still continue holding office on the basis of the mandate of the 2nd LP Convention, there is no sign that the 3rd Convention is to be summoned. Indeed, if we are to recall the ruling of the Courts on the case of “the five governors”, your second term as National Chairman should have ended on February 28, last year, which made it eight years since you took the oath of that office.

There was a general feeling that the last NEC meeting at the beginning of September would have fixed the date for Convention and set up the necessary committees for this, which I expressed at the pre-NEC NWC meeting. But you rather assured both the NWC and subsequently the NEC that yet another NEC meeting would be held by October 9 for this purpose, but till date, there has been no notice of a NEC meeting.

At the heart of the possibility of your running again, as you pointed out, is the contrived lacuna in the constitution with regards to tenure of office. At the 2nd Convention, you had proposed that the provision limiting tenures of office to two terms be expunged in the course of constitution review, and got this proposition passed.

This was not without debate. But you argued that in Norway for example, the Social Democratic Party which is the approximate equivalent of our Labour Party in that country has no tenure limits for its officers. But there are quite a number of things wrong with this argument.

First, the political system in Norway is different from that in Nigeria. It is not only the party of labour that has no term limits. Virtually every party and indeed the governments do not have term limits. This is not something peculiar to Norway. It is common with parliamentary systems in general. Thus, same goes for ALL parties in countries such as Britain and Germany, where Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel respectively did win third terms in office.

Second, being registered on the basis of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the party’s constitution cannot be superior to the letters and spirit of the laws of the land, which envision limits for political office holders.

Third, beyond the law, there is a serious question of morality and legitimacy, particularly for a party like ours that aspires to promote politics of a new social-democratic kind. How do we defend self-perpetuation, particularly as you spoke the mind of the party when you openly condemned President Olusegun Obasanjo’s botched third term agenda?

Beyond the possibility of your running for the office of National Chairman again, what could appear to be a justification is the great strides you have apparently made in placing LP as a leading party in the country, with a serving governor who has distinguished himself with pro-people programmes, and several legislative seats at the federal, state and local government councils’ levels. Without any doubt, this is a laudable achievement for which you should be commended, as party leader.

But, this is the more reason why you should leave when the ovation is loudest and with your track record intact. There will always be sycophants who will tell you that “no one but you”, at the detriment of your good name. They are like the sirens to Odysseus, and are best kept at bay.

There are ways in which the party could continue to tap from your wealth of experience and goodwill that are honourable. It is in this light that I proposed earlier that a Board of Trustees could be constituted wherein you could continue as a leader, if you so choose and it is democratically assented to, by the party.

Labour Party has been, arguably the only party with any significant electoral presence that has not been rocked by internecine feuds thus far. It is also the only one within this fold that has had the same chairperson serving for almost a decade. In my humble opinion, it would do the party no good, for us to stir avoidable crisis over an otherwise simple and straight forward matter, as men and women of honour and dignity, rooted in the traditions of the labour movement. This is particularly so as the party is presently hopeful for success at the polls in Anambra and should be keen on unity and not divisiveness.

I would thus at this point in time call for: the initiation of Convention process, with the summoning of NEC to fix a date for the 3rd Convention and constitute the requisite committees and; due respect for honourable politics and democratic traditions against self-perpetuation.

In summing up, permit me to observe that, I still do not want to believe that you will take the plunge into a third term bid that could tear the party apart, at this decisive point in time. No matter how it turns out politically, the legitimacy and moral authority of the party would be dented by such a calamitous plunge.

Further, I must say, my intervention with this letter is a principled one. You might want to recall when in 2006 there was an attempt to remove you from office in what I considered objectionable circumstances, I stood firmly against this, despite being a major critic of yours, starting from 2005 when I had to write demanding that the National Working Committee be summoned after nineteen months with no meeting held. This led you to commend me as a principled partisan at the peace parley initiated by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was then the NLC President. It is with this same spirit that I now raise a voice of reason, which however you might feel about it today, is as much in your interest as it is in the interest of the party as a collective.

Thank you,




BOA Ayelabola
Deputy National Seceretary

GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY, YOUTH AND DECENT WORK: Problems and prospects for the trade union movement*

INTRODUCTION
The world has been in severe turmoil now for six years. Staring as a “financial crisis”, the global economy entered into a “Great Recession”, the likes of which has never been witnessed since the “Great Depression” of the 1930s, in 2008-2009. While the world economy has come out of that recession, we now witness what has been described as the “Great Stagnation”[1] with an economic crisis that has thrown hundreds of millions of persons into the abyss of unemployment and rendered millions homeless.

The global economic crisis has impacted on different countries in different ways and to different extents, depending on the way and manner they are integrated into the world economy. But hardly any country can claim to be aloof from its adverse consequences, as “globalisation” intertwines the fates of peoples from the farthest reach of into one broad mosaic of a community of fate. This does not mean that everyone in the multiplicity of countries and regions of the world are affected by the crisis in the same way. There are social and generational divides which define those who bear the brunt of the crisis costs.

Workers who create the social wealth are the main sufferers. Indeed, the bosses who created the mess we all happen to be in now, are the ones being bailed out, while working people are made to pay. The youth, particularly those from working class backgrounds can also clearly be seen as those for whom this crisis is not only a big blow to their present lives, but as well the tearing asunder of their future, right before their eyes today.

In the storm of crisis, 750million youths are now jobless, while hundreds of millions more eke some form of living on the sidelines of the informal economy or in the shadows of increasingly precarious employment within the formal sector. In advanced countries that have been known to project the liberal market economy such as the United States and the United Kingdom, millions of young graduates have tuition debts hanging over their heads that they will most likely never finish paying before they die. In economically backward countries like Nigeria, millions of youths have been sucked into lives of crime, prostitution and sectarian violence out of disillusionment and a bid to survive.

This is a situation that is very much like a ticking time bomb for humankind. This era of crises has thus, not surprisingly been one of revolts. Mass mobilisation on the streets, spates of strikes, uprisings and revolutions (such as the cases in the Middle East and North African region) have now become near commonplace. But, despite all these, there seems to be no letting steam of the situation of social crisis that the global economic cataclysm our generation faces has thrown up.

We cannot but be concerned about asking questions. How did we get to where we now are? What exactly is the current situation? What are the problems and prospects of a resolution of the situation? What possible alternatives of resolution can we grasp at?

As we confront these questions, for us as workers, a primary one equally would be: what can the working class and its trade union movement do, in defence of the working people? This is a question for us as working class activists. But it also goes beyond one for us as workers. It is a question for all that seeks a better world. This is due to the central role of the working class in the social relations of modern industrial (i.e. capitalist) society, which makes it most strategically placed to bring about social transformation within and across all lands of the world.

In this essay, we would thus attempt to present tentative answers to the questions that history has foisted on our class, and today’s generation of youth, in the shape of a general and organic crisis of the capitalist system.  In doing this, we consider three variables: the global political economy; the character and dynamics of (working class) youth and; the paradigm of decent work, vis-a-vis the challenges of working class’ self-emancipation, and relate these to, what in our humble opinion, the trade union movement can do.

THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY AND THE CURRENT CRISIS
It is important to point out quite clearly that the global economic crisis did not just happen. It emerged from the logic of capitalist development in general, and some of its particular characteristics stem from the neoliberal model of “development” that has been dominant since the mid-1970s across the world.

Capitalism is based essentially on the profit motive. Any and everything in the “market”, including labour and labour power are nothing but commodities acquired and produced for the continued expansion of capital. While profits are being raked we tend to have booms in production. The flush of these booms primarily benefit the bosses. But they can afford to make some crumbs available for the workers. But when the crunch comes with the rates of profit falling, the motive for continued production takes a downturn and contraction of production commences.

This general schema of the logic of capitalist development is what leads to cycles of prosperity followed by downturns of outright recession i.e. negative growth or economic depressions i.e. sluggish growth. Before the current situation, the world witnessed the worst ever economic crisis of this logic of development between 1929 and the late 1930s. This was the period known as the Great Depression.

Like the current crisis (and even earlier crisis in the nineteenth century) it started as a “financial crisis”. The financial sector of modern economy is the most volatile sector precisely because it is one of “fictitious capital”. While international finance had come to hold sway over manufacturing somewhat since the turn of the 20th century, global neoliberalism had further helped to institutionalise it in a form of “casino capitalism” which had hedge funds and the likes lurking behind futures CDOs etc.

“Financialisation” also had no choice but to suck in the working class in liberal market economies within the developed countries, through the extension of credit. This was partly due to the fact that the real wages of workers in a large number of these countries had not increased, for decades. In the case of the United States for example, real wages had stagnated since 1973. The sub-prime mortgage loans which served as trigger for the “credit crunch” of 2008 could thus be best considered as a strategy of the bosses to keep up a real fiction of life getting better for the workers or “new middle class”, while the real benefits rolled into their own bank accounts.

Neither “financialisation” nor the global economic crisis arose from some disembodied free market. Contrary to the myth that global neoliberalism involves the rolling back of the state, and “deregulation”, we have rather had re-regulation in the interest of the bosses, with the strong arm of a privatizing state, and sets of international rules and institutions that also largely privilege multinational corporations and the high and mighty in general. 

The choices that these same states and international institutions have taken in the wake of the crisis have been such that have tried to kick start jobless growth, because they remain largely governed by the profit motive, especially where these involve labour. Bailouts for the bosses still remain as supposed incentives for “private sector-driven” economies. In economically backward countries (that are resource-rich) like Nigeria, and Africa in general where the working masses have only known crisis in perpetuity since the 1980s, the bosses actually brag that we are immune from the global crisis and the neoliberal policies such as NEEDS and NEPAD which they pursue have even brought about oases of growth in the current global desert of crisis.

This is quite clearly a mirage in so many ways. While countries in the eye of the storm might be those more closely intertwined with the world economic system (like Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain in the eurozone), we have equally been adversely affected. In 2009, one third of the worth of the Nigerian stock exchange was wiped out in barely three months. This was despite an earlier claim by Prof Charles Soludo, then the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria that the country was too insulated from the global recession.

To save the profits of capitalists, the Federal Government temporaily established a ceiling and floor for the value o shares; so much for “free enterprise”. But while the interests of the bosses are to be safeguarded, it is not so for workers and the poor. According to the National Bureau of Statistics the percentage of people living beyond the poverty line increased from 54% in 2004 to 69% in 2011, and the impact of further neoliberal policies like the fuel price hike of 2012, the NBS asserted, would have thrown more people still into the morass of poverty.

The present spate of “jobless growth” which Nigeria is witnessing, making it one of the five “fastest growing” economies in the world is driven by extractive resource (i.e. crude oil) exploitation. It is also unlikely to last, as the global economy continues a sluggish staggering towards further crisis on the horizon.

DECENT WORK AND THE “DEVIL” OF PRECARITY
The Decent Work Agenda of the International Labour Organisation might be a recent one, starting in 2007, but the struggle of trade unions over the last two hundred years has been largely about decent work on one hand and self-emancipation on the other. Both sides of this coin are of course, not necessarily mutually exclusive.

The perspective on decent work by the ILO, further reiterates the centrality, in a sense of decent work to the struggles of the working class, when it states thus:

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men[2]

It is however noteworthy that DWA became an element of the narrative of social dialogue, and one which the trade unions throw their weights solidly behind, at the particular point in history that it did. It reflects defensive action of the unions in the face of a series of defeats of the working class, and the increasingly precarious nature irregular nature of work relations for many a worker a la global neoliberalism.

The concept of an “informal sector”, and later put as the “informal economy” was a theoretical attempt to understand the practical reality of work outside formal relations of employment, based on field research work in Kenya and Ghana, between 1971 and 1973. By the 1980s, starting with the structural adjustment programmes, and increasingly so, subsequently, non-standard work became the pillar for labour flexibility, and the twin of rising unemployment.
Trade unions were fought and defeated by the state in several countries to establish the “Washington consensus” as a supposed common sense. This was because the earlier social democratic compromise of the Keynesian Welfare National State had to be dismantled, with subtlety where this was possible, but more often than not, in the most brutal of ways. The bosses and their state co-joined to try save the continued falling of the rate of profit by leveraging on rising unemployment to foist precarious working conditions, insecure jobs and grossly inadequate remuneration on those who found jobs.

The Decent Work Agenda as an effort at reform is however possible in the first place because workers have not surrendered the struggle for democracy. It might seem to some that democracy under capitalism is merely and strictly formalistic. This is a very inadequate perspective. Tripartism, social dialogue and such other instruments which are being utilised to pursue the Decent Work Agenda have in them contradictory currents. They express some level of expansion of the democratic space and which we should consolidate on. Butthey also have laden in them, the very palpable possibility of co-optation by the bosses, including through soft (and not so soft) bribes.

There is every need for us to pursue decent work and any agenda for it. But we equally have to be circumspect in doing this, not to get sucked into the labyrinth of minefields that the bosses, and their states do place in the pathways of such pursuits.  

THE YOUTH: THE FUTURE THAT IS TODAY
An old axiom posits that “tomorrow starts today”. Youth is the most apt personification of this truism. Youths are not just the leaders of tomorrow as yet another adage goes, they are part and parcel of the hopes and aspirations, anxieties and anguish, struggle and creation of today. In terms of work, the youth constitute a significant proportion of any country’s workforce. But they also tend to be those who are more likely to face the scourge of both primary and secondary unemployment.

In most countries of the world with rising unemployment rates, the youth unemployment rates tend to be much higher than the general rate of unemployment. This has resulted in a lot of youth restiveness. Greece and Spain   with youth unemployment rates of 65% and 56% respectively have witnessed some of the stiffest anti-austerity battles in the present era of crises and revolts that we live in. The youths have not only been part of mass strikes, they have as well been at the heart of new-and-not-yet-entirely-new forms of struggles such as the Squares movement and the los indignados movement.

In the MENA region, youths have been very much the driving force of resistance on the streets and at points of convergences of mass anger like Tahrir and Pearl Squares in Egypt and Bahrain respectively. But youths have also been some of the most active organisers of strikes and sit-ins in factories and offices.

The case in Nigeria is also of great relevance. While the general unemployment rate is 23%, youth unemployment rate could be as high as 60% according to the Federal Government. The disillusionment of youths burst out to the fore during the January 2012 General Strike and Revolt, which saw not less than 28 young men killed in the heat of demonstrations across some 57 cities and towns. But this epochal struggle showed both the strength and the limitation of simply put “youth power”. The power to decisively change the way things are, lies with youth-as-part-of-the-working class.

There was a time that younger trade unionists tended to be more radical. There were objective reasons for this. Less weight of responsibility, greater sense of idealism and expectations from life, the freshness of coming from school, and a greater openness to new ideas were (and are still) some of the reasons for this. Today, the ideological warfare against “community” and the projection of consumerist-end-of-history ideology have helped to stunt critical thinking on the part of many a youth in normal times. But we are no longer living through “normal” times. We are in a period where once again the youth and working people as whole, pushed to the world are not only fighting, but can dream dreams and see visions.

 To win reforms for decent work and such like, as well as to change the world itself, we have to dream really, but this is not enough. We have to organise. A major plank of this is mainstreaming youth. This is a challenge that the trade union movement in Nigeria is now rising up to. But a lot more still has to be done.

TRADE UNIONS AND THE CHALLENGES OF THE MOMENT
The trade union movement at local, national, regional and global levels are trying in different ways to fight the good fight, singly and as part of broader social movements. As a movement and as individuals activists that are part of combinations, we enter with the weight of our views and practices of just yesterday on us, but even these are being challenged by what we face, where and when we choose to see this.

At the global level, the trade unions have been demanding an end to the bailout of the bosses and workers’ bearing the brunt of the crisis. A radicalisation of several global union federations and as well the combinations of such into new federations such as the case of IndustriALL are some of the signs of the times. A major programmatic plank of the GUfs has been the Global Jobs Pact. This has the blessings of the ILO, and initially in 2009 when it was formulated; it seemed it would have the blessings of the G20. But as the bosses grew stronger based on our weaknesses, they have chosen to, in essence, disregard this.
At the national level, anti-austerity coalitions are being sired by the trade unions or by other social movements, but with the trade unions being very much involved. A recent example of this trend can be seen in the Peoples Assemblies in the UK. Trade unions are also getting more involved in partisan politics even in countries where “economic unionism” was the norm. Politics is also not being restricted to the ballot box. Trade unions have taken up alternative politics as with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In the case of Nigeria, the role of the trade union movement in building fighting coalitions, particularly but not limited to anti-fuel price hike struggles cannot be overemphasized. This has taken organisation form in the Labour Civil Society Coalition. But the struggles of the trade union movement for decent work and a better life go beyond these. The anti-casualisation campaign of NLC-TUC is being revived and more and more GUF-actions are also taking place.

The youth have been some of the most active foot soldiers in these little and big actions, and are increasingly taking up leadership in these as well. But there is much more that can be done and that has to be done.

These include but are not limited to the following:

·         establishing strong research-to-policy and policy-to-action linkages;
·         consolidating sectoral networking at shop floor, national and regional levels;
·         strategic campaigning as strategy and forging of closer relations with other social movements;
·         an activist sense of mobilisation, breaking the bounds of routine work and institutionalising Social Movement Unionism;
·         mainstreaming youth consciously and systematically

IN LIEU OF CONCLUSION
I have described the period we live in as “an era of crises and revolts”[3]. Such a period comes with both challenges and opportunities. The capitalist logic of development has led to a multifaceted crisis which includes political, environmental, ideological and cultural dimensions. But at its heart is the economic crisis, for as Walter Rodney pointed out, economic development establishes an index for other dimensions of development, and the social relations of production are primary to the material reproduction of our species as humans.

The essence of our specie though, is freedom. Decent work has meaning to the extent that it implies reforms for a better life for human beings. We must thus struggle for decent work and living.
The struggle for reforms, particularly in economically backward countries like ours cannot however be separated from that for social transformation. The trade unions as the primary organisations of the working class are bound to be part of this struggle.

From this point of view, I have tried to put in perspective, the global economic crisis, noting that economics cannot be separated from politics. Indeed, politics is basically concentrated economics. I have then looked critically, albeit summarily at the paradigm of “decent work” which is very valid, but requiring a critical approach to avoid falling into the pitfall of incorporation that the bosses bring to the table of “social dialogue” for decent work.

The problems and prospects for the trade union movement’s roles in the current period have then been considered, taking note of what is being done, and what could be done better.

Throughout this discourse, the place of the youth-as-worker has been primary for me. To change the world and make it better, the youths must envision a new society and fight to win this.

A luta continua!
Victoria ascerta!!

*Being a paper presented at the 1-day Capacity-building training for young trade union activists organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at the Top Ranks Galaxy Hotel, Utako, Abuja



[1] See Foster, J.B. and McChessny R.W., 2012, The Endless Crisis How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China, Monthly Review, NY
[3] See Baba Aye, 2012, Era of Crises and Revolts Perspectives for Workers and Youth, Solaf Publishers, Ibadan

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WHICH WAY NIGERIA? THE WORKING CLASS AND THE CHALLENGE OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION*

INTRODUCTION
The Federal Government of Nigeria initiated what it describes as a “transformation agenda” when President Goodluck Jonathan took up the reins of office after the 2011 elections. It would seem that the Jonathan administration was keying into the frustrations of Nigerians with the worsening social-economic conditions of the immense majority of the population and the perennial state of instability of the nation. But essentially, despite feverish claims to the contrary, little if anything has changed. Nigeria still relies majorly on the exploitation of crude oil for its revenue (with probably more of such revenue entering private pockets than the collective coffers), unemployment is on the increase, poverty, and disillusionment stalk the land, along with violence ethno-regional conflicts, particularly in the north eastern region.

The country has had considerable growth despite the storm of the global economic crisis. This has led the elite to attempts at sowing the illusion that the country is immune from the vagaries of the failure of the neoliberal project; a justification for continued pursuit of neoliberal policies, by the state. But, this jobless growth is of course spurred largely by the exploitation of extractive resources, mainly crude oil. Attempts at utilising the resources generated from petro-dollars for rapid industrialization have not been so successful, especially after the Import Substitution Industrialisation strategy of the late 1960s/1970s was rolled back for export-oriented growth with the Structural Adjustment Programme initiated in 1986, by the Federal Military Government.

Successive “development” strategies by the civilian wing of the ruling class since the restoration of the Third Republic in 1999, such as the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), the Vision 20:2020 and the current Transformation Agenda, have all been based on the neoliberal paradigm, with its attendant illusions. Liberalisation of the economy has led to the collapse of industry, particularly the textile industry which used to be the largest in the manufacturing sector. The informal economy has ballooned with a tertiatization, where services come next to agriculture in terms of employment of the workforce.

With a 23% rate of unemployment (with that of youth being about 60% according to the state), and a burgeoning informalisation of work, organised labour represents much less than 10% of the country’s workforce. The Nigeria Labour Congress’ affiliates organise just 4.5million workers and the Trade Union Congress some 2million workers in a country with a population of 168million citizens. But the trade unions occupy a strategically central place in the articulation of vision and struggle from below, for pro-poor and working people transformation.

In this light, closer collaboration between the two trade union centres has helped to forge more lasting ties between the trade union movement and other social movements, over the decades, and in more recent times with radical “civil society organisations”. The extent to which the quest for a better society by the unions and (other) social movements has been successful has been greatly influenced by: “the context and trends in global political economy”; the character of the Nigerian state; the trend of industrialization; the facets and depths of inter-linkages of issues and struggles of concern to the working people, and; the alternatives envisioned for a new social order, including how this is framed.

This paper attempts to put the foregoing in perspective.

CONTEXT AND TRENDS OF GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY
At the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, on September 15, 2008, it would seem that new vistas for a post-neoliberal period were unfolding. Indeed, the October issue of Working People’s Vanguard, the now rested monthly newspaper of the now defunct All-Nigeria Socialist Alliance had two stories that expressed two sides of the organic crisis of the capitalist system which it is yet to rise out of. There was an “obituary” for neoliberalism by Joel Odigie which presented the event as an end of the neoliberal era, and an analysis of “capitalism in crisis” by Baba Aye, which (while being optimistic) noted that the challenges ahead were about as severe as the opportunities unfolding.

Five years after, neoliberalism appears resilient, as the bosses feel confident enough in their realisation that ‘tis obviously not “the final conflict”. The reasons for this are multifarious, but at the heart of these lie two intertwined realities that confront quests for reform-as-resolution on one hand, and the revolutionary resolution of the current situation on the other.

Several Keynesian, post-Keynesian and neo-Keynesian formulations of different hues have been presented on a global level and in different countries, including by the trade unions. At the global level, the trade unions articulation of such a formulation is best grasped with an analysis of the Global Jobs Pact of 2009. This period was also when the G20 was formed, arguably as an expanded form of the G8. The Global Union Federations were invited for its meetings at which they argued the GJP, pushing for a jobs-led recovery from the global economic crisis.

The bosses have quietly, both surely it would appear, put aside any serious consideration of the GJP, after the coming out of the Great Recession, even though the economic crisis still remains relentless, with its most adverse effects being borne by the poor and working people. Indeed, within countries, rather than uphold a social-democratic compromise like that of the 1930s “New Deal”/post-War order which the GFJ envisions, the bosses have gone on the offensive. What is left of the Welfare State is being rolled back with austerity measures in advanced capitalist countries and in resource rich but economically backward countries like Nigeria, the bosses continue with the narrative of “nothing has changed; long live neoliberalism”.

The general crisis of capitalism has not been met with folded arms by the poor and working people. Resistance has spurred revolts and even, as is the case in the Middle East and North Africa region, revolutions. The streets have been occupied no doubt and mass strikes have rocked the world of work. But a major limitation of these has been the absence of a post-capitalist socialist world’s vision, as a material force in that it inspires the minds and hearts of the millions of people challenging the status quo.

This is a very sharp departure from the revolts that met the economic crisis that was the Great Depression. Not only was the USSR an example of where economic crisis did not occur, the socialist ideology it espoused took life and blood in the tens, and hundreds of thousands of communist parties militants and their influence in the mass actions taken such as sit-ins in factories, and “hunger marches” on the streets.

The Keynesian reformist “class compromise” that came out of this intense class struggle was largely a safety valve to deflect a more revolutionary resolution. This led to the so-called “Golden Age” of capitalism as rate of profit soared and more crumbs could be scoured to secure (near) full employment and the social security of welfare states, in the advanced capitalist countries.

Countries like Nigeria that where then under colonial domination could not (i.e. their elites) lacked the sovereignty to really tap into the “welfare state” paradigm of this period[1]. The 1960s was Africa’s decade of independence, and the twilight of the post-War order. In that brief window before the accursed dawn of a neoliberal order, the interventionist state central to the Welfare State model could be pursued by the newly independent state’s elite. Different variants of developmentalist states were the result of this, till the late 1970s.

In Nigeria, as with many other countries in the “Third World” as they were the called, this took the form of an ISI strategy as the pivot of “National Development Plans”. By the 1980s when the Washington Consensus of neoliberalism was being consolidated, in the face of the decline and collapse of the East bloc, capitalist triumphalism went along with the supposed rolling back of the state in favour of a deregulated “free market”.

Neoliberalism and its myth of a “free market” became dominant on the back of ruthless attacks against the working class. Ronald Reagan’s defeat of the air traffic controllers strike and Margaret Thatcher’s breaking of the long drawn miners’ strike are just some of the sharpest examples of the triumphs of capitalism’s neoliberal gladiators. In Nigeria, this took the form of proscriptions of trade union centres in 1975, 1988 and 1994.

The political, ideological and organisational setbacks faced by the working class over the last thirty odd years set the background for both the limitations of its rising in this period of change and the challenges of re-igniting its latent possibility for changing the world. Another world is indeed possible, but it must not only be envisioned, it must be central to our praxis and narrative to be won.

THE CHARACTER OF THE NIGERIAN STATE
Nigeria is a rich country with poor people. This of course is because the social wealth generated from the toil of the working people on its lands and the exploitation of the wealth in the bowels of these lands are appropriated by a handful of elite and their overlords in the metropoles of imperialism. This is the defining dynamics of the nature of the Nigerian state, with systemic corruption as the trappings of its details.

The working class played a central role in the nationalist movement that led to de-colonisation. But the British colonialists, not surprisingly handed over the reins of the state to the most backward section of the (then) nascent comprador bourgeoisie, as represented by the Northern People’s Congress. Ethnicity and religion from the word go became incendiary elements of elite political mobilization, with which the strategy was to perpetually divide working people along identity lines. The trade unions have been the strongest counter-pole to this tendency, being the major pan-Nigerian social movement from below.

Over the last 53 years of post-colonial politics, balancing the interests of different fractions of the ruling elite defined along ethno-regional lines (being the most convenient for this class devoid of much productive ethos), has been a cardinal component of the Nigerian state, with a philosophy of cake-sharing. An attempt to understand the neo-patrimonial dynamics of the Nigerian state led to the conceptualisation of prebendalism (Joseph 1983).

The Peoples Democratic Party which has held power at the centre since the establishment of the Fourth Republic in 1999 has been the most successful effort at elite party-formation and state-building. This partly explains the unrivalled escapades of corruption that has been the stock in trade of the bosses in this period. It has, with the lubricant of sleaze been able to establish the most lasting of -albeit still tenuous- elite “consensus” and hegemony.

Despite pretensions at (resource) nationalism which started with the indigenization decrees in the early 1970s, except for (and even this, rather arguably) the 1975-76 and 1984-85 interregnums of Generals Murtala Mohammed/Olusegun Obasanjo[2] and Generals Muhammadu Buhari/Tunde Idiagbon juntas, the Nigerian state has always been a very pliable tool of Western imperialism.

In the current period for example, while resource nationalism is a defensive ideology and instrument for a number of countries in the Global South, the Nigerian state is more concerned with bending as backwards as it can to ease the conditions for exploitation of its natural resources, all in the name of securing “foreign direct investment”. As information from wikileaks further shows, this is not at all for altruistic reasons. Individual elites benefit immensely from the shadowy angles of such “liberalisation”.

INDUSTRIALIZATION AND THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPMENT
Nigeria remains an under-industrialized country, despite the hope of its elite for the country’s economy to be one of the 20 largest in the world by 2020. This perspective is actually an understatement. It has witnessed de-industrialisation despite its low level of industrialization ab initio, over the past twenty five years.

In the immediate post-colonial period, state intervention led to an increase in the contribution of manufacturing to the GDP from 19.8% in 1966-67, to 32.4% by 1971-72 (Teriba and Kayode 1977). By 1982 when the first austerity shocks hit the country, and with the over reliance on petroleum that had become entrenched, this had fallen to 9.2% and “manufacturing value-added as a percentage of GDP was about 5% in 2000 (less than the proportion at independence in 1960), making Nigeria one of the 20 least industrialized economies in the world” (Iwuagwu 2011).

By the end of 2012, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, manufacturing contributed 7.7% to GDP growth. With the foregoing, it does not take a lot to agree that “Nigeria’s experience with industrialisation since independence is a classic case of misfortune” (Amakom 2008). This is not the least because of an absence of industrial linkages (Ajayi 2007). It is very unlikely that the current “industrialisation strategy” of the Federal Government based on a cluster concept rooted in neoliberal paradigm can turn this sorry tale around.

THE TRADE UNIONS, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ALTERNATIVES
The trade union movement has been at the fore of the quest for alternatives from below by social movements in the country. This has been particularly so since the establishment of the Nigeria Labour Congress in 1978. NLC tried from its early days to build traditions which established strong linkages with the class interests of the workers and the tasks of national development in opposition to imperialism. In 1981, it issued the Workers’ Charter of Demands which could be considered its first programmatic statement in this direction, and during the hey days of SAP, its “Nigeria NOT For Sale” leaflet was a major mobilisational document of resistance.

The spate of attacks against the trade unions and particularly against its more radical sections led to the “compromise of 1989” where a “consensus” to do away with sharp ideological divides was arrived at, with consequences till today. But of course, 1989 was also the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, compromise at home partly reflected disillusionment with a bigger global picture of the collapse of what was for many, an alternative model.

This could be said to have dampened the categorical depth of subsequent efforts at formulating alternatives for national development. The new beginning of labour which started in February 1999 did, in this direction, come with a vast expansion of breadth, but a sorry loss of depth. It is within this context that the promising but still born Alternative National Development Agenda process of 2009 – 2011 can be situated.

The expansion of breadth however raised the political profile of organised labour as the rallying banner of the social movements. From the 2000 anti-fuel price hike strike, a new practice was introduced as a constant to mass strikes. Dubbed “General Strike and Mass Protest”, the nine general strikes since then have brought tens of thousands into the streets as workers downed tools. The peak of this was with the mass revolts of January 2012, yet again against a hike in fuel price which saw mass strikes, demonstrations, processions, etc involving millions of persons in over 50 cities and towns across the country[3].

A major problem that unions face is that, they have been much clearer on what they are against, than the alternative they seek in a well articulated manner. This was a time that it was clear that the trade unions, and indeed a majority of Nigerians stood for a socialist political and economic system, as testified to by the 1986 Political Bureau report which was suppressed by the military. Now, we have at best, episodic formulations and constrained formulations of alternatives. Related to this problem is the gross lack of the rootedness of an alternative vision beyond collective bargaining in the “official” politics of the union militant. But as more and more shop stewards get radicalised in the unfolding moment, questions are being asked on “what is to be done?” This is particularly so as a disconnect yawns between the labour movement and the Labour Party which it established in 2002.

IN LIEU OF A CONCLUSION
This paper has tried to situate the current Nigerian situation in a world in turmoil within the realities of this world itself and with it, the historically established realities the working class in Nigeria are living. We cannot but see the similarity of the challenges facing the trade unions and progressive forces in the country, with those which change-seeking activists across the world now face. But along with these, we bring into relief the peculiar dynamics and dimensions of the narratives and practice unfolding within the class struggle therein.

In summoning up, we cannot but stress the most important task this paper sets for itself. It is not enough to interpret the world, the point of course is to change it, for which our analysis serves as a point of departure for discussions at this conference.

Thank you for listening.


 *Being (the draft of) a paper presented on Monday November 4, 2013, at the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) International Colloquium, organised by the NUMSA Reserach & Policy Institute, and held on November 3-7, 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa


REFERENCES
Ajayi, D.D. 2007, ‘Recent Trends and Patterns in Nigeria’s Industrial Development’, Africa Development, vol. 32, no. 2: 139-155

Amakom, U. 2008, ‘Post Independence Nigeria and Industrialisation Strategies: Four and Half Erratic Decades’, Available at SSRN 1266633.

Aye B., 2008, ‘Capitalism in Crisis; Working Peoples Vanguard, October

Aye B., 2012, Era of Crises and Revolts Perspectives for Workers and Youth, Solaf Publishers, Ibadan

Falola, T., 1996, Development Planning and Decolonization in Nigeria, University of Press of Florida, Gainesville

Iwuagwu, O. 2011, ‘The Cluster Concept: Will Nigeria’s New Industrial Development Strategy Jumpstart the Country’s Industrial Takeoff?’, Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 2, no 4

Joseph, R. A. 1983, ‘Class, state, and prebendal politics in Nigeria’, Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, vol. 21, no.3: 21-38

Nigeria Labour Congress, 1981, Workers’ Charter of Demands, NLC, Lagos

Teriba O and Kayode M.O 1977, ‘Issues in Industrialization’, in Teriba O. and Kayode M.O,  (eds), Industrial Development of Nigeria: Patterns, Problems and Prospects, Ibadan University Press, Ibadan



[1] See Falola T., 1996
[2] While the junta lasted till October 1979 when Generals Olusegun Obasanjo/Shehu Musa Yar’Adua handed over to civilians of the 2nd Republic, the radical posturing of that regime (which nationalised British economic concerns including BP for Britain’s support of apartheid and Kissinger’s gambit in Angola) mellowed drastically after the assassination of General Mohammed on February 13, 1976
[3] See Aye 2012