An intellectual referent of the PRP, Prof Attahiru Jega, says it is wrong of Intervention to read the 40th anniversary lecture on Mallam Aminu Kano as a PRP affair. In a quick reaction to the online platform’s interpretive snap on the anniversary lecture, Prof Jega puts his perspective across as follows:
Thanks for sharing. Your claim of PRP shifting from radical populism to ‘radical pluralism’, while it is a catchy phraseology, is misplaced, if not wrong. Simply because the event is not being organised by PRP itself. Rather, It is being organised by Mambayya House, an academic/research outfit, which promotes inclusive dialogue (if you like ‘pluralism’) on national issues.
Mambayya chose the theme, framed the topic, and chose the key participants, and invited the guests.
Prof Jega, the immediate past National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) teaches Political Science at Nigeria’s Bayero University, Kano
The inference he disagrees with is reproduced as follows:
No less than six readers have queried Intervention’s phrase that the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) might have transformed from an essentially radical populist platform to radical pluralism. Some said it is not clear, others are asking what that refers to and yet others are not sure if it is a correct inference.
All of the questions are taken as indication that readers are sensitive to the PRP, notwithstanding its relative electoral absence at the moment. And they want to be on top of whatever is said about the party. It seems safe to say they care about the party.
Well, Intervention will explain. In the story reporting the official confirmation of the 40th anniversary lecture on the passage of Mallam Aminu Kano, Intervention listed all the tendencies it could read off the invitation card and concluded that the era of essentialism seemed to be over.
Among the tendencies Intervention spotted on the card are Prof Nuhu Yaqub, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja who is delivering the lecture on what was called the mega billion puzzle of “Democracy and the Challenges of Good Governance in Nigeria: What Next After the 2023 General Elections?” He is a technocrat. Technocracy is not strange to PRP politics but not as ideologues except if one takes Prof Dandatti Abdulkadir who was also a Vice-Chancellor. But Dandatti was together with Prof Ahmadu Jalingo and Dr. M T Liman (Education Minister under Abacha) original ideologues rather than technocrats of NEPU. In any case, Dandatti went on to become an ambassador.
The second is Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State who could be taken as a legatee of the Borno Youth Movement rather than essential PRP. He will be chairing the session. His colleague from Yobe was more in industry before politics captured him. The PRP was wide enough to have small business holders in its embrace but Gov Mai Mala Buni is not a shop keeper but an industrialist. He makes a different tendency on the list. Then the Royal Father of the day – which is the most interesting, given his symbolism of what the PRP’s progenitor fought. Above all, the invitation card, interestingly, came all in red-ink. There are two discussants – Prof Bawa Hassan Gusau and Prof Member George-Genyi, from Bayero University, Kano and the Benue State University, Makurdi, respectively. There is a spatial as well as gender significance in that pairing.
So, what we see is PRP bringing in someone from Borneo Youth Movement background, someone from business background, someone from middle belt background, a conservative discussant and a traditional ruler which was an anathema for the old NEPU/PRP type. That’s why we can talk of movement from radical populism to radical pluralism.
It is on the basis of this observable pluralism that the claim was made about a shift from radical populism to radical pluralism. capitalist in the proper sense of the word. It is a transposition from what is happening to socialist struggle, especially in Latin America whereby the singularity of the working class is de-emphasised in favour of confluences of victimhood of capitalism such as gender, environmental and indigenous rights, cultural rights and region specific rights into a fighting force that rely on hegemony as a strategy to put the question of power on the agenda. In that case, the PRP can be said to be moving in tandem with the radical democratic politics trend rather than self-alienating essentialism.