What we set out to do:
In October 2017, the Take Back Nigeria (TBN) announced the engagement with the 2019 general elections in a process which we branded the TBN 2019 Initiative. We were not only clear about our mission and vision set out in our numerous programme documents (The TBN manifesto, The TBN Campaign Platform strategy, as well as in subsequent documents such as the TBN Governance Agenda and TBN Policy Thrust among others], we were also set for ourselves certain milestones and expected outcomes.
Now, 12 months later, in October of 2018, and in the aftermath of the conclusion of the political primary processes, it is time once again to take stock, to reflect on the journey so far and the road that we have travelled. We have to set out the tasks for the coming period in the new phase that we are entering.
But let us, however, begin by recalling what we had set out to achieve, and the strategy we had adopted to achieve these.
First, our preferred option of engagement was to launch a massive campaign for legalisation of independent candidacy and contest the Presidential and other elections as a network and alliance of independent candidates who endorse our manifesto.
It was clear to us that building such a network and alliance of independent candidates, would require not only building our movement, the TBN into a mass political movement; but also the construction of strategic partnerships with anti establishment and pro-masses social and political formations, including political parties across the country, in the context of a united front, as opposed to a popular front strategy.
Second, our alternative option failing the first option was to seek out anti-establishment and pro-masses political parties and enter into a strategic partnership with such parties, as part of the united front strategy, and utilising the platform of such parties to directly engage with the 2019 General elections.
Overarchingly as well, we had also set out to build our movement the TBN into a left leaning nationwide, pan Nigerian, popular mass political movement of socialist orientation, with presence in every part of our federation.
The road since October 2017:
Now that the party primary season has come and gone, where are we with respect to our vision and mission? and with the goals we had set out for ourselves to achieve?
First, we launched a successful campaign with aspiration for the Presidency of Federal Republic of Nigeria, becoming a beacon of courage for others to come out.
We launched a campaign based on programmes, that was focused on issues and developed policy outlines for the realisation of participatory, human and national development-oriented governance. At the heart of our issue-based campaigns was the restructuring and retooling of governance processes and institutions to ensure the delivery of effective, efficient, and accessible public service delivery in basic welfare and infrastructural services. By our example we compelled a few other aspirants to also conduct policy-focused campaigns based on programmes. We, in particular raised the issue of the enforcement of Chapter 2 of the 1999 CFRN (as amended) and put it on the front burner.
And although we lost the presidential primary of our adopted party, we did take part in a party primary, and we are moving on from there. We are on the way to realising our grand objective of building a nationwide mass political movement that can not only challenge the establishment for political power, but also govern. In this respect, we are continuing to build Take Back Nigeria into a movement with active membership and presence across all the states of the federation in addition to the FCT and spread across all the six geo-political zones of the country.
And although we still count our membership and supporter base in the thousands, the foundation has been laid to harvest from the mass discontent that is certain to intensify post 2019 general elections. We shall count our active membership in hundreds of thousands and millions in the near future.
Third, when we entered into strategic partnership with our adopted party, we undertook this in accordance with our United Front strategy and did not dissolve ourselves into the party. The TBN remained structurally intact, and it is this that has enabled us to survive and emerge even stronger from the onslaught of establishment forces.
Furthermore, we have been able to, and are engaged in constructing other and more strategic partnerships with other anti-establishment and pro masses social forces and formations. And as a result, we are gradually realising our objective of playing a central, conscious and decisive role in the emergence and evolution of a united front movement of the popular masses for national liberation and social emancipation of our country and people.
The road to the future:
Set in this context, where do we go from here as a movement?
- Our first task is to redouble our efforts and consolidate on the progress we have made in the last twelve months.
- Secondly, we must ensure that we extend our reach and presence to all the states of the federation, as well as the FCT and in the diaspora.
- Third, we are launching a drive to take into the movement 5-15 Volunteer TBN Mobilisers (VTMs) in every Polling Unit across the country. These 5-15 VTMs in every Polling Unit [PU] will constitute the Movement Cell of the TBN for the PU where they are based. Our goal is to achieve this objective over the next twelve months. By October 2019 we shall have a Movement VTM membership base of between 600,000 and 1.8 million dedicated and active TBN
- Fourthly, in order to be able to achieve this we shall be launching a membership drive Campaign to take into the party a pool of Volunteer TBN Organisers [VTOs] – one VTO for every LGA/LCDA, One VTO for each of the 109 Senatorial Districts, Three VTO responsible for each of the 36 states + the FCT, and Five VTOs responsible for each of the six geo-political zones of the country. These VTOs shall directly manage the VTMs.
- Fifthly, we shall take steps over the next twelve months to ensure that we apply for and fulfil all the conditions for party registration with INEC.
- Sixthly, we shall continue our engagement with the 2019 General Elections by turning the platform of our movement into a tribune of the people, with a view to undertaking robust and no holds barred critique of every party, every candidate, and every electoral program/manifesto. We shall do this without shying away from the conclusions of our critique. We shall compare every such program with ours, and we shall ensure that our people shall have a clear picture of what the parties and candidates are actually
- Seventh, as part of the process to consolidate our United Front Strategy, we shall launch a campaign around the theme of Coalition For 2023 [Cf23].
- Overarchingly, we shall also be reconstituting and reorganising the leadership of the TBN at all levels, in order to reposition it for the tasks ahead in the new phase of our organisational development.
Finally, we urge all our members and supporters, and all of our people not to despair, not to be demoralised; we urge all of our people we are convinced about the urgent necessity to Take Back Nigeria – Inch By Inch, And Rebuild Our Country – Brick By Brick; To rally round our banner, and come join up with us.
In the eternal words of Frantz Fanon: “Every Onlooker is either a coward or a traitor”. And just as the Heroic Guerrilla – Ernesto Che Guevara said, “We are the Future [of our country and humanity] and We Know It”.
Stay The Course; Stand With Our Movement; To Reclaim Our Humanity and Redeem Our Citizenship.
-Jaye Gaskia id convener, Take Back Nigeria Movement (TBN)
15th OCTOBER 2018