Interview with Obafemi Sodunola, a leader of the “Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attacks” (ANSA) as well as a leader of the sympathizing section of the RCIT in Nigeria, September 2018, www.thecommunists.net
Question: Hello, comrade, thanks for taking the time for this interview! Could you first tell us a bit about yourself?
Answer: I am Sodunola Obafemi Trotsky. I study philosophy at Obafemi Awolowo university, Nigeria. I have been a political activist for the past 5 years. I was the coordinator of ANSA, Osun State, Nigeria. I am currently the National Secretary of ANSA.
Question: As you are a leader of the Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attacks (ANSA), can you tell us a bit about the history of your organization?
Answer: ANSA was born out of the broad meeting of the Left organizations (Socialist organizations) at Obafemi Awolowo university in 2015 to provide a platform for the Nigerian students to organize and kick start aggressive campaigns against the commercialization and privatization of public education and other neo liberal policies of the Nigerian government. It has become a mass movement of students in Nigeria that is restless in engaging the government to provide free and qualitative education to the people through public funding and management.
Question: How many members approximately does ANSA have and how widespread is its presence at universities?
Answer: ANSA as of today is in control of 31 campuses (Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education etc). It has become a mass movement so it's impossible to give actual numbers of members in it but through our NEC meetings we know we have 31 campuses.
Question: What are the main demands of ANSA?
Answer: The main demands of ANSA are:
1) Free, qualitative, fully funded and publicly managed education.
2) Democratization of all decisions making organs of schools to include elected representatives of academic and non academic staff, students and parents.
3) For abolition of all forms of fees or charges on students e.g. acceptance fees in Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of education etc.
Question: What have been the main activities of ANSA in the last 12 months?
Answer: ANSA organizing Symposia, Summits and Press conferences to sensitize students and the public on the need to reject fees in all schools.
ANSA has been fighting against Victimization of Students activists, Students Union leaders, and for the right of students to independent students unionism.
It also lent its voice to the struggles of Workers/Labour Unions struggle for the increment in National Minimum Wage and other earned allowances.
Question: What are ANSA’s plans for the coming period?
Answer: We are planning to intensify our campaigns against all these neo liberal policies and win more campuses. We are also planning to hold another summit that would witness not only Nigerian students but West Africa as a whole for internationalist connection of all issues patterning to imperialists hold in Africa.
Question: You did recently join the RCIT. What have your reasons to make this decision?
Answer: I joined RCIT because I am a Trotskyist and want to attain the internationalist tendency part of Marxism. I support its goals because it is organizing to bring about 5th International directed to have a revolutionary world party. That's the ideal of scientific socialism (Marxism).
Question: What do you think about the role of the RCIT for your work in Nigeria?
Answer: RCIT's role will further broaden our struggles and make it have international outlooks through reports and publications of ANSA activities in relations to the material supports.