Categories
Tasks and Perspectives

Solidarity with all the oppressed Nigerians

Isimala and Yusuf are from Gwadabawa, the local government area of Sokoto, but both now live in  Abuja Nigeria. Isimala was born  1978 (42yrs) and Yusuf 1975 (45yrs) respectively; Isimala has two wives with seven children, while Yusuf has three wives with ten children. Both reviewed that they have been farmers all their lives and did not attend any form of classroom education. 

Rice and corn FarmDeiDeiAbujaNigeria#Yusulf&Isimalay

In Spite of being farmers all their lives, they do not have farmland of their own. They are farming for big oligarchies who have the power to seize land and control the peasant economy. Like many other small farmers that make up this peasantry class, Yusulf and Isimala are in abject poverty. Life has not been easy for them–something true for all the oppressed people of Nigeria, regardless of whether they are out in the farms or taking on wage labor in the city. Like in much of Nigeria, In a time where house rent has risen unprecedentedly in Abuja,  one will wonder with the level of poverty in Nigeria, which Yusulf&Isimala is completely victims of, how have they managed with accommodation? According Yusulf&Isimala, they have lived in Abuja for 14years and have found shelter on any uncompleted buildings and sometimes move under any available cave. It is disheartening that our people are poor in the midst of plenty, is painful that millions of Nigerians are  going to bed hungry,  Nigeria’s poverty crisis is worsening, Oxfam, World Bank data, while politicians keep looting our common resources with numerous tactics,  with corruptions well planned and executed.  

These variables over the years have become powerful divisive tools used in Nigeria, to keep the oppressed class isolated and angry against each other. The oppressors have hid under them to divide and keep us away from each other. Someone like Yususl and Isimala who is Muslims from Northern     Nigeria, have a different political and religious view which is  designed in such way that made them think the right people to be in position of power are muslims, and the best religion is Islam, and this is applicable to someone in the in the Southern Nigeria. This is completely a gamic and designed injustice by the the oppressor to make sure we don’t unite.    

Ethnicity, Religion, political affiliation and gender a gamic of the oppressors . 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/nigerian-ethnic-violence-conflict-amplifies-religious-divide-190820103814529.html

We are one people, all the oppressed people of the world are one, all the oppressed Nigerians are one people. Religion, ethnicity, political affiliation and gender does not matter. We must unite against political corruption and we must unite to change those who have kept us in the cave for many years.

Since Yusulf&Isimala is suffering abject poverty as a result of corruption and Emeka and Olamide are still suffering the same poverty as a result of corruption makes us one people. What we have is two classes of people, two religions, two political parties, the oppressed and oppressors.  

We are one people.  

Musa is a herder from #Abuja. He is passionate to succeed in life, but the system subjected him to this exploitative job. Musa, has never been to any classroom education before. The deprivation is intentional, and is geared towards making him a lesser human who’s psych can be manipulated to serve the master business.

The ethnic tensions, which many have lost their lives to, is a manipulated battle to grab up land by the herders, all while getting protection of the land by farmers. This animosity serves the oligarchies, who profit off the land. Its obvious this divide is manipulation by the oppressors to further divide the people who are oppressed. People like #ShyibuMusa walk miles to feed cattle that he has no economic control over.

He is from #Fulaniethnic group, I am from #Igboethnic group, two ethnic group that the oppressors have manipulated in hopes of dividing us. But I love him and he loves me. He is a victim of oppression and I am a victim of oppression, so we are one. We must, as people from the same oppressed class, unite irrespective of your ethnicity, religion gender, and sex. We must unite in a formidable class movement. This is how we will end oppression of us both.

I stand in solidarity with him and I feel his suffering as if it were my own. Workers of the world unite.

Categories
Educational Examples

The Igbo women’s revolution of 1929.

Comrades, let us be clear: there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. In Africa, the contribution of women in the fight against imperialism must be acknowledged for its crucial role in our revolutionary journey. In this article, we tell the story of the 1929 women’s revolution in Southeastern Nigeria. 

What were they revolting against?

Women were protesting against the exploitative and oppressive rule by warrant chiefs, unjust court systems, and taxes imposed on market women. All of this is rooted in British colonial rule. Warrant chiefs were the result of British colonialism, with British imperialists appointing chief-status to some of the indigenous elite. This resulted in some holding unprecedented levels of individual authority over many colonies; for example, prior to colonialism, the Igbo people made decisions through debate or through general consensus, not through the declaration of chiefs or kings. Warrant chiefs became increasingly exploitative, accumulating wealth at the expense of their subjects. Further, this colonialist intervention worsened (or in some cases, created) patriarchal systems of oppression, as only men were allowed to be warrant chiefs. 

Much of this exploitation occured through the court and taxation systems, which had now become corrupted thanks to colonial influence on the political system through the elevated status of warrant chiefs and the presence of British officials. For example, warrant chiefs began seizing property from their subjects, and they would imprison anyone who spoke out against them. Later, colonial administrators announced intentions to impose a special taxes on the Igbo market women, which would of course lead to the disproportionate success of the new European-owned stores:

“These women were responsible for supplying the food to the growing urban populations in Calabar, Owerri, and other Nigerian cities. They feared the taxes would drive many of the market women out of business and seriously disrupt the supply of food and non-perishable goods available to the populace.”

Aba Women’s Riots, Marissa Evans, Black Past

Forced economic reliance is a persistent tactic seen in colonial expansion, especially in current, “post-colonial” imperialism. For example, if you check out our other article Capitalism in Nigeria, and a call for unity of the proletariat!, we go over the environmental degradation caused primarily by western oil companies. This imperialist resource extraction destroys local soils and waterways, making it impossible for Nigerians to rely on farming and fishing.

Thus, they’re forced to rely on imports into the country, fostering this economic reliance on the imperialist powers exploiting them. This is also why the myth that technological development can “fix” the poverty of so-called undeveloped countries is so dangerous. It’s literally saying that addressing poverty in these countries can be solved only by more imperialist intervention…it’s masking the true cause of the problem, and it’s often framing the “helpers” as those seeking to profit further off economic exploitation. This is often nothing more than a reshuffling of exploitation meant to manufacture the consent of the exploited parties involved, and redirect anger towards the parties that aren’t really responsible. The misdirection of anger is very likely why local warrant chiefs were granted control of colonies. This masks the true source of systemic power. Thankfully, the Igbo women were not fooled by this: “Although much of the anger was directed against the warrant chiefs, most Nigerians knew the source of their power, British colonial administrators.”

What happened? 

In November 1929, thousands of Igbo women took to the streets in protest. This revolutionary action was led by rural women in the Owerri and Carlaba provinces, as well as in smaller nearby towns.

“Using the traditional practice of censoring men through all night song and dance ridicule (often called ‘sitting on a man’), the women chanted and danced, and in some locations forced warrant chiefs to resign their positions. The women also attacked European owned stores and Barclays Bank and broke into prisons and released [political] prisoners. They also attacked Native Courts run by colonial officials, burning many of them to the ground. Colonial Police and troops were called in. They fired into the crowds that had gathered at Calabar and Owerri, killing more than 50 women and wounding over 50 others. During the two month “war” at least 25,000 Igbo women were involved in protests against British officials.”

Aba Women’s Riots, Marissa Evans, Black Past

This gathering of women was compromised of women from six different ehthnic groupsㅡlbibio, andoni, ogoni, bonny, opobo, and Igbo. These women came together in solidarity to fight colonialism and Patriarchal systems of oppression, despite the emerging ethnic and religious tensions (which were ultimately rooted in colonial rule). This event marked the first major anti-colonial revolt led by women in west Africa, and many anti-colonial movements in Africa calling for independence from imperialist forces were built around this very revolt.

Did it work?

Indeed the purpose of the revolt was achieved! During this time, many warrant chiefs were forced to resign, and sixteen courts were destroyed. Colonial authorities were forced to drop their plans to impose a tax on the market women, and the power of warrant chiefs was significantly weakened. In 1930, the colonial government was even forced to abolish the system of warrant chiefs altogether, and several women were appointed to the native court systems.  

Nigeria, today.

Currently, Nigeria is facing severe oppression. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing more Nigerians dying of security officers than increasingly violent policing than the virus itself. With ports closing down, many are more fearful of starvation than coronavirus:

Njoku and her husband relied on their eldest son, who is into furniture work, for their daily meals. Unfortunately, that source of income has been put on hold since the state was on lockdown about four weeks ago. […]

The grey-haired woman has heard of government palliatives, food and a sum of N20,000 the Federal Government is giving out to vulnerable people like her to cushion the effect of lockdown but none has yet to come her way.  ‘I have not received any palliatives from government,’ she disclosed.

“‘I have become sick because of hunger. If not for God and help from some generous people, maybe I would have died by now,’ the grandmother bemoaned as she began to share her ongoing excruciating moments.

We’re old, poor and hungry, yet we’ve received no cash from FG –Lagos’ vulnerable persons, Punch News

This reliance on imports is explicitly linked to environmental degradation decreasing the viability of farming and fishing. This environmental degradation, in turn, is directly connected to western oil corporations, such as Shell and Exon-Mobile.

This forced reliance on imports is now resulting in widespread hunger throughout the country. Beyond this, as the above article indicates, help is not being sent to the families most in need of assistance. Instead, they’re met with harsh policing under the guise of safety, as if people aren’t starving, they’re just willingly disregarding quarantine. They’re not, they are hungry and in need of support. This is the same government that turned away during violent, forced evictions in waterfront communities. This is beyond corruption, this is a slow genocide.


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For more on the history of feminism, check out our related article: