The leading Pan-Nigerian coalition of radical civil society organisations, the United Action for Democracy (UAD), held its 10th National Convention on December 3, at the Textile Labour House, Lagos. The theme of the Convention was Rebuilding Popular Resistance in an Era of “Change”. After robust discussions on the theme and the organisational challenges confronting UAD, a new leadership was elected with Gabriel Ojumah as National Convener.
UAD was formed on May 17, 1997 as a united front of social movements to resist military rule. It played a key role in reinvigorating the pro-democracy movement which had been almost smothered by General Abacha with the characteristic brutal repressiveness of his regime.
Subsequent to the reinstatement of civil rule in 1999, while other groups that rose to also fight for democratisation such as the Joint Action Council of Nigeria (JACON) withered away, UAD continued to lift the banner in struggle fir the deepening of democracy.
A major contradiction between its politics and programme was the commitment to a pursuit of liberal democracy in the UAD constitution since 2005. This was noted in 2014 by the National Coordinating Committee which resolved on an amendment of this clause to read one of commitment to working people’s democracy. This resolution was endorsed by the 10th National Convention.
Lead speakers at the symposium discussion of the theme, which was part of the Convention activities included two former National Conveners: Abiodun Aremu (Secretary, Joint Action Front, JAF) and Taiwo Otitolaiye (Coordinator, CODWA). Other speakers were: Gbenga Komolafe (General Secretary, Federation of Informal Workers’ Organisations of Nigeria, FIWON) and Kunle Ajayi (Convener, Youth Against Austerity, YAA). They were all of the view that there is the need for radical civil society to fight for system change with reinvigorated mobilisation.
Along with Gabriel Ojumah, other National Administrative Committee members elected by the Convention-in-session were: Fatima Mohammed (Deputy National Convener), Kunle Ajayi (General Secretary), Clifford Christopher Solomon (Treasurer) and Peter Adejobi (National Publicity Secretary).