We produced 1000 copies of a special Mayday broadsheet and we sold 230 copies at the Mayday rally in Lagos, which was the first united Mayday rally in Nigeria. The two remaining trade union centres, NLC and TUC, agreed to have one Mayday rally instead of each having separate ones in different venues as they have always done in the past. So we had one major NLC-TUC Mayday rally in State capitals and one major one in Abuja.
This Mayday rally was quite significant. The bourgeois opposition and the petty bourgeois activists had planned to use Mayday to launch their protests against the ‘fraudulent elections’ but as anticipated they failed woefully. However, the State stepped up its repressive apparatus and there was a heavy presence of the police and the secret police, SSS, at the rallies. The rally in Edo State was banned and in some centres low-key.
We experienced police harassment at the rally, as they tried to stop us selling. This occurred as we were about to enter the venue of the rally. We were rescued by the workers, some of them sympathisers, who declared that we were part of their union. During the process, some bought copies of the broadsheet in spite of the SSS order that we could not sell or distribute the leaflets.
The attitude of the petit bourgeois left and NGO-ite activists emerged clearly at a meeting we attended on the Sunday along with other activists from NGO’s supporting the NLC– JAF (Joint Action Forum). It is made up of ‘civil society’ organizations that work with the NLC-TUC. And top of the agenda were the elections. They are calling for the cancellation of the elections, sacking of the INEC chairman, for an “interim government” headed by the Senate president and for a “sovereign national conference”. These people never learn anything from history! In the past these same people were calling for the upholding of the 1993 elections and now they call for an annulment, the same thing the bourgeois opposition is mouthing.
The question of who (i.e. which class) benefits from that position or whether the workers would support it does not concern them. It is the same old logic. They are lost elements who want to confuse the masses the same way they did in the 1990s. Instead of highlighting the need for independent working class action and representation they call on one wing of the bourgeois to act against the other! We spoke against these infantile and highly sectarian positions and you can imagine their response.
- Nigeria: 2007 Elections – transition of turbulence (May 11, 2007)