Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



For a Working Peoples’ Political Alternative Now!

By Ayo Ademiluyi

In an apparent replication of the declaration of an “Islamic State” in some parts of Iraq and Syria by the terrorist ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Shams) group, Boko Haram insurgents recently declared Gwoza, Borno State as an “Islamic Caliphate”.

The terrorists have also in recent weeks taken over a number of towns and villages in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. The government claimed that some of the seized communities have been recaptured. This could be true given the recent air strikes campaign by the military. But some of these claims have been disputed by the residents according to the media reports. For instance, the people of Bama under the aegis of Bama Development Association (BDA), said at a press conference on September 11, “From Monday to date, about 11 days now, Bama, the second largest local government area in Borno, is under the custody and control of the dreaded Boko Haram sect; this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”(Leadership Newspaper, September 12)

However, the fact the terrorists could seize those communities and declared one of them as an Islamic Caliphate in the first place shows the utter failure of the government and the military. It should be recalled that Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states have been under emergency military rule since May last year. Besides, it is now over 150 days that the over 200 school girls have been in the captivity of Boko Haram.

The glaring failure of the military in the war against Boko Haram is latent within the crisis arising from the profiteering that is being made from the “war against terrorism” by the top military brass and many ruling class elements. We should recall that rank-and-file of the armed forces and police, with their wives, recently protested against the deliberate deployment of troops to war against the terrorists with outdated weapons.

The mass of working people must not to have illusions in the state apparatus but need to build mass based self defence committees that are subject to democratic control by the communities on all terms, including the use of arms to resist further sectarian madness by the Boko Haram insurgents. Communities under terrorists’ siege must be prepared to build such inter-ethnic and inter-religious mass based self defence committees and resist attempts to be divided along ethnic and religious lines.

The mass organisations of the working people, including the entire trade union movement and pro-working people bodies, must equally denounce this savage attack and be prepared to build united mass actions against this latest madness. Such mass actions must equally extend solidarity with rank-and-file elements of the armed forces who are being subjected to victimization for protesting against their poor conditions of living and service under the charge of “munity”. The workers’ movement must equally demand trade union rights for the rank-and-file of the armed forces and the police with right to participate in the key decision making process relating to welfare, weaponry among others.

But there is no purely military solution to the Boko Haram insurgency. Past military brutality and execution of prisoners has not crushed Boko Haram. While Boko Haram fighters might be defeated in individual battles, particularly because they do not have any air power, their military advances are not simply the result of the Nigerian military’s weakness or the weapons Boko Haram have apparently got from Libyan arsenals. It is clear that sections of youth, embittered because none of the rotten cliques of the Nigerian ruling class care about the poverty stricken north-east, have joined with the religious fanatics leading Boko Haram. Only a policy of popular military defence against religious or tribal violence combined with a programme to socially and economically liberate the working people and poor can both end the violence and offer a real future to the masses.

But none of the different sections of ruling elite in the major political parties, PDP and APC, can offer such a programme. This is a key reason why they have failed woefully to seriously fight Boko Haram. In fact some of them are using the terrorist activities as a means of gaining self-serving political advantage against rival robbers in the struggle for political power.

This has further underscored the need for a serious and committed effort to building a genuine mass working people’s political alternative, which can steer an unrelenting revolutionary mass movement against the entire ruling elite and end the sectarian madness of such offshoots of capitalist crisis such as Boko Haram insurgents. This must be earnestly pursued by learning from the mistakes of the past such as the abandonment of the Labour Party by the trade union leaders to bourgeois elements and without half-hearted measures such as the declaratory message aiming to reclaim the Labour Party while not abandoning class collaborationist politics.

While the members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) have embarked on a legal and political battle for the actualization of its registration, we are prepared to participate in serious and genuine effort within the broader workers’ movement to build a genuine political movement. This could be by genuinely reclaiming the Labour Party and building a mass working people party or launching a new fighting mass working people’s political alternative.