Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), Nigerian section of the RCIT. 13th June, 2021. https://revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com/
The RCIT have in a good number of recent works explained that the behaviour of world governments in this time of severe capitalist crises can be summarised as chauvinist state bonapartism, that is, a government that roles back democratic rights with immense expansion of the state apparatus while leaning on accelerated aggression towards minority nationalities and rival factions of the bourgeois camp to maintain power.¹
This cannot be more true than in the case of Nigeria. The convener of the Take It Back (TIB) movement and one of the notable faces of the Coalition for Revolution, Omoyele Sowore, had earlier this month called for mass protests on June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy Day, but in the days leading up to the protests President Buhari imposed a ban on the social media app, Twitter after his genocidal tweet was deleted. This in turn spurred anti-government agitations amongst all strata of the populace bolstering mobilisations for the June 12 protests.²
After he had restricted himself from using the social media app, he took to television broadcasts to advance his hatred towards the Igbo people especially the IPOB; attack Nigerian youths; and painted the whole secessionist movements in the south in bad light. Again further fanning up the flames of discontent which will make participation in the coming protests swell.
Despite all these attacks the masses remained defiant and like the proverbial pit into which the digger himself falls, Buhari’s twitter ban only aroused anti-government sentiments the more and gave a broader global reach to Nigerian “trends” on the app. As no sooner had the regime deactivated the local servers did youth and activists begin using Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) giving discussions on the app a wider global outreach.³
Seeing that all attempts to gag free speech had only backfired, the regime sponsored scare-mongering tactics to demobilise the masses by warning of an unspecified attack on June 12. This was of course followed by a massive mobilization of police and other state forces in top gear which makes one wonder if truly the incessant kidnappings and killings have been taking place in Nigeria. Then followed the threats and official releases from the top ranks of the police and other organs of repression.⁴
Yet all this could not deter the people who marched out on to the streets in droves of hundreds in a face-off with the bonapartist machine armed with two major demands: End bad governance and Buhari must go. Demonstrations of this kind occurred in at least 25 states throughout the country and also in Diaspora. In some places protesters reassembled even after being dispersed with teargas cannisters for a third time.⁵
The fact that the major mobilisers for this demonstrations was amongst other things the character of the regime shows it is a product of a period of serious decay in capitalism moreso of the current capitalist crises.
It is true that mass mobilisations of this kind were in a way resuscitated in the 2019 Days of Rage launched by the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) but this is not just a Nigerian thing as the Washington Post themed 2019 as “the year of the street protester”. Since the new historic decline of capitalism began in the “Economic meltdown” of 2008/09 which gave rise to the second Intifada (Arab revolution) in 2011 and the Nigerian anti-subsidy removal uprising of 2012 then the 2019 Days of Rage was a reaction to the worst stage of this decline.
If anything gave the June 12 protests more publicity and significance it was the pro-secessionist demonstrations for Oduduwa and Biafra nations by immigrants in the US and UK. More than one hundred immigrant protesters from South Western Nigeria joined in solidarity by their Biafran counterparts marched through Trafalgar Square demanding the actualisation of the right of nations of southern Nigeria to self determination and the removal of Buhari from office. This is a confirmation of our analysis that; “the struggle for national liberation of oppressed southern ethnic nationalities has come to stay as part of the long term revolutionary onslaught against the bourgeois regime“.⁶
Neglecting or alienating the fight against national oppression is to deny the very roots of the massive turnout for the demonstrations. Recall that it was the pulling down of Buhari’s bigoted tweet against the Igbo nation that led to the ban on twitter and resulted in the subsequent nationwide anti-government agitation that followed.
That is why it is necessary to situate the demonstrations of Democracy Day in the global context of capitalist collapse which stirs up all unanswered and underlying question part of which includes: police brutality; rape and other forms of feminine oppression; and of course national oppression. All of these must be given due consideration if system change is the goal!
We seize this medium to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Victor Udoka and Emmanuel Larry, two activists arrested and torture for two months now by the Kogi state government for protesting in the state.
We shall overcome!