Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



(By Dagga Tolar)

The sack of Mr. Tope Ajibola, (Chairman), Mrs. Morenike Olaniyan (Vice-Chairman), Mr. Biodun Ogunduade (Secretary), Mrs. Yetunde Adeyemo and Mrs. Olusola Adigun, for their involvement and role in building the Conference of Secondary School Teachers (COSST) by the Ekiti state government, through its Teaching Service Commission in Feb. 2007, remains an unjust and wrongful act of injustice that must be redressed.

The sack of these teachers for the singular reason of subscribing to COSST and being its officers in the state , amounts to an undue interference by the Ekiti state in the right of workers on their own to decide which union they seek and wish to belong.

For sometime now, the Nigerian Union of Teachers has been rocked with crisis of threat of an unprincipled division between the primary and secondary school teachers that make up the NUT. This has resulted in the past to a yearning for the split of the union into two distinct arms. In some cases, fuelled by careerist bureaucrats whom have either lost out and sternly opposed on the other hand also by another section of union bureaucrat, who presently enjoy the reign of power in the NUT.

In Ekiti, the Conference of Secondary School Teachers (COSST) had since emerged and remained in a dogged battle with the NUT for its existence, canvassing the right of secondary school teachers to independently run their own union separate from primary school teachers. We agree with those opposed to COSST, that it would amount to dividing the ranks of teachers. At the same time, we cannot disagree with COSST on the grounds that Unity of Teachers can only be meaningful within the framework of the democratic right to allow all voices to be heard and represented within the NUT. The absence of this is what has caused the emergence of COSST.

We therefore call on the state government to immediately recall and redress this illegal and wrong act of the previous government in the state. In a protest by teachers to the state House of Assembly in May, the leadership of the state House of Assembly had promised to review the case of the sacked teachers.

We in the DSM call on the NUT, to frontally pick up the case of the sacked teachers and mobilize all teachers, both in the primary and secondary schools, to struggle for their immediate recall and payment of their salaries. If NUT refuses to act now and join in the struggle for the recall of these unjustly sacked teachers, it would only help the cause of COSST the more. The NUT must be told the commonest slogan among secondary school teachers, which was written all over the placards with which they protested to the Ekiti state House of Assembly: “NO GOING BACK ON COSST, FORWARD EVER!”. To therefore win secondary school teachers in Ekiti back into the idea of a single NUT for all teachers, which we in the DSM support, would require patience and a conviction that what would come first for the NUT will be the defense of the collective welfare and interest of teachers.

We also call on the NLC in the state led by Comrade Adebayo Arogundade, who recently successfully led workers in the state to earn their 15% salary increase, to put the state government on notice, demanding their immediate recall or alternatively, mobilize the entire workforce in Ekiti for a one-day warning strike for the sacked teachers to be recalled. Please, write letters of protest to Ekiti state government, calling for the recall of the sacked teachers.