Further Notes To The Nigerian Left By Edwin Madunagu
The Nigerian Left has largely neglected, if not deliberately avoided a renewed ideological struggle which has become a strong factor in both the general turbulence and violence enveloping the whole country and the associated power struggle within the ruling class. The neglected or badly engaged ideological struggle may simply be described as “argument over the birth of Nigeria,” that is, argument over how Nigeria came into being and what would have happened if Britain, an imperial colonial power, had not invaded our lands, defeated or deceived our ancestors, gathered them together and imposed itself on them. The argument then proceeds to the desirability or otherwise of returning to the status quo-ante 1900, 1906, 1914, 1935, 1945, 1952, 1960, or 1966, that is, returning to the situation existing before one of the major pre-1966 landmarks of our collective history.
It is to be hoped that my description of what is now happening in the country as associated with (but not reducible to) a power struggle within the ruling class will not, itself, spark off an angry argument. Let me briefly explain myself. Because Nigeria’s ruling class is – for now! – economically, socially, politically, and ideologically hegemonic in the country, every serious struggle within it threatens to integrate itself with popular struggle. And I employ the term “popular” in the ordinary Leftist sense of involving working, toiling, poor and de-classed masses and expressing their interests.