Support the Creation of A Biafran Republic in the South East!
Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (Nigerian Section of the RCIT), 25 08.2020, http://www.revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com/
1. The Department of State Services has on Sunday, 23rd August, killed 21 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Emene, Enugu State during a meeting of the group. Reports have it that after initial attempts to arrest certain members of the group proved abortive due to resistance from members, more state reinforcements came in and opened fire in a frenzy. IPOB which was founded by Nnamdi Kanu is one of the major groups that calls for the formation of a Biafran Republic in the South Eastern part of Nigeria in the model that was set by the then Military governor of the South Eastern region who led the Igbo majority of the region, organized in the Biafran army, against the Nigerian army in the civil war of 1967-70.
2. IPOB since its inception in 2012 has been under constant persecution alongside other pro-Biafran nationalist groups like the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), by the Nigerian state with more than 150 of its members killed in peaceful protests and demonstrations. In 2017 the group was declared a terrorist organization by the Nigerian Armed Forces and its leader Nnamdi Kanu, now lives in exile as he is wanted by the Nigerian authorities for bogus crimes of treasonable felony etc. Despite all of these, the wanton killing is no doubt a panic attack by a fidgety Nigerian government that is rather shaken by the recent and on going events in Mali. The overthrow of Ibrahim Keita of Mali might have also given the national movement the incentive to begin organizing.
3. We have stated the significance of the popular uprising in Mali for the liberation struggle in Africa; “Thus, the struggle in Mali is part of the fright shaking the heart of the capitalist order….We reaffirm the global significance of the insurrection in Mali and its importance in the African liberation struggle,”. Hence we see this as another crucial occurrence which may lead to other important developments in the region and across Sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Many liberals who have strong sympathies for the Igbo national movement have referred, as a sign of oppression, mostly to the fact that since the end of the civil war in 1970 no Igbo from the 5 states which chiefly represent this nationality have become president/head of state. While this can not be disconnected from the oppression of the South Eastern people as no one can deny the gerry mandering which makes the North the largest region and since it does not indicate that only members of this ethnic group are oppressed in a similar manner, the oppression is basically economic than mere marginalization from political office. So we see similar national movements/sentiments rising in the Western part of the country which seek to break away from the Nigerian conclave. A striking example of this strong nationalist sentiment in Western Nigeria is the popular support for the South Western Security Network (Amotekun).
5. We support the right of oppressed nationalities and ethnic groups to self determination as a Marxist principle on the national question. Hence we stand in solidarity with IPOB, MASSOB and the whole Igbo nationalist movement and all ethnic groups that wants to be part of a Biafran republic, even though we are well aware that the leaderships of these movements comprise mainly of bourgeois and petty bourgeois elements with sometimes backward, extreme or anarchistic persuasions. That is why we offer no political support to the leaderships of these movements, we advocate for the combination of the nationalist campaign with the democratic running of such movements where discussions will be done collectively and decisions executed unanimously. For us a socialist revolution would be impossible or incomplete in Nigeria without a robust national program that blocks the route for capitalist exploitation through tribalism and ethnic inequalities. In the same vein, it is possible that a nationalist movement provides the necessary thrust that when harnessed and expanded properly can lead to a socialist revolution.
6. We distance ourselves from those liberals, left forces, and centrists who denigrate or berate the national movements, some of these groups and individuals go as far as denouncing these movements as idiocies and identity politics. Others reduce their contribution to the question to condemnations of the barbaric acts of the government in suppressing the peaceful demonstrations and mix with socialist phrases the infringement of the right of the demonstrators. What these leftists can not see or choose to ignore is that such movements originate from concrete conditions of economic inequality and exploitation of the masses which makes their call for political and economic self-determination legitimate. Further, when these leftists fail to take the side of movements of oppressed nations either actively or passively, they, on the one hand, reverse instead of advance the cause of democracy and, on the other, they strengthen the Nigerian state to not only oppress those ethnic groups but the whole population.
7. We condemn the recent killings of the IPOB members. The DSS has alleged that two of its operatives were killed in the clash and has plans to begin a man hunt for those responsible. For us this is only an excuse for an unending clamp down against agitators of the nationalist movement until they are driven underground. This will inevitably lead to broader attacks on democratic rights and dissenting voices. All sincere progressives, genuine revolutionaries and activists must defend the legitimate and democratic right of the Igbo people to secession and the creation of their own republic. When the strength is appropriate these bodies must constitute arm self defense committees to ward off police and state aggression. We warn against any leaning of these movements towards imperialist influences, hence ‘pressures’ or ‘recognition’ from the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies must be taken with a grain of sand.
8. The national liberation struggle of the Igbo people must be united with struggle of national liberation in Hong-Kong; the Rakine states in Myanmar; Indian occupied Kashmir; East Turkestan and all over world. Finally no national liberation struggle can truly be successful without an intransigent war on capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination. Thus this movement of the Igbo people for national liberation must be combined with the fight against the moribund Nigerian ruling class and its imperialist puppeteers in the East and West.