Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




June 2010

Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) fully supports the campaigns embarked upon by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) against fee hike and for adequate funding of education. We condemn the astronomical hike in fees and commercialization of education by managements and governments and call for the immediate reversal of this anti-poor policy.

Given the level of resources and wealth at the country’s disposal, it is unacceptable for education to be neglected. The classrooms are so overcrowded that they are not conducive to quality education. As against a ratio of 35 to 1 as recommended by UNESCO, there are well over 120 students to a classroom/teacher in most public schools. There are no functional libraries, laboratories, toilets and other facilities for quality education. This explains the spate of mass failure in WAEC and NECO (senior secondary school examination) in the recent years.

It is anti-people for the federal government to allocate N249 billion to education, N161 billion to health, N64 billion to Niger Delta Ministry, N249 billion to works and N156 billion to power. This is a combined total of N879 billion that is far lower than about N1.2 trillion allocated to about 17, 000 political office holders across the country. This is in addition to the massive looting of public resources by the top government functionaries. The federal government is not only the culprit; this is the pattern in all local and state governments across the federation. Corrupt big businesses get bailout from government whereas Nigerian students and their parents are forced to pay astronomically hiked fees, a policy that has forced many working class and poor children out of school. It is outrageous for a few wasteful and corrupt bankers to be given a hand-out of N620 billion in 2009 when in actual fact millions of Nigerian children and youths got a paltry N224 billion as budgetary allocation in 2009.

Workers, youths and students should call on government at all levels to immediately commit adequate public resources to funding public education. There should be also public spending on other key sectors like power, road/transportation, communication, health, agriculture etc. However, in order to ensure that public allocations are judiciously spent and managed as against the usual corruption and wastages, there should be open democratic control of workers and other interest groups in these sectors. For instance, in education sector, the elected representatives of workers and students should be on the decision making bodies in the schools, commissions like National Universities Commission (NUC) and ministry of education.

Also importantly, it should be noted that in order to generate adequate resources that could guarantee massive investment on such key sectors on a lasting basis, the commanding heights (big industries) of the Nigeria economy have to be nationalized and placed under democratic management and control of the working people themselves.

DSM strongly calls on the generality of Nigerian students to join in the struggle to rebuild the students’ movement as a means to rescue the moribund National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) from the hands of the ruling elite and their student agents and use it as a platform to protect the interests of Nigeria students and youths. Nigerian students across the federation should also join the ERC in its consistent struggle to defeat hike in fees and education underfunding.

However, this struggle has to be linked with overall struggle against the anti-poor capitalist neo-liberal economic agenda of the governments at all levels which accounts for the underfunding of education and cuts in social spending on health care and infrastructure in the form of deregulation, commercialization, privatization and concessioning. It has to be defeated before workers, students, youths and poor masses could benefit from the collective wealth of the country. This necessitates the need for political power. This is one of the reasons, we have been consistently calling on the Nigeria labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigerian workers to build a formidable working people political platform with a socialist programme that could guarantee basic needs, social infrastructure and economic development for the benefit of all. We hold that the Labour Party could serve as such platform if well-repositioned and built by trade unions and pro-masses organizations on the basis of a genuine working people program and method.


  • For government at all levels and school managements to reverse hiked fees as a step towards eradicating fees; for free and quality education for all.
  • Massive investment in education and other key sectors of the economy to eradicate illiteracy and build the economy.
  • Education workers and colleagues in other sectors to be paid minimum wage of N52, 200 and to be increased in line with the rate of inflation.
  • Immediate reinstatement of all victimized student activists and leaders across the federation.
  • No to attacks on democratic rights of students to form a union. Reinstate all banned unions!
  • Democratic control and management of higher institutions by elected representatives of workers, students and parents.
  • Scrapping of all jumbo allowances for political office holders and to be paid the average wage of a skilled worker.
  • Nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy and placed under workers democratic control and management of the working people.