Nigeria: For Popular Militias and A General Strike to End Terrorism!


Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV) Nigerian Section of the RCIT, 2 April, 2022,




The terrorist attacks in Kaduna now seem to occur on a daily basis.¹ This is a telling indication of the abysmal crisis that the Nigerian system is thrown into as Kaduna state is the seat of the major military facilities and installations of the Federal government. Any pedestrian military tactician can guess with pristine accuracy that seizing Kaduna state is a crucial step to crippling the defenses of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) which is tantamount to taking over the country.


As with other disturbing developments the ruling class is unmoved. It is not considering any change in policy neither is it making any serious efforts to pacify the masses. Transport fares have peaked with fuel prices in the last months adding to other factors which compound inflation in the price of necessaries like bread, water, egg and utilities. Diesel which is particularly important for powering generators in industries now sells at more than double the price it did last year. Combined with rising energy prices due to incessant collapses in the Federal power grid, produces a staggering increase in the price of services.²


The agonizing hellscape that is the Nigerian living as expected has induced wailing amongst the masses but this has not yet ingited social unrest. However given the trajectory of things, a civil explosion is inevitable, in fact, around the corner, one may say. But the question is why? Why is this social unrest not already happening. Why is it taking so long in the presence of an abysmal drop in living standards and a phenomenal rise in terror attacks. While one may be tempted to answer this question by wrongly connoting that the people have some confidence in the 2023 elections as the moment of destiny like many upper middle class and labour aristocrats do. In reality the cause for this delay is far from the general elections.


Given the escalation of the systemic crisis, the ruling class must consolidate its rule. At the same time it must also strengthen its core against other peripheral factions of its class. That is, the deterioration of the system gives the ruling class only one option; force the Nigerian masses to make bricks without straw and attack the oppressed with scorpions no longer whips. The northern and main faction of the ruling class can only answer the question of terrorism with more terrorism since they are afraid of losing their base which is no longer interested in any democratic project.


Unlike pre-election 2015, no member of the northern ruling class is ready to venture into opposition politics as the stakes are too high to shake an all ready fragile house of cards. The same goes for their southern counterparts they too are not willing to mount any serious opposition but their position as the underdogs forces them to seek more power. They do this while also increasing the burden on the masses like their northern masters. That is why the Lagos state government is hell-bent on resuming tolling at the EndSARS bus stop (Lekki Tollgate), where dozens of protesters were massacred in 2020, just to fund the presidential campaign of former governor of Lagos state and god father of nearly all south western politicians, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.³


Whether they belong to APC or PDP is immaterial. The real divide is between the northern hegemony and their subordinates in the south. The emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as president marked a new phase in the consolidation of the ruling class and its transformation into a chauvinist state Bonapartist entity. That is why it has a northern face because the north dominates. That is why many key positions have been replaced by northerners. This is not just a display of the chauvinism of the most backward sections of even the northern ruling class but a reflection of the global capitalist crises that is incompatible with even bourgeois democracy or federalism. This is consistent with the diagnosis of the RCIT that the current phase of capitalist decay is the beginning of the end of Neo-liberal capitalism as we know it.


Of course, this is the same as the decline in the Western powers especially the US which parades itself as the defender of “democracy” and the rise of China and Russia who are better suited for the current period because they are ruled by political dictatorships. Many left-wing activists and so called socialists have their senses of discernment deadened by years of centrism. They cannot understand the dialectical unity of the political, economic and national questions in the Nigerian case. A northern dominated or non-federalist regime means little or no resistance from the labour movement and civil society organisations both of which hang on to the coat tails of the ruling class. Hence the major factor in the delay is the conformity of the labour bureaucracy, middle class and CSO’s to a ruling class which is in itself operating under some kind of strict martial law.


That is why the influencers and activists who were so vibrant during the ENDSARS protests have become heralds for this or that prospective candidate from APC and PDP. Some of them even present themselves as candidates in these parties, whereas in 2015 a new party could be formed. These petty bourgeois oriented milieu even call for an Igbo presidency. Even though they cannot bring themselves to terms with the fact that their Igbo candidates, Peter Obi and Kingsley Moghalu are servants of the northern power brokers, this is yet another manifestation of the dialectical unity of the economic, political and national situation.


If Peter Obi and Bola Ahmed Tinubu should emerge after party primaries (which is increasingly unlikely) as flag bearers of PDP and APC respectively. Or if one of them by chance becomes victorious in the 2023 elections as president there’s still a barrage of possible events that can prevent them from occupying Aso Rock just the same way M K O Abiola was denied ascendancy to the seat of the president even after winning the general elections in 1993.


A coup orchestrated by the northern elite is one of these possible events. We have warned already in our recent statement on the epidemic of coups on the African continent that:


“the ruling class is left in a dilemma that a military coup seems the most likely solution. Dependent on the turn of events this coup can occur before or after the 2023 elections. In order to smash other factions of the Nigerian ruling class the northern hegemony may utilise a military coup before elections or to hijack an anti government uprising if one occurs before the elections. A coup after the elections will most likely be a concerted effort of broad sections of the ruling class to smash a popular uprising. So the further spread of the coups through out Africa can only have a reactionary end.”


Although a terrorist takeover or handover, if you like, already seems to be underway so we can add the jettisoning of next year’s general elections to those events. Under no circumstance is the return of the traitors and lackeys of northern hegemony to the movements of the southern ethnic nationalities for self-determination permissible. They must be excommunicated and ostracized from the fighting bodies of oppressed southern nationalities.


In the advent of a civil war, revolutionaries must not stay neutral but must call for the defeat of the Nigerian forces and the liberation of the southern ethnic nationalities. This is without giving any political support to their reactionary leaderships. We reiterate our support for the boycott of the elections and all groups who advocate for this on the basis of increased autonomy or self-determination for the southern and middle belt nationalities.


For us these groups are the objectively revolutionary forces as their position is synonymous to solving all the problems of Nigerian society in the here and now rather than treacherously banking on some future elections that will bring illusive change.


* Northern workers and masses must follow the example of their southern brothers and sisters by forming armed self-defence militias in villages, communities, schools, workplaces and major roads to destroy ISWAP, Boko Haram, Bandits and other unofficial forces of the Fulani hegemon! These armed militia must be independent of police, military and other state forces. In fact, it is necessary to defend the people against terrorists in uniform!


* Increase agitation amongst low-ranking soldiers and military officers to bring them to the side of the revolutionary masses! Revolutionaries must oppose military coups and sustain their independent forces should one occur!


* Support the struggle of the southern ethnic nationalities for independence! Fight for the democratisation of IPOB, ESN and other fighting organisations of oppressed nationalities! No political support for any member or government of APC & PDP whether Southern or northern!


* For an indefinite general strike to bring down the Buhari regime! Kick out Wabba and the other congenital lackeys of the ruling class from the Labour movement! Compensation for the family of the late Dr Chinelo and every person lost to terrorism!


* No to tolling at ENDSARS bus stop (Lekki Toll Gate)! For the Erection of New Oil Refineries Under Public Control! Expropriate Without Compensation the Transnational Oil Corporations! Nationalise the power and energy sector under democratic control of the workers and masses!


* The only way to end terrorism is to end the neo-colonial construct called Nigeria! For a Socialist Federation of Biafra and Oduduwa Republics as a step to achieving the Federation of West African Socialist Republics!