The path of the African Action Congress to power was clear, right from the first mass meeting of party members held in Lagos on October 6, 2018. Its aim was not simply to replace one set of political marauders in Nigeria with another set. It was for a revolutionary change of the system.
Day in, day out, the struggle to put the revolutionary party; a clear shift from the norm, in the best shape and form was met with reactionary forces of both state-sponsored elements in the party, who were not comfortable with this position of the majority and outright state operatives, who hounded party loyalists.
The party’s reliance on the strength of the average genuine change-seeking worker, artisan, trader, and youth that joined the party in their thousands, has been its saving grace, in the face of the massive attacks the party faced
But for the disruption of the political space by the African Action Congress, the 2019 elections in Nigeria would have been so tasteless; one that lacks any revolutionary savor or an ideological alternative to the dominant ideas of the status quo.
It was clear at that time to Nigerians that the APC and PDP were bedmates. And they still are. The candidacy of Omoyele Sowore was a total shift from the norm and it forced a lot of debates on specific themes like Police reforms, minimum wage, inclusive economy, economic diversification, whose duty was it to fund education, health and other social services, restructuring and the most controversial- legalization of marijuana.
Despite a near-total media blackout on the AAC, we were able to feature in some TV debates, while we were unjustly denied platform by most. But it didn’t take time for our ideas to percolate to the grassroots and everywhere we turned to, in the north, and the south, the chants were ‘’Take it back’’ and ‘’100,000 minimum wage’’.
This goes to tell that Nigerians were getting set to welcome a revolutionary government with radical ideas that can transform their lives for good. The (s)election of 2019 was marred with a lot of irregularities, electoral malfeasance, and violence. With these, the Buhari regime forced itself back to power.
As against primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religion, and politics of favoritism, the African Action Congress (AAC) has continued to be relevant in the lives of the poor masses in the country.
The victories recorded from its struggles would demonstrate that the AAC was not just an electoral machine like other parties that would only be seen only every four-four years. The AAC demonstrated its capacity as a party of struggle through involvement in everyday issues of the masses since the last elections.
We have consistently joined workers at the barricades and helped communities to organize successful campaigns against crazy electricity billing. We have been key a key part of demonstrations against the incessant bloodletting in the north, and also for press freedom. And we were the only party with the youths at the trenches, during the EndSARS rebellion.
The Nigerian political space has always been filled with political parties that are just special purpose vehicles for elections, with no clear radical ideology for social change, making it possible for politicians to decamp from one party to the other.
But here we are today with a lot of existential threats to our being as working-class people and youths. If the map of the country was placed on the table, there is no part that one can outrightly say is free from the spate of bloodletting ravaging the country. From the unknown gunmen in the Southeast to kidnappers and ritualists in the Southwest, and to terrorists and bandits in the North, the lives of Nigerians are becoming cheaper by the day.
Just like we predicted in 2019, a total war has been declared on human rights by the Buhari regime. Specific cases include the ban of Twitter, the gruesome killing of EndSARS protesters right at the barricade; one of the most unfortunate events of recent history now dubbed as ‘’LekkiMassacre’’, freezing of accounts of protesters, jailing of rights activists; EndSARS protesters, journalists like Agba Jalingo were not spared, humanists like Bala Mubarak recently sentenced to 24 years in prison for expressing himself and his freedom from religion on social media, and opposition voices such as ours have suffered varying levels of the maddening tyranny that the regime represents.
The call for a protest tagged #RevolutionNow got many activists arrested, and brutalized including our Presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore who spent 5 months in the dungeon of the State Security Service, was rearrested, and subsequently put under “city arrest” which was only recently relaxed.
Here we are, racing to the 2023 elections and the conversation has not changed. The issues have gone from bad to worse. What however has changed is the resoluteness, the resolve of the Nigerian working class and youth, for an urgent radical transformation.
We can not wave away the fact that the ruling elite has so polarized the country that the calls for secession from many quarters are endearing to large numbers of people in these regions. The reality on the ground is that it has become difficult to unite the country when the threat of dividing the country is now the leverage that different sides of the ruling class hold over one another in their struggle to share the national cake among themselves.
But the AAC understands for a fact that the only way to unite the nations that were stitched together to form Nigeria, is to ensure economic, political and social justice to all the peoples.
On the economy, which is the foundation of any politics, the Buhari regime has destroyed everything. It now spends 97% of the country’s revenue to service debts- the worst in the history of any country. The regime is on a borrowing spree, even when it is clear that we have exceeded the threshold for safe borrowing.
They keep lying that we are safe with the GDP to Revenue ratio explanation. The rising inflation due to their neoliberal policies has caused a lot of discomfort for the working class and middle class. Basic things of life are now luxuries for working people in Nigeria. It will take a revolution to reverse this dire situation.
We intend to change the Nigerian reality, from an economy that is for the few rich to one where the enormous resources of the country are harnessed and distributed equitably; where workers have control over the wealth that they produce in an industrialized economy.
We will move the country from a political system that reeks of prebendalism that leads to a high cost of governance, to one that advocates for merit and takes the fight against corruption seriously.
Summarily, we stand for a system that takes Nigerian goats away from the Nigerian yam (kudos to Goodluck Jonathan for his 2015 goat and yam “theory”). We intend to provide political leadership to move from a social situation that is disjointed, laced with archaic and oppressive beliefs such as the subjugation of women, conscious miseducation, and feudalistic ethnoreligious bigotry, to a social arrangement that is based on equity, with radical Pan-African values.
We stand for the unity of the oppressed across the world, to forge a culture of respect for human rights devoid of tribal or religious sentiments, one that ensures equitable distribution, inclusive democracy, social justice, integrity, hard work, and merit.
This is the wind blowing the sails of our revolutionary position. And that is what AAC’s participation in the 2023 election represents.
by Femi ADEYEYE