By Prof. Albert O. Nnoli
Beware of the perfidy of the petty bourgeoisie. The petty bourgeois, members of the ruling class in Nigeria, are fickle, untrustworthy, perfidious and unreliable as comrades in political and other battles. They would lead you on and, inevitably leave you in the lurch.
Since 1950, they have propagated the false, unpatriotic and despicable narrative that Nigerian politics is all about the struggle of ethnic and religious groups for power and national resources. The propaganda in promotion of this falsehood has been so successful that practically every politically aware Nigerian now believes that ethnic politics is the reality of Nigerian existence. So they act accordingly.
The politicians lead the rest in this ignominious political behaviour but are unable to control all the ethno-religious forces they unleash: Boko Haram, OPC, MASSOB, MOSOP, Niger Delta militants, IPOB, and Arewa Youths. Perfidiously, they leave them in the lurch. Worse still they seek to destroy these their offshoots. And they never blame themselves for the resultant tension and civil strife. The politics of mea culpa is still a pipe dream in Nigeria. Just as the politics of sharia during the Obasanjo regime gave birth to Boko Haram, the politics of resource control birthed the Niger Delta militants while the politics of marginalization unleashed the OPC, MASSOB, MOSOP, and IPOB.
Therefore, the fundamental source of political tension and civil strife in Nigeria is the political and propaganda environment, as well as political behaviour created and nurtured by the petty bourgeois politicians that gave birth to these movements, not the movements themselves. As long as this environment persists, these movements or others like them will continue to emerge. The petty bourgeois will fuel their emergence but abandon them in the heat of battle. Frantz Fanon warned the masses about this perfidious nature of the petty bourgeoisie. So did the British colonialists, and the Zikist National Vanguard, a progressive wing of the petty bourgeoisie.
The British colonialists characterized the Nigerian petty bourgeois as “unreliable, undisciplined, lacking in integrity, self-control, and respect for the law of any kind. They quarrelled endlessly, sometimes with passion, and not frequently on idealism but largely for personal reasons. They envied one another, and found it impossible to exhibit team spirit.” Mokwugo Okoye of the Zikist National Vanguard described them as “commercializing politics, embracing tribalism, graft, corruption of power, and inordinately delighted in debilitating concupiscence. Their character and causes are defined by a long tradition of evasions, dubieties and nonchalant improvisations and opportunistic accommodations.”
Damn the petty bourgeoisie!
Down with petty bourgeois chauvinism!
Long live the class struggle!
A Luta Continua.
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