Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OYO: Over 2,000 March For Adequately Public Funded Education And Against Anti-poor Policies

OYO: Over 2,000 March For Adequately Public Funded Education And Against Anti-poor Policies

By Iseru Ebike

The Oyo State chapter of the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) jointly staged a protest march on October 1, Independence Day, against the government’s neo-liberal policies of full deregulation of oil sector, privatization of public-owned companies like the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), commercialization of education, devaluation among others. The continuous implementation of these policies has condemned millions of Nigerians working masses into a ridiculous and unthinkable state of misery and penury.

A few days prior to the march protest, the DSM had moved around the University of Ibadan (UI) campus to massively post posters and circulate leaflets produced by the ERC on the planned fees increase as recommended by Stephen Oronsanye Committee and how to fight the anti-poor agenda. The comrades also used the occasion to mobilize mass of students for October 1 action as a step towards fighting the attack on public education and joining the JAF in the struggle against fuel hike and other anti-poor policies. The mass turnout of the students on October was a product of this effort.

The protest march which kicked-off around 8am witnessed a massive participation of about 2000 people including workers, students, artisans many of whom were organized. Unions like Academic Staff union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of University (SSANU), Non-academic Staff Union (NASU), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), UI’s Students’ Union among others. There was equally a huge presence of the police.

After converging at the front of the UI main gate, the demo split into two – one led by JAF and the other by the ERC to march into the surrounding communities. The JAF detachment led by Dr. Demola Aremu, the State Coordinator of JAF, marched towards Samonda, Sango, Elewure, Bodija Housing Estate and at favour junction, re-united again with the student detachment led by the ERC which had marched towards Bodija Market and Bodija Oju-Irin.

Notable among those who addressed the gathering were: Dr Demola Aremu, Dr Segun Ajiboye, the Chairman, ASUU-UI chapter, Bashiru Olanrewaju, the Chairman, Oyo State Chapter of NLC, Rashida Adeshina, the JAF National Assistant Secretary who joined the protest from Lagos; Femi Aborishade, a socialist activist, and Comrade Ola Jimoh, who doubles as the Co-ordinator ERC and Secretary of DSM UI branch.

During the course of the demo, various placards were displayed which carried various inscriptions like: “Nigeria at 52 still crawling like a toddler”, “Stop unemployment and poverty now”, “No to privatization of PHCN and casualisation now”, “Education must be free, Nigerian Students say no to Oransanye Report”, etc were visibly carried by over hundred protesters. Several thousands of leaflets from different organizations like JAF, DSM and the ERC were circulated.

The DSM also used the occasion to call on workers and youths to join the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and help build it as it as a fighting and true revolutionary party for workers and poor towards the conquest of political power. About 20 members of DSM, including two sympathizers from Ladoke Akintola University Technology, (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho participated, in the protest. 50 copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold. At the end of the protest 6 people expressed an interest in joining the DSM.