Fight To Oust the Wabba Bureaucracy from the Labour Unions! For an indefinite general strike to bring down the Buhari regime!
The nationwide strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) enters its sixth day today. A national strike of this nature and magnitude has bordered on inevitable since March 2020 where doctors threatened to down tools around the time that the national lockdowns were imposed. In fact some some state chapters of the NARD commenced strikes disregarding the lockdowns and the hysteria raised by the bourgeois media. In short, for bodies like the NARD there has been an epileptic pattern of strikes sometimes national, sometimes statewide, since the pandemic began over the poor pay or outstanding salaries of medical staff, peanut hazard allowance, unavailability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and the overall deplorable state of the health sector in Nigeria.¹
The whole matter took an interesting turn when the routine medical checkup of the president, Muhammadu Buhari was fixed just days before the strike on 1st April. In his usual non-challant manner the president failed to address the brewing workers strike and embarked on his medical trip to the United Kingdom (UK). This has enraged many Nigerians especially the youth who took to Twitter, the social media app, to resuscitate the #BuhariMustGo campaign. Since his arrival in England, UK based Nigerian migrants have followed the president from hospital to his presidential quarters with pickets saying #harrassBuhariOutOfLondon and #BuhariMustGo.²
Moreover the Buhari government stirs up internal adversity inside the ruling class by refusing to handover administrative power to the vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, a westerner paired with Buhari during the sorting out of candidates in the APC for regional/religious balance. Instead he prefers to rule from abroad.³ The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who himself was a medical practitioner has brazenly threatened the striking workers with a “no work, no pay” dictum after a meeting with their union leaders without considering that one of the key demands of the striking doctors and other medical workers is the payment of outstanding salaries⁴
We fully welcome and strongly support the NARD strike. We call the for a general strike of all healthcare workers with protests and demonstrations on the streets to allow concrete collaboration with the #BuhariMustGo campaign. We say that the strike should be run and the next steps in the struggle should be decided in democratic deliberations of local and state branches of the unions. The national functionaries must only act on the conclusions from this deliberations amongst workers of the local branches periodic meeting or congresses.
We say that this struggle must be combined with the campaign to flush out the odious Wabba bureaucracy which betrays the workers every time and stands to blunt the antagonism between workers and the oppressive neo-colonial government. Many left organizations like to jump on the opportunity of a strike to brag about their “orientation to the working class” yet none of them have outrightly called for the removal of Ayuba Wabba from the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the disbanding of all those loyal to him even in the Trade Union Congress (TUC). This is because many of these comrades have ties with the labour bureaucracy which they orientate towards so their criticism only ends with verbal expressions of ‘betrayal’ and ‘ineptitude’ but never a strategic desire to see the utterly corrupt leadership of the trade unions removed.
For sometime now these comrades have been wailing over vaccine nationalism but what did they expect. When at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 they paused the struggle in support of lockdowns and staying at home leaving totally the handling of the pandemic to bourgeois governments, did they not know that all governmental administrations the world over have the interests of imperialism front, back and center? This is because they ignored the imperialist nature of the global COVID-19 measures, that part of what aided the hysteria and Bonapartist attacks on the working class was that the imperialist countries were mostly affected. If it was a disease ravaging the population of the global south perhaps all hell would not have been let loose.
In contrast, the RSV advocated for the expansion of the health sector as a means to keep the pandemic at bay. We called for an intransigent struggle up to a general strike to increase monumentally healthcare workers pay and put the health system under workers control. We called for publicly controlled research by experts for the treatment, cure and vaccines for the virus which must be funded by taxes from the rich. Free food, housing and medical supplies for the poor and homeless. ⁵
All these demands are more relevant today, however, we reiterate that our opposition to lockdowns, mass curfews, travel bans, school closure as it should be now visible to the blind that all these measures only serve to worsen state of living both health-wise and economically. Just look at the transfer of wealth to the world’s richest people to the tune of 1.8 trillion dollars in the last year while many middle income and poor workers were sacked or had their wages cut or unpaid. Even the Federal Government of Nigeria had to cut funding for healthcare to fund renovations of the national assembly building.
We send our deepest solidarity to the Nigerian migrants in the UK fighting to send Buhari back to Nigeria. For us only an international fighting party of the workers and oppressed can overthrow neo-colonialism at home, defeat imperialism globally and replace it with a system of working class and poor government all over the world. Join like minds in the RCIT to achieve this great task!
5. See the following on this: