Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN organised a Youth Strategic Leadership Retreat for leaders of its National Youth Committe on the 24th – 25th July 2018, at the Medical and Health Lodge Annexe, Life Camp, Abuja.
The theme of the retreat was MHWUN Youths in the 21st Century: The Way Forward Socialist Workers and Youths League participated actively at the programme, in solidarity. Comrade Alex Ogbu, a leading member of the SWL Abuja Area Council, and National Administrative Secretary of the National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) presented a paper titled; “Nigerian Youths in Trade Unionism: Prospect and Challenges. Other presenters from sister unions, the MHWUN National Secretariat, NLC and American Center for Labour Solidarity spoke on; Youths in Trade Unionism Towards National Development, The History of MWHUN and Building Strategic Action Plan; Composition and Structure.
MHWUN made history in March 2012 when it became the first trade union in Nigeria to organize a national youth conference and democratically elect a national youth committee. This was an important step forward. Young workers have both a generational duty and responsibility to the working-class they are a part of to fight for a better future.
To be able to adequately do this, there is a critical need for them to be theoretically clearheaded on how what the system is, and how to change it. Decades back, socialist ideas flourished in Nigeria. In the period shortly after Independence, those considered as “the Youth” in the labour movement were all socialists. These included the likes of Eskor Toyo, Mayirue Kolagbodi, Wahab Goodluck, Ibidapo Fatogun and numerous others.
Up to the late 1980s, socialist ideology was fashionable amongst young workers as well as with youth on the campuses. When the state capitalist empire of Russia masquerading as a socialist East bloc collapsed, the bosses went on an ideological rampage, announcing the global triumph of capitalism as neoliberalism, and the “end of history” which to them meant the death of socialism as theory or a movement.
But what is becoming clearer to an ever-increasing number of working-class youth all over the world is that capitalism does not work, at least for the vast majority of the human population and the earth. It is a crisis-ridden system that only brings ruin to the masses and is threatening the earth with destruction on the altar of the profit which a few bosses squeeze out of our very life essence.
Alex Ogbu thus highlighted the need for MHWUN youth to give political education top priority. SWL has been collaborating with the MHWUN National Secretariat in organizing political education sessions and some of the participants at the retreat joined the League and bought copies of Socialist Worker.
The retreat ended with a review of the MHWUN National Youth Policy by the participants, paper presenters and the moderator. This lap of the program manifested the leadership qualities imbued in the members of the National Youth Committee of MHWUN.
by Alex OGBU