Nigerian Workers: Don’t Trust The State Of The Rich And Powerful, Trust Only Yourselves!
Mayday Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV) [RCIT Nigeria] 29th April, 2020. http://www.revolutionarysocialistvanguard.WordPress.com
For us in the RSV, the continual lock downs in the light of the present chaotic economy is a disarmament of the workers and oppressed especially given the fact that since the onset of this state repressive measures the cases of infection has seen more than an 800 percent rise while the number of deaths has spiked upward in like manner. We can already see the stark incompetence of the Buhari regime in handling the pandemic with the death of the president’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, around which a lot of government cum establishment mistrust has festered.
A more severe sign of this obvious gross incompetence is the contraction of the corona virus by 40 health workers whose precarious working conditions and dismal pay has worsened since the outbreak of the pandemic. This is without forgetting that this same government has failed to contain the spread of Lassa fever across the Federation and have done equally awfully in saving the lives of those infected by the disease as about 200 Nigerians have died from Lassa fever this year alone. It is crystal clear now that even the call for palliatives, stimulus packages and what not have fallen on deaf ears as usual at least they have been reduced to cheap self aggrandizement projects of corrupt politicians.
The bane of this can already be seen in riots against the lock downs and the brutish response of the state security forces which has amounted to several brutality of innocent civilians and at least 18 reported cases of extrajudicial killings. More than 600 mysterious deaths have been recorded in Kano state where authorities have continued to prevaricate over the cause. In short, the Buhari regime and ruling capitalist elite is neither willing nor capable to bring any solution to the health crises or any other crises confronting the country.
Thus, the extreme anti-democratic measures now being implemented can only find meaning in the current triple catastrophe of capitalism— the worst economic slump since 1929 (The Third Depression), the global counterrevolutionary offensive against democratic rights as well as the dangerous health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who deny the current of counter-revolutionary offensive launched by the capitalist elite fail to correctly evaluate the pre-revolutionary nature of the previous year, we think it is sufficient to note that just last year apart from the wave of popular uprisings that shattered six out of seven continents of the world, two dictators—Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who have held the people to ransom for more than 20 years were brought down in North Africa alone.
Contrary to the prevalent ploy to make the COVID-19 pandemic the culprit for the economic slump, though the extreme measures taken by world governments has further exacerbated its effects, the stakes for a third depression were already visible by mid-2019. We should not forget that early in January this year 1,000 workers were laid off by the United Bank of Africa (UBA). These served as an harbinger to transform the uprisings of last year to full blown revolutions capable of causing colossal distortions to the capitalist order.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) already gave certain gloomy predictions concerning the unemployment rates this economic recession will birth. The ILO expects a “significant rise in unemployment and underemployment (…) preliminary ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of 24.7 million (“high” scenario) from a base level of 188 million in 2019. The “mid” scenario suggests an increase of 13 million (7.4 million in high-income countries)….there will be between 20.1 million and 35.0 million more people in working poverty than before the pre-COVID-19 estimate for 2020.” “Overall losses in labour income are expected in the range of between 860 and 3,440 billion USD.”
An example of this how one of Nigeria’s biggest airline carriers, Arik Air, has put 90% of its staff on unpaid leave and an 80% pay cut on the remaining staff effective next month.
No progressive should have a hard time understanding that such prognosis portend more heightened levels of civic unrest than the previous year and a commensurate pre-emptive counter-revolutionary strike from the ruling elite, only now COVID-19 offers the best platter to execute these measures. What is trite is that the devastating effects of this Third depression will cost more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 90 million Nigerians already live below the poverty line the economic slump will further worsen the paucity of resources for the average Nigerian especially now that the unnecessary extreme measures of travel bans and lock downs have deepened the chaos.
We note in passing also the global fall in oil prices which could serve as a veritable excuse by the Buhari Administration to roll back public services, input hikes in tariffs and increase tuition fees across tertiary institutions etc.
Those who wait for the COVID-19 storm to subside before taking action have spawn themselves a web of illusion; first what signs will indicate that it has subsided enough for them to act. Second, if the only solution to such a health crises lies in the expansion and upgrading of the health sector which includes mass testing, employment of more medical staff; funding of education and providing hygienic living conditions for the masses; how then can they expect the pandemic to be arrested if the Buhari regime is clearly unwilling and unable to do this. How will these changes be realized if they refuse to mobilize the forces that will forge it? This lot are saying one of two things; that they do not want the pandemic to end or that they have capitulated in the struggle.
All authentic revolutionaries, progressive trade unionists, civil society organizations, progressive non-governmental organizations must take to the following now:
Begin a relentless struggle against the lock downs, the ban on democratic rights such as freedom of assembly; freedom of movement and demonstration for this is central to weathering the storm of economic attacks which must follow the worst global economic crisis since the great depression of 1929.
Workers and community action committees now! Begin a campaign for workers and locally controlled free mass testing and isolation of confirmed cases through increased test kits via protests, strikes and serious trade union work with the slogan “Open up Nigeria, Mass testing is the key”, “Down with the Iron Curtain of Hunger”
Fight for the expansion and upgrade of the health sector! Don’t let COVID-19 leave the health sector in a worse state than it already is! For proper funding of the education sector! No hike in tuition fees across tertiary institutions! For the reinstatement of all proscribed students’ unions!
Fight austerity attacks! Resist all forms of lay-offs, pay cuts, etc. Those who stay at home, call for or support the lock downs betray the workers who now suffer from mass sackings and pay cuts, more so, those health workers whose lives has been put at great risk and the many who are either dead or will die due to the Third depression and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oust the corrupt and compromised leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Commission (TUC) and smash their bureaucracies! Wrest the Oil and Mining sector with the refineries into the democratic control of workers through protests, strikes and popular actions! Form workplace and communal self-defense committees now!
For an international solidarity campaign in words and deeds to surmount the current triple crises of capitalism under the slogans: Convert the State of Emergency into a Popular Uprising! Cancel Africa’s Debt Now! Corona is the Virus, Capitalism is the Pandemic!
 https://ncdc.gov.ng/ Check for number of infected and death cases from March 30th till date.
 see An outbreak of Lassa Fever in Nigeria for week 16 https://ncdc.gov.ng/diseases/sitreps/?cat=5&name=An%20update%20of%20Lassa%20fever%20outbreak%20in%20Nigeria
 https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-africa-52454259, See the Whistler.ng
 see Michael Pröbsting: Another Great Recession of the Capitalist World Economy Has Begun.
The economic crisis is an important factor in the current dramatic shift in the world situation, 19 October 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/another-great-recession-of-the-capitalist-world-economy-has-begun/; see also chapter “Another Great Recession has begun“ in RCIT: World Perspectives 2020: A Pre-Revolutionary Global Situation. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 8 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2020/; Michael Pröbsting: The Next Looming Great Recession. Observations on the Latest Stock Market Slump and the Structural Crisis of the Capitalist World Economy, 12 October 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-next-looming-great-recession/
 see 3.4 Trillion Reasons
An ILO study shows the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for the international working class and popular masses. How does this relate to the global rise of state repression?
by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 25 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-crisis-3-4-trillion-reasons/