Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



Prepare for a Fightback

By Dammy Owot, Coordinator, ERC Ondo State Chapter)

Comment made by the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State that tuition fees being paid by students in the state-owned tertiary institutions is not enough to buy a pair of shoes has led to outrage on social media. This comment made this month at the inauguration of governing boards of the public tertiary institutions reinforces a similar call for review of tuition fee by the Governor in December 2017 at the convocation of the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko (AAUA).

Now it is very clear that fees are going to be increased in AAUA but also potentially in other public institutions in the state. Students and education workers must begin to prepare for mass resistance.

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Ondo State chapter rejects the Ondo state government plan to increase fees. We regard this plan as inhumane, wicked and anti-poor. We assert that only the adequate funding of public education by the government and its democratic management can guarantee quality and functional education.

We charge students of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko and students in other state-owned tertiary institutions to be ready to resist this plan. We call for congresses of students unions and NANS JCC in the state as well as mass meetings involving students’ organizations to begin to discuss how to build an effective campaign involving petitioning, media campaign, lecture boycott, mass protests and demonstrations. We call on staff unions in the public tertiary institutions as well as the labour movement in the state to publicly condemn the plan to hike fees and also be prepared to back any democratic actions students might take to resist the plan.

Governor Akeredolu’s derisive comment that average public school tuition fee of N35, 000 is not enough to buy a good shoe shows how disconnected and out of touch he and his over-fed and corrupt kitchen cabinet members are. The comment is equally an insult to hardworking civil servants, artisans, traders and farmers in the state who work their hands stiff daily in order to pay tuition fees for their children. While N35, 000 maybe chicken change to Governor Akeredolu, it is a big amount for many workers and poor in a state whose monthly minimum wage is a paltry N18, 000. There are many poor people who have lost loved ones because they could not afford the cost of anti-malaria drugs.

But the capitalist ruling class live in a world different from that of the poor. Being that they have successfully cornered over 80% of our common wealth leaving just 20% for us to share, they are insulated from the economic hardship and privations which their exploitative capitalist system has created. For instance, political officer holders earn far beyond average people. Many capitalist politicians in Nigeria are careerists who have not done a minimum wage job or a clean business all their lives. Instead like leeches, they permanently live off the state by adapting themselves to any government in power. Our wealth, the wealth of Nigeria, is what they steal to finance their luxurious lifestyle.

This is why while struggling against their anti-poor policies like fee hike, we also need to build a movement to challenge their corrupt system with the ultimate aim of throwing them out of power and putting in their place a workers and poor people’s government armed with socialist policies.