Nigerian elections: PDP goons booted out

After 16 years of gross misrule and shameless corruption, on 28 March the Nigerian people finally kicked out the useless People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a cabal of thugs, murderers and thieves, following the 2015 Presidential, National Assembly, Governor and State House of Assembly elections. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the world’s 13th largest crude oil exporter, yet inequality, unemployment and poverty are widespread and growing. Despite consistently high oil prices and economic growth at 6.5% of gross domestic product from 2008-2013, Nigeria’s oil income has been declining sharply due to blatant looting, putting pressure on state finances, foreign exchange reserves and the currency (naira). Despite manipulation and violence against polling units, officials and voters, as well as ballot-snatching and next day re-polling, the Nigerian people queued for hours determined to get rid of the PDP. It was a historic result being the first time the opposition had defeated the incumbent, who immediately conceded, avoiding a bloodbath.

 

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Nigerian Elections - Time to demand a fairer society

Nigeria’s presidential and general elections are scheduled for 14 February. The People’s Democratic Party has been in power since 1999. The dramatic drop in oil prices on the world market, and the escalating insurgency of Boko Haram mean these elections may be the first real opportunity for an opposition party to win. The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the main opposition party. However, many people from the northern states most affected by the insurgency will not be able to vote due to displacement. The Independent National Electoral Commission is considering excluding Boko Haram-controlled communities in northern Nigeria from receiving permanent voter cards. This will negatively impact on the APC, which has strong support in the north.

 

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Nigeria erupts in protest

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 225 February/March 2012

After years of pressure from the IMF, on 1 January 2012 the Nigerian government  removed a fuel subsidy paid to oil importers, causing fuel prices to rise by 117% overnight, from 65 to 141 naira per litre of petrol. The cost of food and transport nearly doubled. In response thousands of Nigerians took to the streets on 2 January, under the banner of Occupy Nigeria; by day four their numbers had swelled to 100,000. Nigerian trades unions called an indefinite strike starting 9 January. On 16 January the strike was called off after the government decided to keep the subsidy but at a reduced rate, which will still raise the price of petrol by 49%. CHARLES CHINWEIZU reports.

The mass protests are about far more than the subsidy. Protesters want an end to the monumental corruption in the oil sector, and the resignations of President Goodluck Jonathan, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank Managing Director, and Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke, a former executive director of Royal Dutch Shell.

 

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Shell in Nigeria – a living hell

FRFI 216 August/September 2010

Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell has operated in Nigeria since 1956 and has the largest foreign interest in Nigerian oil. The oil, drilled on land, in swamps and out at sea, is serviced by a network of mostly 40-year-old pipes that criss-cross the land and have made the lives of the people in the Niger Delta, where the industry is concentrated, a living hell. In the last 50 years an estimated 1.5m tonnes of oil have been spilled, the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez disaster every year. There are currently 2,000 official major spill sites, plus thousands of smaller ones waiting to be cleared up. In 2009, Shell admitted spilling 14,000 tonnes of oil, but blamed the victims, saying 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants. Local communities and environmental groups blame the rusting pipelines and storage tanks, semi-derelict pumping stations and old wellheads.

 

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Nigeria: Imperialist thirst for oil devastates a nation

Decades of anger and frustration in Nigeria have exploded into war between the people, and their government and the oil multinationals, ChevronTexaco, TotalFinaElf, Agip and Royal Dutch Shell, who have grown fat on the exploitation of Nigeria’s resources. Charles Chinweizu reports.

British multinational Shell is the major foreign operator, through a joint venture with Nigeria’s state oil company, NNPC, controlling about 50% of Nigeria’s oil. 95% of this is extracted from the southern Niger Delta region, where the war is concentrated. The fightback has reached a more militant and organised phase. Resistance groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Martyr’s Brigade, have emerged, calling for an end to ‘the criminal exploitation of the Niger Delta protected territory, in collaboration with imperialist Great Britain and the dubious occupation Nigerian state’.

 

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Nigeria: imperialist plunder impeded

Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter, shipping 42% of its oil to the US and 19% to the EU in 2006, and overtaking Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to become the third largest oil exporter to the US. However, exports from Nigeria have been cut by up to 40% since 2003 through the actions of armed groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which are demanding greater benefits from and local control of the wealth generated by oil production, and insisting that foreign oil companies leave the country. Over this period, thousands of foreign oil workers have fled, and more than 150 have been taken hostage in the last eight months alone.

Although the origins of MEND lie in the local corrupt Niger Delta elites, there are signs that the organisation has been moving in a more progressive direction, breaking its links with corrupt politicians it has previously defended. In July 2007, MEND was quoted as saying that ‘companies are moving away from the Niger-Delta region...The same companies...have been there for nearly 50 years and what have we got from their presence? Pollution and menial jobs for the people of the Delta. They will not be missed. As long as there is oil, I assure you, they will return at our terms... The temporary exit of these dubious oil companies is a very small price to pay for freedom.’ The southern Niger Delta region is where all of Nigeria’s oil is extracted, generating 95% of government revenues.

 

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