For a while within the early a part of Nigeria’s Second Republic (1979-1983), a number of teams within the Nigerian Left debated what the motion’s relationship with the opposition Individuals’s Redemption Party (PRP) must be. A number of Leftists had been concerned within the formation of the whereas a number of extra joined after formation. However the bulk of “onerous core” Leftists, notably Marxists, remained exterior the which, right this moment, could be described as “radical left-of-centre”: left-of-centre on account of its ideological placement and radical in its strategies. Of the 19 states into which the nation was then divided, PRP managed the governments of two: Kaduna and Kano – the place Kaduna included the current Katsina state and Kano included the current Jigawa. The was modestly represented within the Nationwide Meeting.
That PRP managed the governments of previous Kaduna and Kano states and had a presence within the nationwide seat of energy in Lagos meant that the and the governments it managed accepted the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979. They operated that Structure and had been certain by it. This authorized relationship with the Structure was one of many biggest subjective and ideological obstacles to the formal entry of a number of Leftists into the PRP. And this was the setting for a revered veteran Leftist to cost, in a closed assembly, after which in a world Marxist journal, that these Leftists who refused to affix the PRP on account of the latter working the Nigerian Structure had been ignorant and lazy arm-chair revolutionaries.
Extra straight and substantively, the comrade declared that the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979, was enough for the Nigerian Left to make a revolution if it was really all in favour of making a revolution! The “gates of hell” broke open after this cost. Comrades didn’t go to blows solely as a result of there could be nobody to separate the battle. Apart from, if preventing had damaged out and the police had are available in there would have been enough proof to cost the 2 sides with any offence – starting from “rioting” to “treasonable felony”. That was greater than 35 years in the past.
This near-violent debate over the potential of utilizing the Nigerian Structure to make a revolution, within the explicit method the query introduced itself in 1980 or 1981, has since been resolved by historical past and transcended ideological and politically by the Nigerian Left. However the normal query of the connection of the Left to the elemental regulation of the Nigerian State stays. So, what is that this elementary regulation, this structure? How does the Left see it? How ought to the Left see it? Ought to the altering of the Structure – together with “popular-democratic restructuring” – be one of many present key calls for of the Left or one of many key components of the Individuals’s Manifesto? If the Left involves energy right this moment – alone or in a coalition – will altering the Structure be one in every of its rapid priorities?
Let me shortly eliminate the final query. As essential as a radical evaluation of the Structure could seem, it can’t be one of many first acts of a Left authorities on coming to energy. Radical and big redeployment and redistribution of the nation’s sources in favour of the working, toiling, poor and de-classed plenty and lifting of layers of burden from their shoulders would be the first symbolic and substantive acts. And these will likely be carried out not by initiating a constitution-review course of – an extended course of – however by stretching to the restrict the provisions of the current Structure. No regulation will likely be damaged, no courtroom order will likely be disobeyed. Solely two defensive steps will likely be taken: putting the revolutionary measures straight earlier than the folks and summoning folks’s attorneys throughout the land. Structure-review will likely be carried out later: not a lot later, however later.
Now to the opposite questions. The Structure, within the sense we use it right here, is the elemental regulation or physique of legal guidelines instituted by a state or adopted by a state to rule over an outlined territory. Logically, the Structure begins by defining the state whose instrument of rule it’s. It then defines the Individuals coated by the authority of that state and the operation of the Structure. Someplace within the introductory segments of the Structure a declare is made – in a single type or one other – that the Structure is an embodiment of the desire of the folks. This declare is neither utterly false nor utterly true. Slightly, it’s ideological. For the folks should have been concerned – in a single type or one other, in a single marginal or superficial method or one other, at one stage of deception or one other – within the manufacturing of that doc. However the Structure is, in essence, the desire of the state. And the state is, in essence, the desire of the ruling lessons.
The Structure makes the declare of “common” illustration as a result of the state makes use of it to rule over all the territory and the entire folks – and never a fraction of the territory or the ruling class alone. And since the Structure makes such a declare it’s compelled, whatever the means of its coming into being and with out mitigating its essence, to comply with some concessions to the folks in content material and in type (together with the usage of language). A ruling class or a state which refuses to make concessions and compromises is lowering the roads to vary to just one: revolution. No state, no ruling class needs to be completely in a state of siege or turmoil. And the technique of stopping this – so long as doable – is thru concessions and compromises, together with constitutional reforms. These concessions and compromises, as minor as they could seem when they’re snatched from the ruling class, could also be known as right into a decisive function at a future essential second.
A Structure which is a bundle of lies, and nothing else, will lack all credibility and will likely be ineffective to the ruling class and the state. It’s these compromises and concessions that the 1980 “Leftist protagonists” of the 1979 Structure insisted might be used and must be used to advance the favored wrestle. What they didn’t say or didn’t say convincingly or weren’t allowed to say was that this use of the Structure wouldn’t exhaust the types of wrestle or be the best type of wrestle within the revolutionary arsenal of the Nigerian Left.
What the “Leftist protagonists” of the 1979 Structure had been subsequently saying can now be appreciated by way of the prism of 2018 and set out in a collection of linked propositions: One: Though traditionally, the reform wrestle, together with the wrestle for a extra democratic structure, has been an integral a part of the revolutionary wrestle in Nigeria, the latter can not and shouldn’t be lowered to the previous. In different phrases, the agenda of the Nigerian Left is way wider and deeper than the reform wrestle, together with the wrestle for a brand new structure. Two: The restricted democratic provisions within the Structure might be used to wage each electoral wrestle and normal popular-democratic wrestle in a fashion that the ruling class and the state had not envisaged.
Three: Exposing the constraints of the Structure is a revolutionary wrestle which, in sure conjunctures could be extra successfully waged in precise popular-democratic engagements – together with elections and, when doable, precise governance. 4: In taking part in electoral and governance politics the place the Left shouldn’t be in energy – even whether it is marginally in workplace – taking part Leftists ought to search, acquire and retain organized revolutionary backing.