It is with a heavy heart and a great sense of loss that we write this tribute to our Comrade, Olaoye Sanda. Comrade Sanda was an oak, an Iroko tree in the Socialist and pro-people Movement in Nigeria, inspiring thousands by personal example to immerse themselves in the noble cause to transform Nigeria in the interests of the working, poor and oppressed peoples.

To his family,  we offer our most sincere condolences as they have lost a father, grandfather, uncle, brother etc. To these Comrades, they have lost a wise counsel, clear in thought and steady in execution. To the working people, they have lost a class fighter, a tribune of the people always at the ready to take up cudgels against any injustice meted out against them by those that control this vampire-like social system that resembles that pagan idol that would only drink nectar from the skulls of the slain.

Death’s cold and cruel hands may have snatched Comrade Sanda from us but he would not want us to mourn, weep or gnash our teeth but to continue the fight back in the face of the current administrations attempt to settle the crisis of the Nigerian political economy on the backs of the working people, poor and oppressed: such was the measure of the man.

Many may say that the statements made above are hyperbolic in execution, surely no one, no man can be worthy of such unvarnished accolades? But Comrade Sanda was no ordinary man.

As Amilcar Cabral, the historic leader of the national liberation struggle in Guinea- Bissau noted: the people do not fight for the ideas in anyone’s head; they fight for a better life for themselves and their children.

Comrade Sanda understood this and much more: he mastered the science of political economy, historical and dialectical materialism, he understood that men(and women) make their own history but not in circumstances of their own choosing but in circumstances directly inherited from the past. His studies of the black and African world confirmed this and served to refute the theory of subservience and inferiority imposed upon us by the ideologues of the system of theft and robbery..

Finally, he understood that the aforementioned served as a mighty weapon in the hands of the working people and that only collectively could working people, rooted in their culture, history and existential reality,  fight back and win. It was this sense collective struggle that he had immersed himself in that made him such a formidable personality, that epitomised Plekhanov’s teachings on the role of the individual in History.

There are no Gods, no masters, no saviours in the struggle of working people. Only the self-organisation, self-activity of the working people can burst the straight jacket that bourgeois society has placed on them and transform them into the subject of their own history.Comrade Sanda understood this only too well.

Comrade Sanda’s life was a prism through which the history of Nigeria and the collective struggles of working people, the poor and oppressed was refracted through. A cursory examination of his life will confirm this. Others have written very eloquent on this, we need not detain ourselves here or reinvent the wheel.

Despite Comrade Sanda’s magnificent role in the worker’s movement, he was on occasion only too human and made ideological errors. The collapse of the USSR and “actually existing socialism” as it was called: furthermore, the retreat of the working class nationally and internationally created a period of ideological confusion where a retreat into the laager of ethnic identity politics was seen as the way forward. Comrade Sanda made a brief detour into this ideological cul-de-sac. To his credit, it was brief and in the latter period of the life he was back in fighting form denouncing the crimes of the bourgeois classes and advocating  collective fight back.

Comrade Sanda’s life and achievements are a magnificent example of struggle and fight-back and lends itself to emulation by Comrades today. Frantz Fanon once observed with clinical precision that “each generation, out of relative obscurity, discovers its mission, fulfils it or betrays it”. Comrade Sanda, the best fruit of his generation found and fulfilled his mission.

As the world enters what is described as the poly-crisis: economic and political crisis, environmental collapse that threatens the extinction of the species and the threat of intensifying inter-imperialist competition and war as exemplified by the war in Ukraine, it behooves us to be like Comrade Sanda: to discover our mission and fulfil it. In transforming society along socialist lines will we collectively serve to honour Comrade Sanda’s life and legacy.

Comrade Tokunbo Oke

On behalf of Socialist Labour (SL)


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