By CHIECHEFULAM IKEBUIRO
It was in 2007 that Prince Vincent Ogbulafor declared that the Peoples Democratic Party would rule Nigeria for Sixty years.Someone else(I think Chemical Ali) even went a step further to declare that the same party would rule over Nigerians forever.
Having watched events over the years since these declarations one has no choice but to believe these men. These guys(even though they sounded so unserious and annoying when they were saying what they were saying)are just not far from the truth.
Its really sickening to know that a country as diverse as ours, which tends to emulate advanced democracies has no opposition. No doubt the opposition here is dead and in my opinion was buried last week Saturday during the governorship election re-run in Kebbi State.
That is the last straw! You know I could not believe it when I heard the PDP was in a lone race. Yes, a lone race, because that’s exactly what it was. In a governorship election? How in the world is that possible? And is this supposed to be a democracy? The people do not have choices?
How else can one describe a scenerio where days to the election, members of the leading opposition CPC, led by Alhaji Adamu Aliero, himself a former governor of the state, moved in droves to the PDP?
Of course, Dankingari, the PDP candidate carried the day with 92% of the total votes cast.
There is problem. A very big problem!
This our democracy is getting so funny, boring and very predictable, which is very unhealthy. Whoever thought Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal would loose the last election to the opposition? Or you think he would not have won(even at 85)in Nigeria? Whoever thought Ghana’s Attah Mills would defeat the candidate of the incumbent New Patriotic Party? Morgan Tsangirai is giving Mugabe hell in Zimbabwe. That is what democracy is all about for crying out loud. The unpredictability is what makes it interesting. Nigeria’s government is never on its toes. Who would check it?
Once an election is scheduled, its done and dusted. We already know the winner before the first vote is cast, so why bother(to vote in the first place).
When the supreme court evacuated five PDP governors from office one actually thought this was the chance for the opposition to prove its mettle, no matter how little. The supreme court refused to extend the tenures of Bayelsa’s Timi Silva, Kogi’s Ibrahim Idris, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Liyel Imoke of Cross River and Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, all of PDP. Election was ordered in those states, and yes you guessed right. PDP won in all of them.
Just make me wonder what the opposition has been upto over the years. The opposition does not have a clue what its role is. Were it not for the courts PDP would still be in charge in Edo, Ondo, Osun, Anambra, as well as Ekiti.
The opposition in Nigeria does not know how important they are,and how much we need them.The main role of the opposition is to constantly question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. USA’s Barack Obama is not having it easy, as republicans constantly harass every of his policies, till the best decisions are reached, of course in the interest of Americans.
Their role is to be like an alternative government, providing different policies where appropriate. Any government is answerable to the people at all times, and a good opposition puts spotlight on serious issues which in turn makes for these issues to be resolved quickly.
Nigeria’s opposition has to get closer to the masses, know what their plights are, so when they criticize, they know what to base it upon. They should not just sit in the comfort of their homes criticizing for the sake of it. Plus we need genuine opposition, not disgruntled former PDP members(like Aliero) who are there for personal gains.
The opposition here needs to work more than twice as hard as the incumbent so as to get results as well as have a chance to match the PDP, because they do not have the same resources as the PDP, which is in power.
You see, the opposition here is just so lazy and bereft of ideas. We are yet to see a situation where an opposition proposes alternatives to what government is doing. An alternative to government policies and ideas.
Now, I respect professor Pat Utomi (wish we had more of his likes in the opposition),but Soverign National Conference?That is a distraction if you ask me.We already have plenty representatives.
The opposition has to give genuine alternatives to government policies,that way we know it is a viable alternative to the PDP.
Opposition parties have to form a solid front if they are really serious about taking on the PDP at the top.
In one of my previous articles(see Saturday Sun May 10,2008,pg 7)titled where is the opposition? I talked about the PPA and AC forming an alliance-am alliance I believed would have brought shivers down the spine of the PDP. I also talked about how AC and the MDC, Morgan Tsangirai’s party in Zimbabwe were both formed in 2009.How the MDC in 2008 polled 99 seats in the house while Mugabe’s incumbent ZANU-PF, won 97.Wait a minute; where is the PPA?
The opposition here has to realize that maintaining democracy is a shared responsibility between government and the opposition.
As mentioned earlier Nigeria’s opposition needs to work twice as hard as the government in power so as to get the resources to at least try to match the incumbent. Ever wondered how Barack Obama, in 2009,got the fund to tackle (first)Hilary Clinton in the primaries, then John Mc Cain in the general elections? He successfully realized and capitalized(on) the true potential of the internet. Barack had a huge success in mobilizing first-time voters and campaign funds through top class internet marketing. Remember he was battling the candidate of the incumbent Grand Old Party. He realized there was another medium apart from public appearance et al, to connect to the American people-The internet.Who says the opposition here cannot generate enough funds to tackle the incumbent? The opposition here needs to think more than twice as fast as the PDP led government.
We do not even take the opposition seriously again, in this part of the world. Almost everyday politicians decamp from the opposition to the PDP for pittance. Selfish, greedy and hungry (except for a very few),is all we think of them.
Todays Nigeria is nothing to write home about. I’m sweating like crazy writing this, there’s no power supply. A cousin of mine just died in a road accident because of bad road. People die on our roads everyday, because of bad roads. I even hear the president flies from Aso Rock to Abuja airport. Nigeria is the new Afghanistan all of a sudden. Everybody is scared stiff. The security is nothing to write home about. Living condition is hell. Standard of living? Don’t go there. No good healthcare facilities, because if there were Government officials would not fly to Germany to cure headache.
Graduates litter the streets in search of non existent jobs. Here, Graduates can give anything to be under employed. People are hungry. Fuel price is up, which in turn makes for hike in prices for everything and there is no hope for change? There is no hope for a change in government? Seriously?
Get a job, if you are in the opposition!