Obituary: Rotimi Ewebiyi (1963-2004)

The Committee for a Workers’ International deeply regrets to announce the death, at the age of 41, of Rotimi Ewebiyi, a leader of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) in Nigeria and a member of the CWI’s International Executive Committee.

Rotimi died on June 6 after a brief struggle with cancer, tragically both his wife and youngest child died earlier this year.

Rotimi had been a socialist activist since his student days and was one of the earliest members of the CWI in Nigeria, joining in the 1980s. He played an important role both in many struggles and as an organiser of the socialist movement.

Rotimi started working full time as a political organiser for what would become the DSM in 1990. This was during the period of the Babangida military dictatorship that had, in 1989, detained without trial the editor of our Nigerian comrades’ newspaper, then called “Labour Militant”. Rotimi was a full time activist in the illegal struggle against both the Babangida and Abacha military dictatorships. Rotimi was the DSM’s national organiser when it was launched as a public organisation in 1998, a time when Abacha was still in power, and played a vital part in building what is now the second largest party in the CWI. Rotimi was widely admired and respected by all who worked with him for his combination of personal warmth, humanity and attention to detail.

Internationally Rotimi was well known as a member of the CWI IEC and was frequently a member of the Presidium at CWI Congresses and IEC meetings.

The CWI sends its deepest sympathy to Rotimi’s three surviving children and all members of the DSM. Rotimi lived and died as a socialist fighter, convinced that only the overthrowing of capitalism could offer a future to humanity in Nigeria, Africa and throughout the world. Our biggest tribute to him will be to redouble our efforts to realise that goal.

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June 2004