The work of our Democratic Socialist Movement has taken place against the background of significant changes in political consciousness produced by a rapid class polarisation.
cwi international conference.
Reports from South Africa and Nigeria presented to the 2004 meeting of the International Executive Committee (IEC) of the cwi, held in Belgium 14 – 20 November.
General strikes and the work of the cwi in Africa
This flows from the emergence of an ostentatiously wealthy black middle class amidst the deepening poverty of the black working class and with the emergence of increasingly visible white working class poverty.
The recent election produced a 70% landslide for the ANC but the size of the victory concealed the subterranean processes of social division and class polarisation. The election victory and celebrations were marred for the winners by an out-break of student protests that have been sustained across the country throughout the year against increased tuition fees and exclusions from education.
This year also saw the biggest public sector strike in SA history. It gave expression to the volcanic fury building up within the working class and the alienation from the ANC. There was not a single ANC slogan or banner in any of the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands across the country. This year also witnessed the killing of a 17-year old student during a protest led by youth against the poor level of basic services in six townships in the Free State Province. The protests were described by one newspaper as ‘uprisings’ with municipal offices and government equipment being burned. A number of these township municipalities have since been taken into administration by the provincial government.
At present the country is gripped by the most sensational corruption trial since the ANC came to power. Schabir Shaik, the "financial adviser" of the deputy president, Jacob Zuma, is facing charges of corruption, fraud and bribery in connection with a multi-million rand arms deal. It apparently involved financing the deputy president’s lavish lifestyle in exchange for the promotion of Shaik’s company in tendering for the lucrative deal.
The most serious charge is that of arranging a bribe for the deputy president of R500 000 year on behalf of a French arms company to protect it from the investigation into the arms deal. The deputy president himself was famously saved from prosecution by a decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions not to charge him in spite of the fact that there was "prima facie" evidence of corruption, as he put it in announcing the decision to prosecute.
As an opposition politician put it, quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Zuma, is like the ghost at his own feast – he is mentioned on every second page of the indictment but not in the dock himself. It is potentially the issue that will create such deep divisions that the ANC will not emerge from this spectacle as the cohesive, apparently all-powerful juggernaut that swept all before it in the elections. At issue is the succession to the presidency as Mbeki is in his second term and constitutionally barred from a third term. Despite his public denials, the question is out in the open. Mbeki’s supporters are cagily laying the groundwork by suggesting that he should continue as ANC president (as opposed to the country’s president) for a third term.
The next period will be a favourable one for the growth of our forces.
2004 has been a year of consolidation for the section. The National Coordinating Committee decided at the beginning of the year to shift the emphasis onto cadre building and the strengthening of the structures. We set ourselves targets of holding a national conference by the end of the year and to publish 4 editions of our paper this year.
We also resolved to have a drive for mass recruitment to the independent trade union we are building – the Commercial Services and Allied Workers’ Union (Cosawu) and build the trade union work in Johannesburg and Gauteng. We also resolved to strengthen the apparatus od the section.
We resolved to increase the number of branches of the Socialist Student Movement (SSM) in different tertiary education institutions throughout the country.
2004 has been a year of much activity and, despite difficulties, a year of progress. We have raised our profile through public activity in the student field, including our first independently organised demonstrations in Kwa Zulu Natal. We also played an important role in Tshwane (formerly Pretoria) during the public sector dispute.
Membership and branches
We have a number of branches in three provinces now and each has a wide periphery of excellent contacts.
We have had two important interventions this year. One involved a mass meeting of over 100 students at the University of the Witwatersrand during the April protests after which we stood two candidates in the SRC elections. We obtained a decent vote but not enough to gain a seat. The other was a campus demonstration of about 150 at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal followed by a public demonstration for free education in Durban of approximately 500.
We have also organised a well publicised political social event through the Wits SSM.
At a trade union level we have intervened in the public sector dispute which has raised the profile. One comrade is on the regional executive of a public sector union playing an important role in forcing the national leadership in calling the membership out on strike. We were invited by the teachers’ union to address its branch executive to discuss the distribution of the paper, a political education programme and a manifesto for the election of accountable leaders.
Socialist student movement
The free education march on 9th September is undoubtedly the crowning achievement of the year. In spite of some problems, it was nevertheless an event that has gained the organisation national recognition.
The march has had important spin-offs. It led to two successive radio interviews on a popular radio station.Another spin-off has been the establishment of a wider free education campaign – the Free Education Coalition in Action – with a number of left activist organisations.
This year, in spite of slow growth, the union has consolidated its position in the new areas opened up -in the docks and the farms in the southern part of the Western Cape and amongst shop workers in the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape work in particular has shown, with the recruitment of 35 workers to the party, the potential value of this work.
In the Western Cape we are preparing to establish a branch in an African township through a community organisation that applied to join the DSM and the CWI en bloc. The successes of the past year have enthused the comrades and gained us the grudging respect of our competitors. We look forward to future progress with confidence.
This is an extended report prepared as background to a special session on Nigeria at the IEC. It was written just before the general strike which was planned to start on 16 November was called off. The subsequent DSM statement, "Strike suspension: a big blunder", can be read on the DSM’s website www.socialistnigeria.org
Intense situation over one year
The political situation in Nigeria has been very intense in the last one year. On the front burner is the increasing incidence of general strikes. The Obasanjo’s government has witnessed about 7 general strikes since its inception out of which four have taken place in the last 10 months over the same issue of the increase in the fuel price. These struggles have been led by the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)with the massive active support from all the sections of the working masses.
But with increasing challenges on the management and organisation of the struggles, the NLC has formed a joint platform – Labour-Civil Society Coalition (LASCO)- with other trade union centres, (Trade Union Congress, TUC, and Congress of Free Trade Union, CFTU) and civil society groups. The Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI) is an active group in LASCO. Segun Sango, the general secretary of DSM, is on the leadership of the coalition and one of its major spokespersons.
The incessant increase in fuel price and the attendant general strikes and protests have raised questions on the continuation of Obasanjo’s government in power. Each time there is an increase in the price, the demand is always for reversal or reduction. Whether an individual struggle achieves this demand or not, it has never prevented further increases, usually of a greater percentage then earlier ones.
We in the DSM have been arguing for the need to make bold demands for regime change and fundamental policy change. We put forward the alternative of a workers’ and peasants’ government that would allow Nigeria’s huge resources to begin to be used in the interests of the masses and not the local and international elites. In that respect, we have continued to agitate for an urgent need for a broad, democratic discussion that will give birth to a coherent policy and strategy, which can bring to power such a working peoples’ government, built on a democratic, scientific socialist foundation.
But the labour leadership and some other groups in the coalition, LASCO, are not willing to support such demands that would require a protracted struggle to permanently terminate the current Obasanjo capitalist government and its central anti-poor policies. With their pro-capitalist and/or petty bourgeois bias, they are not prepared to aim the struggle at the foundation of the regime. The labour leadership in particular does not have any fundamental disagreement with the government on its neo-liberal policies of deregulation, privatisation and commercialisation, but only complain that these policies are not given a "human face".
However, the unrelenting implementation of the neo-liberal policy of deregulation/increase in fuel prices and the resultant suffering and hardship, in the midst of abundance, for the rural and urban poor is making class consciousness become sharper. There is an increased readiness of the workers and other sections of the working people to fight back. The consciousness of the need to maintain its pedigree and popularity among the people forces the NLC President Adams Oshiomole labour leadership to always appear prepared to lead the masses in the fight.
While the labour leadership, on its part, is doing its best to preserve the Obasanjo government, the government is stopping at nothing to cripple the labour organisations and force them out of existence for leading the masses and workers in opposition against the government’s policy. This is why the government sent an anti-labour bill to the National Assembly shortly after the general strike in June this year. The bill is a lethal, legal pill designed to liquidate a vibrant labour movement and thus weaken opposition against the government.
The bill has been passed by the Senate, though it has not become law; there remains its passage by the House of Representatives and the assent of the President. The minimal campaigns put up by the like DSM and the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) forced the Senate to delete some of the most obnoxious provisions of the original bill like the discretionary power arrogated to a minister on the formation of federations of trade unions in the version it passed.
However, the bill as passed by the Senate still retains the provocative, undemocratic and anti-labour character of the original bill. For instance, it outlaws picketing and strikes on government policies like fuel price increases ostensibly because these are not direct labour-related issues like wages and welfare packages. It also makes it illegal for the workers in the so-called essential services to go on strike. This includes education, health, electricity, air traffic control and aviation, communications and water services. This barbaric and quasi-fascist provision was actually not in the original bill but was smuggled into it in the second bill – the Trade Union Disputes (Essential Services) bill sponsored by Senator Tafida, the leader of PDP in the Senate. It was, of course, at the behest of Obasanjo. In order to ensure strict compliance to the bill, as passed by the Senate, it prescribes six-month jail terms or ten thousand naira (N10, 000) fines, or both, for the violators.
It should be noted that these laws are designed by the ruling class to counter the obvious growth in working class struggles. For instance in this month of November, besides the indefinite general strike, slated to start on November 16, workers in about 7 trade unions in four different sectors – health, iron and steel, civil service and judiciary – were on strike or taking other action to demand improvements in their living and working conditions.
The missing link is the party of the working people that can aggregate the anger of the workers and the masses in order to contend for political power. The Labour Party formed by the labour leaders just before the 2003 elections is as dormant as an animal in hibernation. It exists only in name and just in the register of INEC (the electoral commission). Its leadership has no programme to popularise and build it even among workers. Although the Labour Party presently is a bad story, we have not missed any opportunity to agitate for the formation of a genuine working peoples’ party with socialist programmes.
National Conscience Party
We still work in the National Conscience Party (NCP). It has potential for attracting the change seeking elements and workers to its banner. Although it is not a socialist party, the challenge of how to implement or achieve its pro-people "Ten-care programme" could lead to significant sections of its supporters breaking out of its reformist boundary and agreeing with our programme.
We in the DSM have been stating it in our perspective on the NCP that it can only remain relevant if virile structures are built across the country and it becomes a party of struggles. That is, a party that initiates and participates in the daily struggles of people for social, democratic and economic rights. It should not just issue press statements or participate within amorphous forces, either in the name of civil society or the CNPP (Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, an alliance of anti-Obasanjo capitalist parties) or its equivalents. It should organise conscious and well-planned mobilisations of people for political action.
September’s resignation as chairman of the party of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a major pole of attraction of the people to the party, is a set-back. But with the objective reality of the socio-economic crisis in the country, the NCP still retains the potential to attract the change seeking elements and working people to its fold. This is also because of the inability of people to find succour in the other political parties, particularly the PDP (Obasanjo’s ruling party), ANPP (the main opposition party, based in the north) and AD (the second biggest opposition party, based in the west) and the likes and because of the appreciation of the pedigree of the NCP as a pro-people party.
But this is on the condition that new leadership of the Party evolves a comprehensive programme and strategy to improve on the strength, structure, fortune and prospects of the Party. This includes preparation to provide leadership to the workers and masses in their daily struggles against the anti-people policies. The leadership must put up activities to engage the members of the Party. However all the signs are there that this is unlikely to happen. Since the last general election in 2003 the attendance at the meetings has gone down. It is only in the Lagos State Chapter and other areas where we are in the leadership, or have influence, that meetings of the Party are still taking place. This means that the future of the NCP is now more in the balance. Sections of the new leadership want to involve the party in alliances with one or more of the capitalist formations.
If the new leadership of the Party does not deepen its activities among the masses as the next general election in 2007 inches nearer, the stage will be left open for the PDP. It appears that every other major pro-capitalist party is pitching its tent with one faction or the other in the PDP. The 2007 election may only witness a semblance of competition at the primaries of the PDP. Sanni Yerima, an ANPP governor of Zamfara, even stated categorically that if the PDP chooses its flag-bearer from the north, the ANPP would field no candidate against it.
However, this statement credited to Yerima raises two issues. The first is the non-preparedness of the ANPP, the second largest party that should be ordinarily the main opposition party. The second is the ethnic dimension of the election in the year 2007. The ruling class of Igbo extraction has been leading agitation for the presidency to be ceded to the Igbo in the year 2007. Even this agitation is restricted within the PDP, being the only platform on which the Igbo leaders believe that their aspiration can be best achieved.
Notwithstanding the drift of ANPP into the PDP, Muhammadu Buhari, the ANPP candidate in the last 2003 presidential election (and military ruler between 1983 and 1985), is contesting the validity of the elections more than one and a half years after Obasanjo’s second administration was inaugurated. However, he is on his own, as he does not enjoy the support of the party’s state governors, who are the major financiers and power-brokers in the party. Truly, the 2003 elections were massively rigged in favour of any of the major pro-capitalist parties, depending on where they could wield influence.
Another issue at the centre stage is the crisis in the Niger Delta area. It has taken the dimension of armed struggle, first with clashes among rival militia groups, principally between the Niger Delta Volunteer Force led by Asari Dokubo and Niger Delta Vigilance led by Tom Atake. Later there has been a threat by the Asari group to blow up the oil pipelines and installations of the multinational companies to protest the age-long neglect of the area. This threat, which took its toll on the increasing world oil price, forced Obasanjo to send a special delegation and presidential jet to ferry Dokubo to Abuja for a "peace" meeting. This invitation of Dokubo at the same period when Obasanjo refused to talk to labour leaders on the fuel price hike has raised, among certain layers of the working masses and youths, the false impression that all that is required to defeat the Obasanjo government’s anti-poor policies is "armed struggle".
The Niger Delta area is where the country gets nearly all of its 2.5 million barrels which it daily supplies to the international market. This translates into over 95% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and yet, the mass of the working people, youth and students of the Niger Delta are short changed.
Fishing and farming has largely been made impossible by the activities of the oil companies. Roads are in the worst of states. There is no record of additional new schools being built; existing ones have their structure in a total state of disrepair. The sick are left to the mercy of death. And so the list of horros goes on. This is what has left many youth to be easily attracted into the lucrative venture of bunkering (stealing of crude oil) in the Niger Delta. All the armed militia groups in the Niger Delta are involved in this at some level or the another.
We in the DSM fully support the right of the working masses and youths to organise a democratically controlled armed self-defence against unprovoked attacks by institutions of the capitalist state together with its neo-fascist gangs such as secret cults etc. We stand totally opposed to the imposition of imperialist/capitalist policies on the working people through repression by the capitalist class. We consequently hold the view that the working masses have the inalienable right, in the course of its struggle against capitalist imposed misery and repression, to defend its rights with arms whenever the conduct of the capitalist state makes this an imperative. However, we are always quick to add that this concept of mass armed struggle is radically different from that which is waged by elements that may mean well but are totally unaccountable, in their daily operations, to the labouring masses and youths.
For almost four years now oil, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, has witnessed stable and increasing high prices. In fact, sometimes in October this year it was as high as $53 per barrel. Moreover, it has always been much higher than the benchmark set in the government’s budgets. For instance, this year the budget was geared to $25 per barrel, but the price of crude oil in the world market has not gone down below $33. This shows that Nigeria has been enjoying a windfall. As of last September, the excess crude oil gain for this year (2004) alone was $4.7 billion while the foreign reserves of the country were over $13 billion.
Unfortunately this fabulous increase in the fortune of the country has not translated to corresponding improvement in the living conditions of the Nigerian masses. The masses have only been experiencing misery in the midst of plenty. Economic hardship, poverty, hunger, unemployment and squalor remain the lot of people.
But the windfall has only provided more funds for looting by the government at all levels. Early in September the government agreed to share among its own layers a part of the excess crude fund, which was N318.5 billion. This was in addition to the budgetary allocation, even without approval by the National Assembly. While the masses are suffering in the midst of plenty, these looters in power and their associates are smiling all the way to their banks, including foreign accounts.
This is confirmed by a recent report released by the World Bank which said that 80% of Nigeria’s oil and natural gas revenues accrue to just 1% of the country’s population. This leaves the other 99% of the population to battle for the remaining 20% with a majority not having accesses to anything whatsoever. In a country where, according to the United Nations Human Development Report, over 80% of the population live on less than $1(N135) a day (N49,275 a year), Obasanjo’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, officially earns $247,000 a year (equivalent to N 33 million).
Worse still, it is not only that Nigerian masses are deprived of enjoying the fortune of the oil windfall; they are also made to pay through their nose for the extortionate price of petroleum products domestically. The government has been using deregulation of the petroleum industry, the crippling of the country’s refineries and the importation of refined oil products, as justification for the increase. The government shamelessly told the populace that it had spent almost $700 million on the turn-around maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it. Yet, nobody has been arraigned in the courts in spite of the much-touted anti- corruption crusade of the regime. Rather, it has planned to put the refineries up for sale in line with its privatisation policy. Obasanjo and others in the government have remained unrepentant agents of the local capitalist vampires and the imperialists.
The continuous increase in the price of fuel has taken its toll on the manufacturing sector of the economy. With the epileptic supply of power and subsequent over-reliance on generating plant, according to the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, MAN, the increasing cost of production and maintenance has become unbearable. This has forced many factories to close shop with attendant job losses.
As part of the imperialist onslaught on the masses and as an item in the anti-people, neo-liberal policies package, the Obasanjo government, through the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, has decreed an increase in the capital base of banks in Nigeria from N2 billion to N25 billion. This new capitalisation, which has its deadline put at the end of 2005, is, according to the government, to encourage mergers and acquisitions.
This merger and acquisition surely tolls the knell of small banks and engenders the emergence of oligopolies in the Nigerian banking industries and the possible return of the foreign international finance merchants to Nigeria. Expectedly, many workers will lose their jobs. Already a study has revealed that at least 32,000 jobs will be lost as a result of this new banking policy.
Worse still, the bosses of the banks that would be affected by the policy have called on the Central Bank to take up the responsibility of paying off the workers that would be laid off on the basis of the policy, as they cannot afford the huge expenses. This implies that the affected workers will not only lose jobs but they may not also even get their terminal benefits.
The capitalisation policy has lent credence to the fact that within the confines of capitalism, a system driven by the profit-motive of the few and not the need of people and society, no micro- or macro- economic policy can ultimately solve the socio-economic crises of society and improve the lot of the working people and poor.
The work of the DSM
Workplaces and unions
Our work within the labour movement has been intense in the last one year. This is partly due to the intensified attack by the government and employers on the democratic rights and interests of the workers and the increasing political activities among the workers to resist the assault and to fight for improvement in the living and working conditions. We have intervened in the struggles of a number of workers’ unions.
For instance, we participated actively with campaign materials in the joint struggle of the workers of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, organised in six unions. They went on an active strike and protest for more than two months between June and August 2004 to demand payment of 19 months’ arrears and an improvement in their working conditions. We made a similar intervention in August in the struggle of the Nurses at the Yaba Psychiatric Hospital who were agitating on the same issues as the LUTH’s workers.
Since June when Obasanjo rushed to the National Assembly with an anti-labour bill – the trade union act amendment bill mentioned earlier – we have been actively involved in the campaign against the bill. We organised the first major public symposium in conjunction with a pro-labour organisation, the Kolagbodi Foundation, to enlighten and mobilise workers and labour activists on the bill. We intervened in the rallies organised by the NLC in Abuja and Lagos and gained recognition on the two occasions when we addressed the audience. We printed 5, 000 copies of Socialist Democracy on the bill and sold all of them.
Since its inception, we have been involved in these interventions on the platform of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) along with the DSM.. Through the CDWR we are organising a workers’/public enlightenment and mobilisation symposium with the two unions in the iron and steel industry, on the deplorable state of the sector.
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR)
The CDWR was launched in June, 2004 focussing on issues relating to workers’ and democratic rights. This meant vis-à-vis the unjust retrenchment of workers, the conditions of service of workers, the rights of everybody including workers to form and join political parties of their choice, the rights of workers, including the police, the military and their likes, to form and join unions; etc.
We have been campaigning to attract militant workers and individuals to join in a united front fashion, while also aiming at attracting more workers and individuals to the banner of socialism. We have established branches of the campaign in Ajegunle, a working people-dominated area of Lagos State and two of our student branches – Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and the University of Ibadan.
We intend to help set up CDWR branches in workplaces and in more schools and communities. The series of interventions has been rewarding, as we have made a number of recruits and contacts among workers. In order to consolidate on this we are planning to organise regular workers’ study groups in the factories, companies and workplaces in Lagos State to start with.
Most of our comrades are students. We have branches in most of the tertiary institutions in southwest Nigeria and members and contacts in universities and colleges outside the region. This makes student work one of the most important fields of our interventions and focus.
We have used the last year to deepen the understanding of student comrades and to build genuine cadres among them. We have had three socialist schools and different seminars and public programmes at student branches.
Our student wing, which comprises of representations of each student branch, has also met three times to review our work in the student movement and making a far-reaching resolution on how to improve on it. We are not in the leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), but have been involved in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), launched in May, to rally round students to struggle against privatisation and commercialisation and other forms of attack on education. We have produced and circulated 1,000 posters and 10,000 leaflets.
Some campus branches have held programmes to launch local ERC branches while some individuals outside our fold have also shown interest in joining the platform. This platform becomes more imperative in view of the current moribund nature of NANS and the need for a fighting organisation of students.
The next important struggle to be prosecuted on the platform of the ERC is the campaign against privatisation of student hostels by the government in continuation of the capitalist neo-liberal attacks on education. We intend to produce at least 50, 000 copies of leaflets and 5,000 posters for enlightenment and mobilisation of students and the public on the issue.
Moreover, to enhance our intervention in the daily struggle of students, the student wing of the DSM at its last meeting held in November, put forward two student comrades to contest for the offices of coordinator and secretary respectively of NANS in Zone D, the southwest axis of the student movement. The annual convention/elections of the association are coming up in late November. NANS Zone D is the most radical section of NANS; for three consecutive years, between 2000 and 2003, our student comrades were in the leadership of this Zone.
Due to the objective difficulties and pressure of society on women, it has been very difficult to recruit and consolidate women recruits. The secretariat is planning to facilitate meetings and discussion among the women comrades with a view to appointing new officers to coordinate this aspect of the work and encourage them to be more interested and involved in the organisation and its activities. Also, comrades at the national and branch level have been given the task of developing a conscious understanding of the need to recruit and consolidate women.
In the last year we recorded tremendous success in our Ajegunle branch in Lagos in terms of the development of comrades, the recruitment and consolidation of new members and the participation in the activities of the organisation. This has included massive paper sales and interventions in the daily struggles of the community and beyond. This has made the branch a model of our work in the communities. It inspires more interest in expanding and improving our work in the communities in and outside Lagos.
To that effect, the effort to establish active branches at Ejigbo and Ifako Ijaiye, both of which are communities in Lagos, is in top gear. We had a public meeting in Ejigbo on a review of the general strike of June 2004. This led to the commendable intervention of comrades and contacts in the community and environs during the subsequent 4-day warning general strike of October. On the first day of the last strike alone, N18, 000 worth of our paper, Socialist Democracy, were sold in the community.
Also in Lagos, the Agege branch has also done well with activities and interventions of the branch in the community. However, in some instances some of the interventions have been under the banner of the NCP where and when necessary. At the last general strike in October, nearly 100 copies of SD were sold by comrades in the Agege community.
Recruitment, Membership, Education and Integration
Since last November, we have been able to establish 4 new branches. We have also had an induction programme for those who have shown the intention to join us through e-mail. We are resolved to be constantly having such a programme. The last National Committee agreed on a target for new members to be recruited before the next congress.
To improve on the level of political education of comrades, we have held Socialist schools this year of a decentralised type on a state basis to encourage more participation. We have held several seminars and discussions in the branches and organised public meetings aimed at drawing the lessons of the previous general strikes.
We have published regular Membership Bulletins and Newsletters between last November and now.
Since the beginning of this year, we have published three editions of our paper. We have also produced 5 special editions on general strikes with numerous leaflet editions with which we intervened in different struggles. The paper sales have improved much better in the last year with a circulation of thousands per edition.
The death of Rotimi Ewebiyi, a major organiser of the section and a member of the International Executive Committee, on June 6, 2004, creates a big vacuum in the organisation. But the determination by the comrades to uphold the work of the ‘RE’ who contributed immensely to the building of the organisation and its rising profile, has made many comrades re-dedicate themselves to the party.
We have been able to come out of the loss stronger and more committed as an organisation. We have more full-timers and part-timers now. In addition, because the pressure of work has been so enormous, some National Executive Committee members have been constantly coming to the party centre to assist.
We launched the Rotimi Ewebiyi Endowment Fund (REEF), in July and individuals and groups have been making donations. We profoundly appreciate the gestures and efforts of comrades internationally who have been making donations and contributions of some form or another to assist our work.
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