There is a first major shot in support of the Nigerian ‘revolutionaries’ from the from the radical Left community. Even as the debate on the correctness or otherwise of the Coalition for Revolution, (CORE)’s planned action rages on, Joint Action Front, (JAF) – the pro-labour civil society partner of the organised labour in Nigeria is calling for the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore arrested and detained in connection with the CORE revolution. Not only that, the leading force in the Labour and Civil Society Coalition, (LASCO), is demanding an end to all forms of repressive measures, illegal and unjust arrest and detention, intolerance and executive recklessness and attacks against dissenting voices, activists and the opposition. JAF is equally insisting on respect for the rights and freedom of all opposition.
Talks of a revolution is in the air in Nigeria. Nobody can predict a revolution that would succeed or not because the word success is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder in that sort of situation. In that case, there is something of collective opportunism similar to 2011 going on in Nigeria now. What generality of people are looking for would appear to be any move that can sufficiently harass the Buhari government, not a revolution because a successful revolution will upturn the elite privileges in Nigeria. They know that. So, why call it a revolution, a more involving theory and practice for which nobody has prepared anybody? Why not just call it a protest, just like 2012? The question on the lips has thus come to whether the revolutionaries are risk takers or they simply do not know the implications of what they are talking about or they are suffering from both, mindless of the implications for those who have no voice in all these.
This is the question JAF is answering by saying in a statement by Dr. Dipo Fashina and Abiodun Aremu, chairperson and secretary respectively that President Buhari led APC had intensified political and socio-economic attacks and violence against the poor masses of Nigeria instead of addressing the legitimate demands of the working people, students and youth as demanded by the Coalition for Revolution (CORE)
Claiming report of a brutal and dehumanising arrest of Omoyele Sowore it describes as a frontline radical activist and Presidential Candidate of the African Alliance Congress (AAC) in the 2019 General Elections, JAF stresses having restated own commitment to the struggle for systemic change since 2003, including during the January 2012 uprising. It recalls its response to then candidate Buhari’s appeal for votes in 2015 as follows:
“Irrespective of the party that wins the presidential election, the crisis in the economy is bound to continue because the economic agenda of the two major parties (PDP and APC) remains dependent on oil and capitalist policies of privatisation and deregulation. These policies are operated and championed by servants of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose main business is to steal our national wealth for the use of the exploiters in Europe, United States of America, Japan, Asia, etc. These agents cannot defend the working people, the poor and the oppressed anywhere”.
It also recalls its statement on the eve of the 2019 General elections to the effect that: “With close to four years of the APC-Buhari Government, what are the prevalences in the polity? The crises in the economy are deepening, manifesting in hike in fuel prices, destruction of the value of the Naira, inflation and high prices of goods and services, rising unemployment and job losses, excruciating poverty, poor power supply and super exploitation of consumers through estimated billing, auctioning of public infrastructure and national assets, arrears of unpaid workers’ salaries, violence and insecurity of life across country, etc. Beyond organizing resistance against all these anti-people policies and impunity in Governance, there is the fundamental issue of what should be done to truly transform the country socio-economically and politically. For us in JAF, we have resolved to continue the mobilisation of all organizations of the working people and the poor masses in Nigeria to join forces towards putting forward A POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE to the Nigerian People”.
It remains unclear whether this is a parting of ways between JAF and the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) at their major intersection at LASCO or a mere disagreement. While labour is not moving with the CORE project, JAF is sympathetic.