THE REGIME AND THE STATE OF THE POLITY
NIGERIA: A COUNTRY AT THE PRECIPICE
The ruling-class or the working-class
to the rescue?
By Dagga Tolar
We must herein turn to politics, which is the other twin that completes the unison of political economy, and here the ruling class has not fared any better, be it with the conduct of elections which bourgeois democracy impose on itself as a mere ritual that it conducts with disdain and no show of respect whatsoever for the democratic rights of the working masses, except in relation to their right to vote.
On the question of the right of the right of the working masses to be voted for, the door is completely closed. Even when the working masses muscle themselves like was done by the National Conscience Party then led by Gani Fawehinmi, and the Socialist Party of Nigeria (founded by members of what is now the DSM and the MSA), the ruling elites does everything to have the party de-registered and knocked off the ballot papers.
But yet elections they must hold, to keep the pretense of bourgeois democracy alive. We have seen that election after election, since 1999, the ruling elites have perfected their rigging machinery, monetize the electoral process, making it an exclusive affair of members of the ruling class and billionaire club. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s song of ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’, recorded after the Second Republic’s 1983 General Elections is still as apt, close to 40 years when it was composed, it remains a vivid characterization of the unchanging nature of the capitalist ruling class in Nigeria.
The song correctly characterize the primitive manner of how elections are conducted and rigged, and the whole charade of bourgeois democracy, which he describes in fitting terms as “demonstration of craze/craze demonstration” by the ruling elites.
Our main concern however is with the Buhari regime, how the polity has fared under him, allow me start from the behind with reference to the general Elections of 2023.
2:1: 2023 General Elections
Perhaps this is the greatest challenge that currently confronts the ruling class, the question of a successor to the Buhari regime, a titular head for the whole of the ruling class. Given the fact that Buhari is currently enjoying a second term of the constitutional provision of two terms in office and as such cannot stand as a presidential candidate again in another General Election.
And matters are made worse by its own adoption of the principle of rotation of the office of the president; which for the ruling class is presumed to be a means of ensuring that all sections of the ruling class as represented by their ethnic nationality grouping/regions are assured of taking turn to have a share of political power and by so doing have access to looting the treasury of the country in turn, and such minimize or bring an end to in-fighting among the various sections of the ruling class.
But alas this has turned out a mirage, the various sections are up against themselves, divided into various camps both inside and outside of the major bourgeois parties of the APC and the PDP, all out to outsmart and out do themselves as the clock click us closer to 2023.
So on the basis of the rotation principle, we can only assume that the northern wing of the ruling elites will decline itself of the democratic right to be voted for, to ensure that the next president will come from the southern part of the country, since Buhari comes from the northern part of the country, but even this you can be sure may not necessarily be respected by all members of the Northern Ruling elites.
But this in itself will come up to be tested by all shades and characters of the ruling elites from all of the religious and ethnic nationality divides, a consequence of the fact that members of the ruling elites do not extend trust outside of themselves to any other member, when it comes to the question of wielding political power.
This cannot be explained by the moral degeneracy or bankruptcy of the Nigerian ruling class, or by any special inherent so called “Nigerian Factor”, but by the singular fact of its refusal to take up the task of developing the means of production, leaving it with the one option of wielding political power as the easiest means by which to accumulate wealth for itself and maintain its membership of the ruling class.
To vacate power follows therefore that it immediately stands to lose its hold, it therefore does everything within its reach to not vacate power and if it so need to, ensure that it puts in place a successor that will ensure that it assumed grip on power continues. This is the nature of bourgeois democracy in the neocolonial world. A democracy that in reality is a “demonstration of craze” of all manners of abuse, flagrant abuse of the democratic principles, and rights of the working masses.
Power is here so exercised to deny the working masses access to the basic essentials of existence. It is this failure to provide for the needs of the working masses (despite all of the electoral promises in this regard) that enables and guarantees the ruling elites a rich flow of accessing and appropriating the wealth of society for its class.
The refusal to develop the means of production is however not ordinarily located in the configuration of the ruling class in the neocolonial world, and cannot also be attributed to a factor of race, colour or skin pigmentation or even low intellectual cognition. Rather it is the very principles and logic of capitalism that is in full operation, whose motive force is driven solely by the greed for profit, super profit.
It is this insatiable greed for profit dictated by the very logic of Capitalism that instructs the bourgeoisie in the neocolonial world to see itself as part of a global capitalist class that must take advantage of the efforts of earlier fore-runners of capital, and not bother to commence a replication of the process all over again, when it can with little or no sweat appropriate and garner super profit from merely positioning itself in the chain of the distribution network as oppose to production to procure goods, supply and make them available to the masses of their home countries.
The Nigerian version of the bourgeois is not in any sense keen in driving a development of the means of production, it is comfortable to struggle for power and employ the instrument of coercion to dictate and lord itself over the wealth of society, without a hoot bothering about the working masses.
This is why the 2023 General Election more than any before it, will be keenly and hotly contested. The country shall therefore witness, different crystal ball manifestations as we approach 2023, among which will include even toying with returning Jonathan back for a second tenure as a means of returning the presidency back to the north come 2027.
2:2: Southern Presidency and Tinubu
Faced with the question of southern presidency, the ruling class as dominated by the Northern wing, particular the Buhari presidency do not trust Tinubu enough to hand the presidency to him directly come 2023, even when he has insisted that there is an agreement in the APC that expressly do state that power will be handed over to him. His predatory domination of Lagos, and nearly all of the South-West is too glaring in the open for that error to be made.
The conclusion is easily drawn that if he were to be President of the country, he will do the same thing to the country as he had done to Lagos, bring it completely under his thumb control, and at the same time knock all other shades of the ruling elites off, to become the singular dominate force, transmuting the entire ruling class to be himself alone, and therein boast like Louis XIV that “I am the state.”
For this singular reason, the big wigs of the APC Northern machinery will therefore do everything possible to ensure that a Tinubu presidency does not happen.
But as events are more and more making clear, even when a health challenge docked Tinubu in London, over an ailment that is not publicly disclosed, instead of helping settling the question of a Tinubu presidency and making it a non-issue, his return has given new bite to the possibility, as apologists of a Tinubu Presidency continue to drum themselves loud over and above themselves especially in the south west to demonstrate their support for him.
He has since returned the visit of Buhari to him London, by visiting him in Aso Rock making capital of the fact that he is on good terms with Buhari himself.
Yet the Buhari regime holds its presidency in both victories at the polls in 2015 and 2019 to the entire muscle of the Tinubu’s Machinery, and full deployment of Bullion vans of cash to ensure and guarantee the necessary rigging and manipulation of the electoral process.
Would this lead it on to repeat the 2015 scenario and grant the Tinubu wing of the ruling elites the privileged it so did then to put forward any candidate of his choice in place of himself for the office of Vice President, who then nominated Osinbajo as Vice President. Can history repeat itself on this account, will Tinubu be granted the right to choose any member of his machinery to be president as oppose to himself?
The office of the Vice President is not the same as that of the office of the president, and as a consequence for the very same reason given above, it will not be willing to hand over the presidency to anyone completely under the thumbprint of Tinubu. What then are the options for a southern presidency from the south west come 2023.
2:3: Osinbajo/Fashola or Fayemi Presidency
Can Osinbajo be endorsed to replace Buhari in 2023? The same fears it has for a Tinubu presidency is the same fear it has for handing over power to Osinbajo, who for sure they are certain will immediately come under the sway and authority of Tinubu which would affect the same consequence of cutting off the eggheads and gadflies of the Buhari presidency out of power, once Buhari is out of office.
It follows therefore that for Osinbajo or even any of the likes of Fashola or Fayemi to be so endorsed by the APC as its flagbearer, can only be so entertained to the point that any of the mentioned names or even yet unnamed, distant themselves from Tinubu demonstrating and convincing the Northern pole of the APC machinery and indeed the ruling elites of their independence of him and complete loyalty to the APC machinery as so dictated by the most conservative Northern wing of the ruling elites in Nigeria, and a vow to keep things the way they are, and not rock the boat in any form.
They currently as individuals do not have the resources or machinery on their own to make a run for the presidency outside of relying on the Buhari Presidency itself or on the Tinubu’s Machinery. And the ambition by Tinubu for the presidency would only mean that he would come out dirty against any candidate from the Southwest, even more fierce against anyone from his stable, who puts himself forward against him, as the race thickens.
Tinubu would carry himself forward and high, with a conquering spirit that nothing whatsoever can stop him, and that he would be able to convince the Buhari presidency that he can be trusted in the end and he is equal to whatever task or agenda is already on the ground to keep it on course.
But then too, there is also the likely scenario that the Buhari presidency can convince or muscle Tinubu to step down his personal ambition and pursuit of the office of the president, and have a repeat all over again of 2015 to have a southern President endorsed and put forward by the Tinubu machinery.
Following which the Buhari presidency will toy with having a Vice President from its own rank who would turn out more powerful, making a Tinubu’s choice a ceremonial figure head. Would this not be reversed in no short a time employing all of the constitutional powers of a presidency to cut such a vice president to size and return full powers to such a President.
Whatever prognosis is projected, in relation to the prospect of a Tinubu presidency or a president from the Tinubu Camp, is not something that is straight forward or can be easily resolved given that what is at stake is the question of a defacto head for the entire crop of the ruling class in Nigeria, and the Buhari presidency will not with eyes open easily surrender its grip to someone from outside its rank, who from the very onset will oust them from any if not even every measure of control of the national cake.
Yet not all is well in the Tinubu Camp, already there is a brewing dispute between loyalists to Aregbesola, who is a major egghead of the Tinubu’s Machinery against the loyalists of Tinubu, this war of surrogates would have its implication on the different permutations from the Southwest on the 2023 presidential elections.
While the health status of Tinubu may have currently gone through the worst of bend, and he is back into the polity and fully active on ground, any twist in the opposite direction could on its own launch a war of succession, with Aregbesola directly bidding for dominance and with forces around Buhari presidency also dipping their fingers in the windmill bringing all their strength to bear on the process to support any of the other contending members of the camp to gain for itself the best of advantage which will be of no little consequence for the successorship dispute.
It follows therefore that the Buhari Presidency and all of the Kitchen Cabinet among which does not exclude El-Rufia (who is positioning himself to be the titular head of the Buhari presidency’s structure after the tenure, to become a major power block of the Northern Ruling class and a possible future Northern presidential candidate) will continue to be the dominant force of the ruling elites, and they will be the ones deciding for us all those who would succeed Buhari come 2023, and the decision they take will be solely determined by the need to protect its influence and continuous ability to call the shots if not directly but indirectly.
2:4: Igbo Presidency and Its Politics
Neither is there a bright prospect at this time in the thinking of the ruling class has currently dominated by the Buhari Presidency that the Igbo wing of the ruling class is a viable option for a southern presidency come 2023. For now it is clear from the analysis above that the Southwest’s wing of the ruling elites as currently dominated by the Tinubu machinery is completely averse to the idea, since it intends to puts itself forward for the presidency.
But if anything strongly counts against an Igbo presidency from the point of view of the Buhari Presidency and its kitchen cabinet and the entire crop of the Northern ruling class, it is the fact that it does not yet trust it enough to entrust Nigeria as an entity to it, and be assured that it will not now be dismembered under an Igbo presidency.
The Northern ruling elites hold “One Nigeria” very dear to its heart, given the fact that its survival as a class and as caste is factored around the continued existence of Nigeria as a single unit, since this is what grants its access to the wealth and resources of the country which is largely currently sourced from the oil wells in the Southern part of the country.
Painfully this domination of the polity by the Northern wing of the ruling class has not impacted on the fortunes of the working masses, even from the north. When it comes to the question of the indices of development and a modern society, the North is in a far worst state compared to the South.
Should this not endear it to see whether others can do much better, where it had failed? But no, the ruling class, hold themselves in equal suspicion of one another, and employing every instrument; religion, ethnic nationalism, bribery and corruption to outsmart each other and one another in the bid to win, retain and wield political power.
So the clamour of the Igbo ruling elites for an Igbo presidency, which from a bourgeois point of view would create a greater feeling of inclusiveness in the running of the polity and a sense of belonging and appreciation for the type of support they have lend to the Northern ruling elites. But as things stand this would most certainly be disregarded by the Northern elites, which would further reinforcing the notion that it is marginalized.
It chooses to turn a deaf ear to the clamour, it has not forgotten or forgiven “the sin” of the Biafra secessionist attempt, which resulted in the civil war of 1967 to 1970. Even five decades after, the Igbo ruling elites are still held in suspect that an Igbo Presidency would amount to quicken the agenda to break up the country.
The renewed agitation for a Biafra Republic from Nigeria initially re-ignited by Ralph Uwazuruike’ MASSOB and now principally spearheaded by Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB is simply employed by it to reinforce this position, why it is opposed to an Igbo presidency.
This is despite the fact that the Northern wing of the ruling elites has garnered the best of support from the Igbo ruling elites, as exemplified by the alliance that was struck by both sections of the elites, as represented by the NPC and the NCNC and the NPN and NPP in the first and second republic respectfully and even now to a certain degree.
At no time had the Igbo ruling elites favoured a West and East alliance of both the Yoruba and itself, even the civil war is used as a means to foreclose such an alliance. And the excuse for this is popular narrative that Awolowo as finance minister provided all of the policy framework with which the Gowon led FG then employed to ram down the Biafra secessionist attempt then led by Ojukwu.
Unmindful that the Buhari regime got the least of votes from this region of the country, both in 2015 and 2019, this must not be mistaken to be an indication of a qualitative shift of reasoning by the elites and of a break in orientation in relation to ideas by the Igbo ruling elites from the northern wing of the ruling elites. Such reasoning is far from it.
If anything, it is as conservative in ideas, as the Northern wing of the ruling class, it offers nothing significantly different from the same neo liberal capitalist idea that has grounded the country in its current state of comatose. In the same election in 2015 and 2019, a majority of the votes coming from the core Igbo states went to another candidate also from the Northern wing of the ruling elites as represented by Abubakar Atiku.
There is no denying the fact that a greater majority of the working masses of Igboland, like in other parts of the country are more than ever out of tune with the Buhari regime and not in awe of the entire crop of the ruling elites. This disillusioned in some sense, accounts for the hold and dominance of APGA in Anambra state, defeating both APC and the PDP. But it does not now follow that APGA offers any fundamentally different programme from the APC or the PDP, has seen by the rule of Peter Obi and Willie Obiano for a total number of sixteen years.
If anything it is the pressure from the two major parties that has left them with no other choice than to cosmetically deliver some programmes, but rather than think it is APGA that has made a difference, indeed it is the outright rejection of these parties in Anambra, that has created a vacuum that APGA does not even have to struggle to fill, this more than anything is what will again ensure the victory of APGA’s candidate Soludo in the election in the 2021 Governorship election.
APGA is therefore nothing more than an electoral platform for the Igbo ruling elites, no more no less. It does not operate with pan-Igbo agenda with which to launch out for support outside of Igboland or appeal to others otherside of the South east canvassing its programme and ideas. The party is mainly employed to exploit the feelings of the working masses in the South East state to create the falsehood that it is different, and that it is a party that has the interest of the Igbo working masses at heart.
When in reality it merely seeks to carter to the need of the Igbo ruling elites need for a political party that claims affiliation with Ojukwu. And once done with this, as we can see with Peter Obi, the party is immediately discarded, they are back in the fold and embrace of any of the two major bourgeoise parties of PDP and APC, demonstrating to discerning mind that they really are not different in terms of ideas and philosophy.
Yet in not voting Buhari or APC in the 2015 and 2019 Presidential election doesn’t now make the working masses in the east a revolutionary conscious mass, for yes while it has demonstrated by its voting pattern of knowing what it doesn’t want by not voting Buhari, it doesn’t now follow that it consciously knows what it wants, it massive vote for the PDP (Statistics of the 2015/2019 presidential election results) the same PDP that presided over the polity for the first 16 years of the fourth Republic, with all of the damning statistics of failure and betrayal of the expectations of the working masses, following a struggle on its part to bring an end to outright military dictatorship in 1999.
But even this must be seen from the fact of the absence of a mass working people political party, which the working masses would have preferred to vote, as against returning the PDP back to the presidency. As pointed above it is this vacuum that APGA in pretense is filling, when it is massively voted for in the governorship election in Anambra.
Even the visit of Buhari to Imo State more than ever before confirms the fact of the force of IPOB as an entity with empty streets following directives from it that people should stay at home. A visit from the president was in no way enough to whittle down the influence of IPOB, yet for members of the Igbo crop of the ruling elites who trooped out to welcome him, it was more of a show of reassurance and the basis of that place demands on the president, Prof George Obiozor, Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General spoke
“Ndigbo are committed to Nigerian unity and there is news for those trying to push us out of Nigeria.
Ndigbo in Nigeria are like fish in the ocean, no matter how rough the storm is, it cannot drive the fish out of the ocean… this visit has thrown light into the cloudiness and doubts surrounding the perception of the relation between your government and Ndigbo. Your presence reassures us that there is still reason for optimism for Nigeria and Nigerian unity” (https://guardian.ng/politics/buahris-visit-to-imo-state-and-implications-for-southeast/)
But how does the visit fit into the narrative for the quest of an Igbo presidency and what body language is inferred in the visit of Buhari to Imo state. Is there political capital to be made from it and employed against the secessionist agitators or better still the quest for an Igbo presidency. Of course making a show of their loyalty to the regime and consequently placing a demand of “development projects in the east, it is seeking for capital with which to employ to win over the Igbo working masses to come on board with its full support for the Buhari camp and by extension the APC.
But more importantly is the fact that the visit served if nothing else for the Igbo ruling elites to make a case for itself that it can be trusted and their “commitment to Nigerian unity” should not be doubted and no fear need be entertained in that regard. Also coated underneath the demand for security, is the request placed before the presidency for the “security of Ndigbo in Nigeria and beyond…”, this is but a subtle and indirect appeal for the Igbo ruling elites contending that there can be nothing more better to secure their hold and adherence to the Nigeria project than a support of it for the presidency come 2023.
Dr. SKC Ogbonnia goes ahead to state it could possible offer “a profound opportunity for the Igbo to reverse the downward spiral of distrust created among themselves [and against it] by artificial post-civil war boundaries.”(https://dailypost.ng/2020/07/18/skc-ogbonnia-2023-south-east-presidency-or-igbo-presidency/).
In reality, the Igbo ruling elites does not lack candidates from its rank, a group of Igbo business moguls known as the Umunna Lekki Association (ULA), “residing in the Lekki, Ikoyi, Banana Island, Victoria Garden City (VGC) and Victoria Island axes of Lagos State” have come out with a shortlist of possible presidential candidates from Igbo extraction with a promise to donate billions of Naira to support any of either the APC or the PDP that so chooses an Igbo candidate as its party flag bearer in the presidential election.
Its list of candidates including the following Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia State); Peter Obi, Charles Udeogaranya, Ben Obi and Henry Okolie-Aboh, Others are Governor Dave Umahi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Anyim Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Geoffrey Onyema, Barth Nnaji, Nnia Nwodo Jnr, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu State) and Emeka Ihedioha, Rochas Okorocha, Kema Chikwe and Humphrey Anumudu (Imo State) (https://guardian.ng/politics/group-nominates-igbo-candidates-for-2023-presidency/)
The above list is made up of the same members of the ruling class that have been in government since 1999, either as governors, ministers, or legislators. The same elites that kept the country underdeveloped with their counterpart from the North and the other southern part of the country. The ULA “pro-activeness” shows that it’s not interested in the development of the economy, or in the improvement of the wellbeing of the working masses outside of the myopic and primitive craving of calling the shots at presidency, and use same to portion a greater share of the national cake to itself.
However, one cannot ignore the fact that the list restricts its choice however to the core Igbo states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. To include Delta and River states, which are grouped into the South south geopolitical zone and can boast of Igbo speaking communities with definitely bring on board other candidates like Chibuike Amaechi and Nyesom Wike, both from River states, who are stakeholders in their own right both in the APC and the PDP respectively.
With respect to the APC, it automatically makes Ameachi eligible for the office, but someone had already pointed out that Edwin Clarke came all out against Peter Odili a two term governor of River state as presidential candidate in 2007 on account of the fact that he is not Izon and as such cannot assume an office on behalf of the South-south for a slot allotted to it.
Will the same reverse logic be employed this time around or can Ameachi, who happens to be a longer in-house member of the APC structure be trusted by the machinery than any other member of the party directly from the zone, if a compromised candidate is under consideration as an indirect aim at Igbo presidency, if really it wants to go that direction. Would an Ameachi not be easily saleable to the Tinubu wing than any other person also given their long association too in the party together.
But this thinking however must take on the credentials of a Jonathan, a former president, more amiable to backroom control. who the entire crop of the Northern ruling elites including even the Buhari presidency will even prefer if it chooses to adopt a self preservationist approach to the question of a southern presidency, since as indicated above, it will qualified it for contention come 2027, if the ship keeps at its sail. Already there are plans afloat, underneath to win him over to join the APC.
It is clear from the above that we would witness a ‘roforofo” warring among the ruling elites on this question of an eligible southern candidate for the presidency, both intra and inter party and that whatever decision is taken will not go down well with all sections of the ruling elites. We must also not assume that the working masses are all at home with the idea of zoning or rotational presidency and that the PDP will also play along and not attempt to put itself at an advantage and consider zoning the presidency to some other zone, if it so think it will bring any advantage to it.
In this regard we must pause and ask; what influence does Abubakar Atiku still retains, out of direct political power since 2007, does he still have the financial muscle that is attractive enough for members of the ruling elites to satisfy their greed to “come and chop” from supporting his candidacy again. This direction would largely be dictated by the choice of the APC and for sure it will play its game more slowly so as to take advantage of whatever short comings or disagreements emanating from inside of the APC over the candidate chosen as the presidential flagbearer of the APC.
Yet the ruling elites are not naïve and will do everything possible to ensure that the battle for the presidency does not fully degenerate to a full scale conflict in its ranks. Of course it will engage in a fist of word warfare in contending against itself to best present their individual selves as trustworthy of the votes of the working masses. But not to the point of endangering the rule and dominance of capitalism has its creed for governing over the polity and entity called Nigeria.
For this same factor it ultimately will make compromises, negotiate with itself to keep their collective control and domination of the wealth and resources of the country under their control at the very expense of the wellbeing of the working masses.
It would not be unmindful of the growing agitation for self determination largely from the south, so even the PDP will mostly be unlikely to want to put forward Abubakar Atiku and give reign to his presidential ambition to aim another shot at it again in 2023, counting on the greater numbers of votes from the north to win the presidency?
But the experience of Buhari who had contested three different times before winning the presidency in 2015 is in itself an inspiration For Atiku to once again have a shot at the presidency in 2023, and you can be sure that this idea would have it supporters among a section of the ruling elites, who would dig at anything to return back to power, especially if the APC hands over its ticket to a southerner.
What is certain in relation to the question of an Igbo presidency is that the ruling elites as dominated both by the Buhari regime is not in any mood to repeat the 1999 scenario of the ruling elites, when it sought to placate and appease the south west ruling elites with an Obasanjo presidency, over the annulment of the 1993 presidential election and the death of MKO Abiola, even this was at the huge cost of massive street protest and unrest in the south west…
But this does not then mean that the Igbo ruling elites is not thinking in this direction, it is a strategy that can be brought to play, and employed by the Igbo ruling elites to bargain for an Igbo presidency, in the same sense that a Jonathan Presidency was employed to indirectly bribe and settle Niger Delta militants to cease their agitations. It is not impossible that the increased agitation for secession and the activities of IPOB can become a joker in the pack for the Igbo ruling elites with which to negotiate for an Igbo presidency or will the arrest and current detention of Nnamdi Kanu and the plea for his release be a bargaining chip to hands off the presidency in 2023.
The APC in turn will also not fail to make political capital of the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu in a way and manner that would be of advantage to it in 2023. The possibility that Nnamdi Kanu could also be employed as a kind of bargaining chip for votes from the East can also not be dismissed. The Buhari regime is capable of carrying out a back door negotiation for “freedom for votes in 2023” from the East. To knock the IPOB into playing down less and less of its agitations so that it can be brought on board fully into the main stream of political power.
The reverse could also be it, keeping him in detention one way or the other as a means of forcing the Igbo ruling elites to play to type and support it fully by endorsing its position or choice of candidate for the 2023 elections.
Interestingly there is a minority view expressed in opposition against an Igbo presidency canvassed by Dr. Mike Okonkwo, a Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, and a leading of CAN, hear him: “I am not in agreement with any easterner saying, ‘it’s time for us to be president’. So you should beg to be president? If it’s going to be a case of making you president so that you can be appeased, that is stupidity; I don’t want that. You are a Nigerian; you have equal right to everything that every other person who is in Nigeria has. So, it’s not a matter of being appeased. In fact, I don’t even want any easterner under this situation to be a president because he will fail. Do you know why? The present system can never allow you to succeed. That is why we have to look at the system.”
(https://guardian.ng/politics/why-i-dont-want-an-igbo-man-to-succeed-buhari/). This is obviously a minority view, but a position that cannot be ignored even though not scientifically espoused in full.
2:5 Rotational Presidency and the Question of Ethnic or Regional Development
The question of rational presidency or zoning in whatever form it’s presented ignores the very history of the phenomenon which clearly has had no impactful influence on the wellbeing of the working masses. A Yoruba presidency as we saw under Obasanjo from 1999-2007, did not nothing whatsoever to improve the lot of the working masses from
Yoruba extraction. Nor did a Jonathan Presidency bring any fundamental change to the fortunes of the working masses from the South-south. Nor has the Buhari regime, or indeed the dominance of the Northern Ruling elites of federal power, since independence serve in any sense to improve the lot of the working masses from the northern part of the country.
If anything, it is even the worst off, it remains the least developed part of the country with all indices of under-development in the country, illiteracy, poverty, disease, religious extremism etc at the highest possible level compared to the south, even the fact of the insurgency is also a fall out of the scorecard of the ruling elites, who as a collective have only bothered about their own fortunes.
The reason for this is that the system so referred which Marxists indentifies and refer to as the capitalist system is so designed to fail when it comes to meeting the needs of the working masses. This is what makes capitalism out as an albatross that makes development not possible for Nigeria, given the globalization of capitalism that seeks to see the universe as a single entity divided into two.
The Industrial west of Europe, US and China and some other part of Asia (specifically for its cheap labour force) as the world’s productive centre, while the rest of the whole universe serves as market. Capitalism inspite of the fact that the universe is broken into nation states, and their so called sovereignty of borders and boundaries, it welcomes no restriction to the movement of capital, and its beloved goods and services.
Its productive homeland can muster all of the technology needed to feed the entire universe with all of its goods and services; this alone is what would continue to guarantee more and more super profits for it.
Indeed for the bourgeoisie from the neocolonial other parts of the block, it offers it no role of repeating its feat in its national borders, when in reality profit making is the name of the game and the basis for membership in the class, when it stand to make as much even more profit playing the role of an agent and sales reps for international capitalism and productive empires in the West and China.
The fact remains that the only contending class against capitalism, which it dreads and fear is the working class, this is the only class it is incapable of bribing, but do this will mean a loss of its profits and luxury, since this will mean offering a better living conditions for the class of labour, providing jobs for all, and paying a living wage that will minimal guarantee a living standard that would enable it to access all of the basic necessities of life.
To do just this will mean endangering the capitalist system, will mean eliminating the very foundation on which capitalism is build upon– profit making. The ruling class is incapable of annulling itself out of the pages of history, by sacrificing its luxury and looting of the wealth of society and freely hand over same for the use of the greater good of society and the wellbeing of the working masses.
It follows therefore that only the working class can mortally take on capitalism not just for the survival of its class but as well as for the survival of society and the whole of the universe. And this is wherein the idea of a revolution comes to play, given the fact that the ruling elites and their capitalist class will not agree to their failure at governance nor will it hand over the polity to the working class to try its own hands and ideas at governance.
The working class must therefore bring their existence to bear on the polity on the arena of class struggle, seek to unite all strata of the working masses and providing the needed revolutionary leadership and socialist programme with which to accomplish a socialist revolution and set forth to with the specific aim to reorganize society for the benefit of the working masses as oppose to meeting the greed for profit by the capitalist bosses.
2:6: Can PDP be Return to Power?
Can we look at the APC at this stage and posit that it will be incapable of putting its house in order between now and 2023, and that even in agreeing to a presidential flag bearer or once the body language of the Buhari presidency is decipher, those that would lose out will commence another round of migration out of the APC back into the PDP and the possibility of having the same impact of a reverse movement from the PDP into the APC had in the 2015 General elections, this time for a victory for the PDP to be re-elected back into power come 2023.
Is there a possibility of experiencing a mass shift of members of the APC back to the PDP or to a new bourgeois formation like Obasanjo has already hinted to take on the APC come 2023 and defeat it like was done against the PDP in 2015? It looks too early in the day, to engage in such a speculative rift in the APC… yet the victory of the APC in 2015, was on the basis of the internal crisis in the then PDP.
And there will be no denying the fact of history that whoever the APC, endorses as a flagbearer as already earlier pointed out will have its ripple effect in directly and indirectly impacting on the choice the PDP will so make, and that it will position itself to benefits from the fall outs or misgiving against the process in the APC.
Already there is an Electoral Reform bill on the table of the president awaiting his assent with an amendment proposing that internal parties primary elections and electoral conventions be done by open balloting, this is of obvious implication to the 2023 presidential election.
And make no mistake, it inclusion or introduction of the Open balloting into the Amended Electoral Act, is not aimed in any sense to ending the rigging and manipulation of choosing candidates. Nor will it reduce the monetization of the process in favour of a new fervent for internal democracy in the parties.
If anything its aimed as a means of openly monitoring how members of the ruling elites and their supporters would vote having previously or in the behind “settled” them appropriately with handsome cash to vote a particular direction, if they so fail to arrive at a consensus candidate which is increasingly becoming how events will play out.
Is Atiku still hoping to stand and contend for the ticket of the PDP or would he possible garner the same votes or even more especially when the APC so decide to field a southern candidate, and the PDP choose not to put forward a southern candidate, if the APC so do. Can he hope to win the support of Tinubu, if he loses out in the APC and have him endorse his candidacy, will too much not be at stake for Tinubu to openly court the opposition, would the ruling elites not choose to come all out against him.
An Atiku candidature is obviously not in doubt if anything he would reference Buhari himself who had a go at winning it only the fourth time, but the question of being the presidential flagbearer of the PDP is not automatic, it is even more and more becoming unlikely, not with a Saraki hoping to put himself forward in the PDP, if the APC should in the end put forward a Tinubu as flag bearer.
The governors in the PDP cannot be dismissed, given the fact that they currently control the treasuries of their different state, and as at the last time, the numbers of states controlled has rebounded to minus of three with the governors of Zamfara, Cross River and Ebonyi all decamping from it to APC.
Yet this was the same party that in power in 2009 controlled 31 states in the federation, which allowed its then party chairman Vincent Ogbulafor to glimpsed into the crystal ball and proclaim from the rooftop that PDP will remain in power for a minimum count of 60 years. Even this was recently repeated by IBB, when he reechoes it again in 2017 that the military originally designed the PDP to be in power for sixty years.
He says “From formation stage, I saw the PDP as IRA (Irish Republican Army). We are the military wing of the PDP. We took a lot of interest. When I say we, I mean my boss, T.Y. Danjuma, Obasanjo, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed and I. We started it,” he explained. “I thank God we came up with the old concept. I believe one of our compatriots, who said PDP would rule for 60 years.” (https://guardian.ng/news/how-we-designed-pdp-to-rule-for-60-years-says-ibb/
But the above contention must not be narrowly reduced to meaning only the PDP, it must be translated to cover the whole of the experiment with bourgeois democracy that the forces so pointed out above within the military gave a 60 years life line to the civilian wing to see how it will fare with powers in its grip. But we will come to the issue of the military and a coup later.
IBB here contends that the PDP can return itself to power, if it puts its house in order, herein is a glimpse of the fact that it originally did not support the Buhari presidency and will not suffer to have it continue to call the shots, even when Buhari is out of office in 2023, if events can be so influenced.
Is there a Jonathan factor to contend with in the PDP that would have any bearing on the 2023 General elections? Can the PDP completely dismiss the prospect of fielding Jonathan as its flag presidential candidate and keep the field open for the APC to wow him over to join them, ignoring the fact that his candidature will have the complete support of the main sections of the Northern wing of the ruling class, a Jonathan presidency is only but a single term.
This primitive type of calculation is a permutation that allows them to bid again for power come 2027, since Jonathan will then be serving a second term in office, and thereafter will constitutional be unable to contest again.
But the matter is not straight forward, he is not like in 2015 in control of the national treasury, so it means that he would not personally be able to mobilize the fund for such a venture, nor will the governors even in the South-south be willing to put their funds behind him for such an adventure…without a guarantee that victory is certain and that the machinery of the federal might both in terms of finances and structures under the Buhari presidency brought into play to support a Jonathan candidature.
It will think twice. We can therefore only assume that the APC even as dishearted as the working masses are with it, it is the only party capable of defeating itself comes 2023. And even for this to happen, events between now and then would have to develop in a direction that allows the working masses to directly come into contention against it, providing political capital with which the opposition can contend against it.
If like in all previous elections since 1999, there is no working people political platform with which the working masses can contend with the bourgeois and their political parties, whether it is the APC or the PDP or any other contraption it so comes up with before then.
But this whole process for a successor to the Buhari presidency come 2023 by the ruling elites will be hunted by the fact that it has no trust in any other member of its class outside of itself, when it comes to the question of wielding political power. Not even the shared ideological grip of neoliberal capitalism among its rank will prevent it from a perilous contention for any wing of the ruling elites to completely trust another wing, not to even talk of contending members from the same wing of the ruling class.
This is as a result definition of interest and self-preservation through the narrow prism of primitive accumulation of wealth and capital has been factored and dictated by the control of political power, given its refusal to develop the means of production, resulting into a consequence of a loss of influence and access to wealth, if at any time there is a change of the titular head of the entire crop of the ruling class.
The choices before the ruling class are like no choices. The Igbo ruling elites are not trusted enough by the Northern ruling elites to hand over Nigeria to them, even when they have demonstrated over and over their loyalty to the conservative agenda of neo liberalism, and with their complete loyalty in the first and second republic as indicative of where its interest lies. Nor is the Tinubu Presidency a bright prospect or alternative given all of the points already made above. Added to this is that the Yoruba ruling elites had had a taste of the presidency under the Obasanjo regime from 1999-2007.
The fact remains that it would find a way around it, power will have to be transferred in one form or the other, for this in itself is crucial for the continued survival of the entire class of the ruling elites… the Buhari regime must come to an end, and it would attempt to replace itself with a successor of its choice, whether this will succeed or not is another question entirely.
But what is certain is that nothing will change, bourgeoisie politics is permanently a politics of compromises, members of the ruling elites unmindful of what wing they come from, their religious persuasion and other primordial factors are philosophically and principally guided by nothing else but the blind greed for wealth by whatever means, compensation of oil wells, political appointments, promises of future zoning that may not necessarily be kept, licenses and access to funds to import fuel, opportunity to own or take hold and ownership of privatized assets of the country will all dangled and flung as carrot to negotiate members of the ruling elites to a compromise and endorse the party stand and choice of presidential flag bearer.
Everything within its might will be done to continue to defend and keep members of the ruling elites afloat as a class, for this reason, members of the ruling elites or whichever wings holds a hardline position will in the end shift to a compromised position to make allowance for the continued survival of their system.
This is so that they can maintain their façade of united ruling class so as to continue with its attack on the working masses, condemning them more into penury as they are made to pay for the failure of their misgovernance all of these past decades, and for the crisis of capitalism, through increasing deregulation, privatization, devaluation of the currency, inflation and of course continued refusal to develop the means of production with all of its attendant benefit to the working masses.
2:7: Undermining the Role of Working Class
All of the above scenario however undermines the role of the working class, and assumes that it is not a contending force. Of course this is the very role assigned to it by bourgeois democracy to be mere observer of events, hands off the decision making in relation to power and politics to the hands of the ruling class.
The working masses are in themselves and with their class a contending agent of history, indeed the decisive force in any revolutionary transformation of society, not only as factored by their numbers to act as voters to determine which section of the ruling elites dominate the polity, but in fully coming into a consciousness of themselves as a class, they can in unison act to determine the direction of history and put in place a polity that will act to defend the interest of the working masses.
It will therefore be naïve to assume that between now and 2023 that the working masses would not come into the arena of struggle, that it will have no need to confront the ruling class, on any policy framework, not when the ruling elites have again put the country under notice for another gregarious exploitative increase in the pump price of fuel in 2022.
Marxists cannot therefore like the ruling elites dismissed the working masses and their right to struggle to defend their right to existence, and an end to atrocious policies aimed at worsening their living conditions. This can possible unleash a host of factors that could push the working masses in a direction to unite and singularly come out against any and all of the projections of the ruling elites and chart an independent political orientation distinct from any of the projections of members of the ruling elites.
There is no doubt that the country is close to a cliff edge, the neoliberal policies of the APC these eight years, which is a carried over from the sixteen years rule of the PDP combined to push the country to a precipice, and could just tip over and cease to exist. But this scenario would in the long run condemn the working masses further down the abyss, which is why it must get organized and seek with its organization, to enact a rescue mission for the country.
The path to revolutionary change is therefore permanently a factor in contention for the working masses as long as the ruling elites continued hold on power is solely defined not as a means to develop the means of production, but merely as a means to keep the working masses pauperized and employ the instruments and paraphernalia of the state to suppress the yearnings and aspiration of the working masses to allow it to continue to loot the wealth of the country for the exclusive use of itself and members of the billionaire club.
We must herein conclude this aspect by stating that the outlining of a perspective by Marxists is not an exact predictive science of what will happen. Marxists do not partake in any mystical crystal ball pseudo viewing, nor do we engage in mumbo-jumbo religious or so call prophetic pronouncement of spiritual insight.
Rather it is armed with the dialectic tools of Marxism with which it diagnosis history and drawing at the workings of history, it identifies a pattern, and with it attempts to draw out an outline, to help prepare the working masses, as to what to expect from its class enemy of the ruling class and allow for the working masses to not be taken by any surprises, and to armed itself in advance against any shock expectation or turn of events so as to be able to organized itself, advance its consciousness into clearly taking up its historical destiny of coming into the arena of struggle not only to confront the ruling elites, but also to end its rule.