Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV) [Nigerian Section of the RCIT], 09.02.2021, http://www.revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com/
The push of the Southern nationalist forces show no sign of abating, in fact it seems to be expanding and taking more diverse and independent forms. Apart from the effort by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the acolytes of Sunday Igboho to drive out Fulani invaders masked as herdsmen who kidnap, kill and rape, women of Edo state in the South-South region of the country mounted road blocks at Uromi to protest the atrocities of the same Fulani nomads. This is a telling fact that contrary to the false ethnic equilibrium that many “one Nigeria” activists try to create that all tribes have equal participation in kidnapping, the people know the truth. The Sultan of Sokoto, a Fulani man has confessed that 7-8 out of every ten kidnappers arrested are Fulani.
Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari may have well contributed to the rise in such attacks because of his tribalist stance he himself being a Fulani man but he is in no way the progenitor of the decades long conquest of the South by the North. In our last piece we showed how in the service of Western imperialism the Northern region especially the far North was the gendarme for keeping other regions or nations of the country in submission. This as we have said comes with the subordination of other nations or regions to the Fulani/Hausa or Northern rule.
We held that while it is correct for the ethnic nationalities of the south to gear up for defence against Northern invasion, the slogan for a “multi-ethnic” or “non-sectarian” self defense militia is another attempt at mechanistic unity of the liberal kind as their is no waiting in the fight against oppression. Rather progressive forces must align with or support the fight. We stated that such an ultra-radical call by many left associations springs from a denial or a dismissal of the age long national oppression by the North of the South. For the sake of time and space other emergent questions concerning national oppression must be addressed.
What Is Meant By A Tribalist(ic) or Ethnic Jingoist War
The essence or root of racism and other forms of state/ruling class sponsored discrimination such as tribalism or extreme nationalism is to recruit the rank and file of the oppressed in their fight for domination against another section of the ruling class or the working class of a different nation or race. We have tried in our last piece to establish tersely the mechanism of operation of divide and rule stratagem employed by the ruling class, that is, for any such contraption to work the ruling class creates a privilege for the popular masses of the oppressor nation/tribe by taking away material/social benefits from the popular masses of the oppressed nation/tribe.
This is the material bases for racism, tribalism and national oppression that sustains the layer of racists, tribalists and chauvinists. However the oppressed nations or victims of systemic racism even though they fight as a tribe cannot be racist/tribalist because they fight against oppression as they are on the losing of the divide. So they fight for the equality of nations or the abolition of privileges for one nation over another. In other words, the nationalism of an oppressor/imperialist nation is racism, nepotism, tribalism and chauvinism etc. but the nationalism of an oppressed/semi-colonial/neo-colonial nation is a liberation struggle. That is why Marxists support the right of only oppressed nations to self determination. Thus a war is tribalist(ic) when it is fought by national forces which seek to maintain their position at the expense of other nations.
There are many aspects to this, there are situations where the two conflicting nations are both imperialist/tribalist. An example is the conflict between the US and China. Beijing relies on the oppression of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang/East Turkestan and other minority groups such as blacks in order to maintain its dictatorship. The US on the other hand oppresses blacks, Latinos, and other people of color to maintain its so-called democracy. Meanwhile, when we consider the Chinese minority/nation living in the US they cannot be classified as an oppressor nation. This is because despite the decline in the hegemony of the US it is still the most powerful imperialist power. Another one of these conflicts is the recent civil war in Ethiopia, where the Tigraen People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) confronted the government of Abiy Ahmed when members of the Tigray region lost positions in Abiy’s coalition government which it has been part of for decades. Remember that the TPLF was very active in the aggression against Eritrea an oppressed nation during their struggle for independence from Ethiopia.
When Jimi Agbaje, the governorship candidate for PDP in Lagos state in 2015 promised the Igbo minority in Lagos to give them a traditional ruler of the Igbo kind (Igwe of Lagos) he was brewing a tribalist plot to emerge as governor with an ultra-radical slogan like “Lagos is no man’s land”. The Yoruba majority were right to have opposed such a policy even though they ended up supporting the reactionary APC government.
A careful study of the instances above show that one must consider the concrete context of the conflict between both nations so as to arrive at which nation is really the oppressor and which one is the oppressed. Or if none of them is oppressed, that is, it is a reactionary war on both sides. The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020 is illustrative of this as it was reactionary on both sides had Russia sided with Armenia it would have been a proxy war between imperialist Russia and Azerbaijan.
In case of a war between an imperialist nation and a semi(neo)-colony revolutionaries take the side of the semi-colony as long as it is not a proxy of another imperialist in the war. When a war is tribalistic or ethnocentric or imperialist on both sides revolutionaries call for the defeat of both belligerents through the slogan; “the main enemy is at home”.
Concretely speaking only northern nationalist forces can in a war against the south be tribalistic or ethnocentric. The Northern region here also serves as the proxy of Western imperialism. The southern agitators for Biafra/Oduduwa cannot be tribalistic as they are fighting for national liberation. Now due to the level of consciousness and the harsh conditions of the masses of the oppressed nations they may take anarchistic or even chauvinist measures yet they cannot be classified equally as the oppressors since they are only responding to/or are only victims of oppression.
Again On Leading Figures
As earlier mentioned the rank and file of the oppressed nations in their resistance of national oppression can be sometimes extreme; sometimes anarchistic; sometimes full of emotional outbursts or spontaneity and sometimes pacifist. This is due to their position as oppressed people and the more excruciating the pain of their living standards or abject poverty the greater the tendency of their activities to be belligerent or even pacifist.The same is true for their leaderships who come from extremely diverse blends and are very capable of emotional outbursts and repeating, in words, the chauvinist policy of their oppressor nation. Exemplary of this is the call by Sunday Igboho for all Fulani herdsmen to leave Igangan and the entire south western region.
The call is spontaneous as the problem, in the real sense, is not that they are herdsmen but the Fulani/Northern hegemony. The hegemony is the real reason why feuds between farmers and the herdsmen turn bloody with the casualties on the side of the farmers considerably greater than that of the herdsmen since they possess more sophisticated weapons. That is why a good number of them go out of their way to kidnap, rape, kill and attack southerners meaning that under pretexts other than that of nomads they can still launch these attacks. Driving all Fulani herdsmen out of the South/South West too does not solve the problem of oppression southerners face in the North.
Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Sunday Igboho is a stooge of the Southern Western ruling class led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos state. There are revelations that attest to this, otherwise he could not be given the free ride to lead a nationalist onslaught against Northern interests. It seems that the southern ruling class are using his activity to pressure the Northern ruling class to grant concessions or to keep to past agreements part of which could be to negotiate the presidency. He claims that his only god-father is Rashidi Ladoja, the late PDP stalwart and former governor of Oyo state. Compare him to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the (IPOB), a bourgeois liberal no less, who is now in exile abroad because he lacks the support of the South Eastern ruling class and god-fathers. Nevertheless, like Sunday Igboho he also restrains the militants in the IPOB by saying the ESN should focus only on the Fulani herdsmen and called for a ceasefire in the clash between the ESN and the Army in Orlu, Imo state.
While material and physical support should be given to enhance the national liberation struggle of the southern people no political support can be given to either Sunday Igboho or Nnamdi Kanu. Workers and poor peasants must take charge by agitating for the linkage of the struggle for national liberation with the fight against capitalism.
We call for mobilization to defend the people of the South from all Northern aggression by the formation of self-defence militia by workers and the popular masses, which shall pursue the economic and political liberation of the people of the South to the point of regional autonomy or independence. This can only be successful if the workers and masses fight the Nigerian state and all its henchmen in the police and military forces without giving any political support to the Southern ruling class. Prospective Odudua or Biafra nations can only be truly free from imperialist subjugation if they are established on the basis of a planned economy under workers and poor peasant control actualised through the expropriation of the bourgeois without compensation and nationalisation of the economic mainstay. Thus we think it best that these prospective countries be established on a socialist foundation.
Northern workers and branches of the trade unions must cast aside all chauvinism, tribalist sentiments and ethnic bigotry for their southern brothers and sisters and support the right of the ethnic nationalities of the South to self determination. They must support the on-going liberation struggles for no one who oppresses another can indeed be free. They must call for the defence of Southerners living in the North against attacks and aggression of any and all kinds. They must call for the defeat of the Buhari regime and the Northern ruling class, for them “the main enemy is at home”. Only on such bases can unity flourish amongst workers of north and south. Such unity remains the path for a socialist victory in Nigeria and West Africa.
For the United Socialist Republic of West Africa!
Long live International Socialism!