The 25 February elections initiated a reconfiguration of the country’s political terrain. The primary beneficiary of this dramatic development is the “obidient” Labour Party. Like both the APC and PDP, it also won in 12 states.
This has led some activists to argue that the African Action Congress (AAC), as the revolutionary alternative on the ballots, should have – and should now – join or support LP to better challenge those ruining Nigeria for the masses. They also reinforce their argument by pointing at the halving of votes AAC is supposed to have won, compared to its votes in 2019.
As revolutionaries, we need to put the election results and the period we are now entering, in context. AAC’s revolutionary politics played a critical role in bringing about the current political situation. It catalysed the EndSARS Rebellion.
The situation in 2023 is similar to that of 2015, although with significant differences. In 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) rode to power on the crest of the discontent fueled by the 2012 #OccupyNigeria protest movement. Some capitalist politicians like Nasir El-Rufai and Dino Melayi that would be in APC, which was formed a year later, joined us in the 2012 January Uprising, even though they were part of the class we were fighting against.
Several civil society activists that had been on the barricades in 2012 teamed up with members of the ruling class that formed the APC, campaigning assiduously for the party. These reformist activists claimed that Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) would make a difference as president.
Eight years later, we have all seen the huge failure of the capitalist social democratic “alternative” they sold us. If GMB had not won in 2015, people would still glorify him as a great leader who would have turned things around for the people, if only he had been elected, like many do today with Peter Obi.
The gusts of the 2020 #EndSARS Rebellion were the winds behind the sails of the “obidient” movement. Middle-class elements in the moderate wing of the Rebellion have played key roles in the movement’s campaign. The moderate wing of the Rebellion made up of middle-class elements, played key roles in inspiring millions of young people to believe Peter Obi could bring about a different approach to how our society could be run.
This, however, is not true. But that will not be clear to so many people at the moment. As we argued last year, the worst thing that could happen to Peter Obi would be for him to win the presidential election. He would have been a worse disappointment than Buhari.
He himself had already pointed out that his ideology was not different from that of Abubakar Atiku, who is as terrible as, if not worse than, the Tinubu whom we have now been saddled with as president. His neoliberal manifesto confirms this. Like the electoral programmes of both Atiku and Tinubu, he committed to anti-poor people policies such as an increase in fuel pump prices.
What is often forgotten when the EndSARS protests story is told is the central role of AAC and the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) in igniting the rebellion, both remotely and immediately.
The #RevolutionNow campaign which CORE kicked off and upheld consistently, alongside demonstrations against police brutality in several states, for fifteen months created enabling circumstances for the EndSARS massquake.
It was also the TIB/AAC/CORE which was the revolutionary wing of the EndSARS Rebellion that unrepentantly pushed for the 2020 EndSARS protests to become generalised and go beyond an episodic event, right from 4 October, when the shooting at Ughelli went viral.
On twitter, zoom, and physically, AAC cadres mobilised and held the fort, until the moderate wing of the movement, who would then become the media darlings, keyed into the movement.
The ruling class recognised the power and potential of AAC to ferment a mass revolutionary movement of the working people and youth. The state/government thus did everything it could to weaken and smash the party. A right-wing faction masqueraded as the party, even though it lacked any base in the party rank-and-file, and the government promoted it. It wasn’t until a few days before the closure of primaries and submission of names of party candidates to INEC, and just eight months before the elections that the real party regained its formal recognition.
They curtailed the movement of Omoyele Sowore, the party’s Chair and presidential candidate to undermine the party’s ability to adequately raise basic resources needed for campaign, while the capitalist politicians in APC, PDP, LP & NNPP gallivanted across the world raising funds and the support or recognition of imperialist powers and actors that do not wish the poor masses in Nigeria any good.
With a hand and a leg of the party thus tied whilst it was grudgingly allowed to join the electoral race, it was a given that the party’s chances had been stunted. But its revolutionary members remained and still remain undaunted as we march to the state assemblies and governorship polls.
Now more than ever, we must build the revolutionary alternative which AAC and the People’s Redemption Party, which it is in alliance with, represent. We must come out to support AAC candidates for the 18 March state-level elections, but with a view beyond winning elections.
Our aim must be to deepen our roots in the masses so that we can adequately lead the struggles they will have to wage against the incoming regime of increasing privatisation, fuel pump price hikes, and the worsening of the lives of working people.
by Baba AYE