Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

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Committee for a Workers' International


Supreme Court Judgement:

A Major Victory For NCP

But mass action needed to enforce court decision

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Socialist Democracy 

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Perspectives 2002.rtf (170k)

Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2002.rtf




Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2002

Political Violence, Election Rigging ...

Only The Masses Can Save Civil Rule


The recent period has witnessed an upsurge in political violence as a result of unbridled rivalry between the different factions of the capitalist ruling elite in different parts of the country. During the same period, the so-called Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) conducted a national voters' exercise which was riddled with fraud and incompetence, preparing the ground for massive rigging in the coming elections.

Hardly a day goes these days without an incidence of political violence in one part of the country or the other. All this shows that as the next elections draws nearer, the various gangs within the ruling class are becoming even more desperate and are prepared to use any means either to retain power or to get access to it in order, in most cases, to be in the best position to loot the public treasury.

While the December 2001 murder of Chief Bola Ige, the former minister of justice and attorney-general of the country, has attracted the greatest publicity, in reality, dozens of lives have been lost in and 100 lives respectively were lost in Plateau and Bayelsa states alone during clashes between rival factions during the election primaries of the People Democratic Party (PDP). In some cases, the violence and killings are perpetrated by state-sponsored militia groups such as the Bakassi Boys in the south-eastern states like Anambra and Abia. In some of the states in the northern part of the country, which had introduced the Sharia Islamic legal code, state-backed Sharia enforcement vigilante groups are also being used to intimidate and harass groups and individuals who are opposed to policies of the government. In the south-west, the capitalist politicians are also playing the card of Yoruba nationalism, and would not hesitate to use a group like the OPC against their political opponents. With this trend of violence, it is very clear that the next election will be far from free and fair if everything is left to members of the ruling elite.

Without the positive, correct intervention of the working masses and the labour movement, the elections will be characterised by massive rigging and widespread violence, similar to the electoral crisis of 1963/64 and 1983 which paved way for military interventions on both occasions.

It shows why the working class and the labour movement must act now before the nation is plunged into another round of vote rigging, orgy of political violence, and possible return of military dictatorship.

Thus, the DSM calls on the trade unions, students' unions, NANS, NLC and the NCP to set up grassroot, local, popular and democratic committees to monitor and police the elections in order to ensure free polls. These committees will also ensure that the ranks of workers and youth are not divided and used for selfish purpose by the rival groups of capitalist politicians as it used to be the case in the past.

Beyond this, the renewed wave of political violence and election rigging confirm the inherent instability and insecurity of lives which capitalism means for the Nigerian working masses. The masses will continue to be confronted with the problems of mass poverty, political violence and instability, so long as neo-colonial capitalist rule prevails in Nigeria. Hence, a lasting solution to these monumental problems lies in ending capitalism and replacing it with a workers' and poor farmers' government with a socialist programme which will make the real needs of the overwhelming majority of society and not the greed of a small rich minority the basis of governance. And to achieve this objective, the workers movement, the NCP, labour and youth activists must take as a priority the building of a mass, independent working people's party which will serve as the tool for the actualisation of this historic objective. It is only in this way that the working masses can begin the process of real change, the desire for which informed the struggle against military dictatorship between 1984-1999



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