National Conference: A Deceit, Opportunity or Concession?

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Having gone through the school of PDP for uninterrupted 15 years, 15 years that had witnessed 8 General Strikes, historic mass uprising of January 2012 and the heroic ASUU strike in the midst of developing economic crisis, overwhelming majority of Nigerians have learnt enough lesson to completely reject and turn their back on the ruling Party. The social base of this party has not only eroded, we are witnessing a major implosion-taking place before our very eyes.

The present regime is carrying the burden of 15 years of policy of mass poverty and unprecedented agony for overwhelming majority of Nigerians. This burden is exacerbated by gross incompetence of the regime, the incompetence that reveals itself at every junction. Despite all odds, this regime is still desperate to cling to power; it exploits anything on its way no matter how ridiculous it may sound, all to remain firmly in power. Lenin used to say, a man falling off the cliff, does not reason. This regime has lost any sense of caution in pursuit of its aim; even its fellow members of ruling elite are alarmed. This fact was the essence of Obasanjo’s public letter to the regime. The only reason why the ruling party is still in power today is simply that there is no any genuine political alternative for the masses. The patched-up alternative called APC has almost so much stain in it’s clothe as the ruling PDP it claims to oppose. APC is incapable of generating the necessary excitement in the advance layer of working class and the youths.

Having lost the most active, most reasonable and advanced section of the society, this regime is left with no other option than to cling more and more on the most backward, the bigots and the lumpen section of the society. It woos the religious and ethnic bigots as the last desperate drive to remain alive. Making policy statement in the church, televising how President is rolling, crying and praying in Jerusalem and even Asari Dokubo’s Benin republic debacle were some of the examples of how far this regime is prepared to concede to bigots. National Conference is one of these games.

Once again, let us ask; is national conference a concession? The answer to this question differentiates “Nigerian left” into different shades.

Yes, national conference is a concession, but the real issue is concession to what class of people in the society? Petty-bourgeoisies do not analyze society from standpoint of classes. At best, they see society as dividing into good and bad people. Their classification usually rest on morality and not in any way scientific.

National Conference is a concession to the Petty Bourgeois nationalists, the bigots and the completely declassed elements in the society. Nigerian working class has never nursed any illusion that our challenges will only be resolved when all nationalities that make-up Nigeria sit together and agree on how they want to live together or even go their separate way. Nigerian working class clearly understand that our oppressors cut across all Nationalities including even the minorities whose leaders exploit ethnic sentiment to defraud and cut their own share of cake.

The last ASUU strike was a striking confirmation of how strongly united the working class is. Despite the fact that ASUU’s national president is from the North, lecturers in Niger Delta University, in Jonathan’s backyard, complied almost 100% with the strike action. All effort by this regime to ethnicize the strike failed woefully, in actual fact, the regime became much more serious about this National Conference as a result of its abysmal failure to poison the strike with its bigotry. Nigerian working class had already formed its trade union since 1912, two years before the amalgamation of Nigeria, therefore for them, it was a mission well accomplished.

Inability of the petty-bourgeois to explain the source of its woes and agonies usually makes it to blame other people from other ethnic group or even at times people from within the same ethnic group but different compounds for its own misfortune. Petty-bourgeois hardly sees the oppressors at home, because it too aspires to be an oppressor one day, all attention is focused on oppressor outside its domain.

Therefore, we say yes, it is a concession, but not concession to working class and the Nigerian youths. Genuine Marxists will be in the forefront of seizing the opportunity of this if it is a concession to working class and Nigerian youths. We want a concession on adequate funding of education, we want concession on Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics demands, so that our Polytechnic students can also return to school after almost one year of strike. We want serious concession on employment for unemployed youths and living wages for the working colleagues. Mass housing for the workers and the poor will pass as genuine concession to us. But, concession on National Conference is an abstract concession; it is a concession that has no element that directly touches the life of Nigerian masses.

It is not only completely useless, it is a waste of resources because N7 billion on self-serving project is monumental waste of resources and it is capable of achieving only one thing: prop up a dying regime and its sinking ship. The so-called “Marxists” who line behind this regime’s manipulation and ruinous concession called National Conference betray the working class and Nigerian youths.