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On a darkling plain

On a darkling plain

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I have borrowed this title from the title of one of the seminar works of the late Environmentalist, minority rights activist, Ogoni Nationalist, and Nigerian patriot – Kenule B Saro Wiwa.

And I will have to preface this very brief commentary with my own adaptation of one of the most enduring quotes from the great revolutionary proletarian thinker and organiser – Karl Marx; voted the last millennia”s greatest thinker by Time.

‘Nothing Human is alien to me (and I add), just as Not a Single Human Folly surprises me’.

Marx’s original without my addition was a favourite for my late friend, brother, compatriot, colleague, and Comrade, Revolutionary Don Wale Salami, whom we also called Danladi.

Since we began this phase of our collective journey in October 2017, after nearly five years of direct preparation; since we announced the Project to Take Back Nigeria and our candidacy and aspiration for the Presidency of Nigeria in 2019, along with the effort to build a Movement to Take Back Nigeria; I have found myself reflecting on the above quote from Marx, and found myself having to make the addition.

Truly speaking, what this journey has so far revealed substantiates my wholesale acceptance of what Marx said.

Nothing truly human, and in the nature and character of the human behind is really alien to me; and even more so, not one single folly of the human condition any longer surprises me.

This is not the end of this journey yet, so it is not the time to write a memoir. But we shall write the history of this phase as well.

We set out to build a mass movement, one owned and driven by all those who accepts its program and flock to its banner.

We reached out to people, who suddenly became unreachable in practice while claiming to be with us by word of mouth.
We reached out to those who are leaders in their own rights but who turn out to give the excuse that we were not providing leadership.

In all of these though, the most amazing enthusiasm has been from unexpected angles and sources, from new and younger elements. My peers and generation it seems have been too tempered by the lessons of defeat to take up any daring, and potentially risky cause.

Yet as Trostky once said – ‘ Where tradition is lacking (and I add) – or waning, a striking example becomes necessary, even pertinent.

I am a revolutionary socialist, and there is a Socialist Party of Nigeria; I am a leading civil society activist and a leader of civil society, and there are a lot of Civil Society activists and organisations around; I am a professional – a development strategist and governance, peace and security expert.

But more importantly, I am an ordinary citizen, an anti-establishment person, and indeed a Pauper running for president.

This is why our strategy is to build a movement owned and driven by the people.

I am in this race for a reason – to promote our collective national liberation and social emancipation. I am the only anti neo-liberal candidate in the presidential race.

I am the only candidate making the case for basic welfare services as public services. I am the only candidate talking about democratic community self-government, as well as Democratic control and management of the economy. I am the only candidate convinced that Chapter 2 of the 1999 CFRN can and must be enforced.

I am the only candidate talking about equitable redistribution of wealth, and talking about integrated national economic and human development planning framework.

And I am about the only candidate asking us to collectively resource this movement to Take Back Nigeria. I am the only candidate without money to give around to buy support, purchase conscience and votes.

And for the avoidance of doubt, regardless of what happens, I am in this race until the very end. And regardless of the outcome of 2019 elections, which we can, and shall win; the Take Back Nigeria Movement is here to stay.

So to conclude, Nothing Human is Alien to me, and not a single Human Folly Surprises me.

Jaye Gaskia is the Convener of Take Back Nigeria Movement, and a 2019 Presidential Aspirant.

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