The recent outburst of the APC’s Bola Tinubu about the Igbo in Lagos generated a chain of reactions and tensions between both ethnic groups. If this combustible politics of ethnic mobilization by Tinubu and co goes unchecked it might lead to avoidable chaos. Saddening as it is if that happens it will be the poor working people who will bear the brunt immediately and not Tinubu.
It is important we understand the interests behind a position to guide our action in response. When Tinubu made the erroneous position about the Igbos in Lagos he wasn’t thinking about the interest of Yoruba working people, rather he was thinking about his interest and that of his allies from different ethnic groups. It is the exploiters that gain by dividing working-class people and sowing seeds of disunity and hatred.
The bosses are aware that when the working people are united and determined, they can destroy the exploitative system which allows the bosses to feed fat on our commonwealth and build workers democracy.
Tinubu started this new wave of the division to prepare the ground for massive violence in some areas of the state come this Saturday. On one hand he started fanning the embers of ethnic discord to mobilize support from people who still have primordial illusions in “tribal” nationalism. On the other, this is setting the stage to disrupt elections or intimidate people from voting in places where APC lacks popularity.
Due to years of Tinubu and his party’s failures in the state and sharp departure from the pro-welfare regime of his predecessors such as Lateef Jakande, he has nothing tangible to mobilize working-class people with, hence he resulted to peddling hatred.
The truth is concrete, and it is true that it is not only Tinubu that employs this divisive tool. The ruling elites from all ethnic groups do employ the division along either religious, ethnic, regional and gender lines. None of these elements care about the interest of the working and poor masses. Jimi Agbaje of PDP has equally used the ethnic card consistently to mobilize support from his DPA’s days and over the last three electoral cycles in which he has run under the banner of PDP. There is no difference between these people as their parties are united in attacking our democratic rights and stealing the wealth our labor creates.
Working people of the world are not bond to lands. We bond in solidarity by being collectively exploited by the bosses’ class. This is why workers of all nations have to unite and fight these oppressors and their antics. So yes the world at large and Lagos in particular belongs to the working masses who will democratically control, explore and direct its affairs unlike the bosses who currently plunder and exploit the people and environment!
Some Yoruba who feel the need to defend “their land” arose to support the conscious blunder of Tinubu and co with the unpopular statement that “Lagos belongs to the Yoruba” similarly the Igbo feel the need to defend their material stake and security naively reemphasized “Lagos is no man’s land”. But all these reactions do no good for working-class people, rather consciously or unconsciously it makes sections of the working masses to do the bidding of the bosses’ class.
There is a particular question that begs honest answer is, “who now owns Lagos?” Practically speaking, Lagos is not owned by the poor working masses be they Igbo or Yoruba. Rather Lagos is owned by the ruling elites who subjugate us and exploit the labor of working-class people thereby appropriating our common wealth massively to themselves.
Lagos is being controlled by the few elites from different ethnic groups that own big property, including the majority of the lands and estates in the state. They then charge us for living with exorbitant rents! Lagos is currently owned by the oppressors of different tongues that charges us fee for using the road in the name of a toll fee! Lagos is owned by Tinubu and co whom through AlphaBeta takes a percentage of the state’s revenue and leave the rest for 20 million Lagosians to share crumbs!!
So, ours as the working-class, youth and poor masses is not to defend the interests of Tinubu and his co-travelers at the expense of our collective interest – a new world! Our role is to unite to take back our Lagos, our history and our future from these set of bandits and exploiters. We should remember that what connect us is stronger than the divisions they are trying to whip up to divide us with.
We should rather unite our ranks and fight for revolution from below; a concrete step towards that is come this Saturday (9th of March, 2019) we should show them we have no illusion in their antics and unintelligent rhetoric by voting against both PDP/APC and vote for all pro-masses candidates in the African Action Congress (AAC). We should also join in the mass actions against ethnicized politics being organized by organizations like the Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL), Alliance for the Masses Political Alternative (AMPA)-Take It Back coalition and the AAC.
Working people united and determined cannot be defeated!!
Workers and Youth…Unite and Fight for Revolution from below!!!
For: Socialist Workers and Youth League
(SWL Lagos Branch)