MAY DAY OR MAYDAY!!!!!!!! 2023

Chimazuru Nnadi-Oforgu

“May Day” means International Workers’ Day which grew out of the 19th-century labour movement for worker’s rights and an eight-hour workday, while “Mayday” is a distress call that is used to signal a life-threatening emergency, usually on a ship or a plane.

The history of the Nigerian working class has been that of continuous struggle between workers and the owners of capital who collude with political actors to form a formidable neoliberal force that keep workers out of the proceeds of the surplus value that they generate. When politicians work with owners of capital to conquer the political space, they write our destiny. Nigerian workers and pensioners have slept enough. Now, they must use their numbers and organizing skills to re-construct and control the political narratives of our country for good.

More reasons have presented themselves recently on why this May Day should not be a traditional May Day celebration by the Nigerian working people. In fact, there is nothing to celebrate. The eight-hour workday won in the 19th century that Labour Day is supposed to celebrate, is no longer available for most Nigerian workers who are very overworked and very underpaid. That’s for those who even have jobs at all. As at 2021, 43.3% or 33.2 million people of the about 80 million people who should be working in Nigeria are out of work.

May Day should be a day to fight for better working conditions, not to celebrate a victory that practically does not yet exist in our country. It should not be a day for union leaders to wear ‘to-match’ garments and march before governors and a president overseeing the shamefully poor working conditions of workers, and the suffering of the working people generally.

The crises of poverty and insecurity are biting harder, and not just on the working poor. Even the lower middle class who could once afford domestic flights now have to pay double flight costs because of the increase in the price of jet fuel or face the peril of Nigerian roads (and recently, railways).

No one is safe anymore! No matter your class or status! May Day has to become a movement, a revolution and not a celebration. This ship called Nigeria is capsizing and May Day is the day to yell out ‘Mayday!!!! Mayday!!! !’ It is the day to express our distress, suffering, pain, anguish, and torment by those ruling this country!

May Day 2023 should be a day to protest the worst elections in the entire history of Nigeria and indeed Africa, an election whereby all departments, agencies and the security forces saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a credible election, conspired and colluded with the APC ruling party to rig and steal our votes in Broad daylight and are attempting if unchecked and not protested, to foist a tainted impostor on us against our will.

There is nothing to celebrate and there is no money to celebrate with. There is no food. Just hunger and prayer! Nigerians were already fasting even before the month of Ramadan.

Already, the DSS had issued a statement to warn the labour leadership to desist from planning or organising protests because that would destabilise the country. Country wey don destabilise already! The same Department of State Services (DSS) that could not prevent any of the terrorist attacks or address the insecurity situation is always more worried about protests happening because protests give the working people their power back and take the power away from the hands of the capitalist state.

International standards do not require that labour takes permission from the secret police before undertaking any effective public direct action. It is no wonder that the secret police (who already have all the information they need) feel like the NLC is under their order! Why won’t they? When they are still being done the honour of being given formal notices, why won’t they ask you to write a permission letter?

Our house is burning down. Nigeria’s organised labour needs to wake up now!

Most Nigerians, irrespective of rank, sex, sect or age, are living witnesses to the indescribable hardship that has besieged us in recent months resulting in the sharp drop in the quality of our lives. The continued de-industrialization of our economy, the wide deficits in physical infrastructure and embrace of neo-liberal policies by successive governments have continued to impoverish and enslave our people.

I salute the courage, resilience and patriotism of Nigerian workers, pensioners and their families who have continued to endure the profligacy and profanity of a criminal unrepentant ruling class.

Nigerians workers and we the people thereby collectively sound the distress call to the world. Mayday!!!!!! Mayday!!!!!!!

Thank you

Duruebube Ihiagwa
Chimazuru “Oblong” Nnadi -Oforgu


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