I was among the many Nigerians who literally took to the streets in celebration of the successful coalition of the three legacy parties namely, All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Congress For Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (A.C.N) and a faction of APGA led by sen. Annie Okonkwo that formally coalesced into the All progressive Congress (APC) on the 13th of July, 2013.
My joy was borne out of nothing other than, that at last the dream of a well structured opposition government that would keep the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on their toes and possibly give them a run for their money at elections. What is more? Democracies they say,are as good as the opposition government therein. So for Nigeria, with the official formation of APC, I believed our democracy was in for good.
I was also elated that the PDP’s hold on the Nation was soon to wane after 15 years rule or mis-rule if you like. For a political party that bragged to rule the country for 60 years,(a statement which I considered at the time an insult to the sensibilities of over 170 million Nigerians) there is no way one wouldn’t be happy seeing a handful of men and women coming into the picture to defeat such provoking braggadocio. Such was it. So I followed this new political train closely. Reading every single literature that has APC on or in it, to know more about the party and their message of salvation to a teeming poor population of Nigerians denied of the basic social amenities like water, healthcare facilities, electricity and motorable roads by the PDP apparatchik for a little more than a decade which it has been in the saddle.
After the customary celebrations and the histrionic hoisting of brooms and goodwill messages on the pages of National dailies, I waited patiently for the new party to show that it is indeed the messiah sent to rescue us from the pharoahs of PDP. I looked keenly to observe the slightest inkling of a difference between the new party and the PDP, but that effort would come to nought. Little did I know.
Before one could shut the windows, the new party began to show signs of everything but signature progressives or political messiahs. One would have thought that the new opposition government would embark on a massive sensitization campaign to sell its policies to the masses which ordinarily they should have at heart. But that was not to be. Instead of that, the so-called progressives betrayed all caution and political genuis to woo elements within the PDP who they had before now called all sort of names; from crooks to thieves to undemocratic neonthertals, into their camp. I simply made one judgment out of such political mistake albeit made with the most conscious mind-This progressives so-called, lack confidence in the vast majority of Nigerians, they placed the elements in the PDP they sought for their signature above the masses. And by going back to their vomit, and suddenly becoming strange bed fellows, even an insane was able to picture the political mindset of this opposition. So I was disappointed. I simply dismissed them for disgruntled elements seeking to drink from the intoxicating chalice of power at Aso Rock.
These are everything but progressives, I told myself.
I had expected the new party to show to the masses why they are a better alternative to the PDP by formulating policies that has prospects of affecting the lives of Nigerians. I had expected them to suggest possible ways of creating jobs through workshops or seminars organised for the discussion of such issues. One would have expected them to suggest possible ways out of the security brouhaha the nation is muddled in but all they could do, was condemn and condemn and condemn the PDP again and again. It became so boring.
While they may nurse the ambition as with any other opposition government, of unseating the ruling PDP, I had thought they would work in collaboration with the government of the day through regular advises and criticisms that do not ooze hatred for the government at the centre and unnecessarily overheat the polity.
But that was not to be. It only took a little more time before it became clear that the hurried merger of the legacy parties was all in a bid to unseat the PDP come 2015-This was their greatest undoing. Change does not come so quick anywhere, however people may yearn for it. It is this greedy taste for power at the centre that has done this opposition the greatest harm.
While Nigerians may want a change of government, they are no fools to subscribe to a change without convincing signs. That is not the kind of opposition Nigerians need.
They need an opposition that will distinguish itself from the mess that is PDP and build a political church from the scratch however long it takes to roof. Not one that hobnobs with the same people it seek to unseat for parochial gains. Doing so, puts a big question mark on the principles of such a movement. It shows a morbid greed for power which must be actualised at all cost. It is immaterial whether it defeats their sworn principles and contradicts their entire ideology of Change. Such was/is the APC. Certainly this is not the type of Opposition NIgeria needed.
We needed an opposition that does not think change can only be possible if it wins government at the centre. We needed to see an opposition with exploits in little things. We need an opposition whose members in the state Houses of Assembly, House of representatives and the senate move a motion for the cutting of their astronomical wage bills. Nigerians yearn for an oppisition whose governors in the states under their control show uncommon patriotism and statesmanship by cutting their wage bills and those of their aides and even reduce its wastefulness on luxuries. An opposition that goes to the street to feel the pulse of the people, an opposition which stops at nothing to reduce the cost of learning in our institutions and not one that milk the masses dry through organised extortion carried into execution through fee hike. Not an opposition which constantly speaks as though it has a magic wand to wave.
We need an opposition that would constantly keep the government of the day on their toes through constructive criticisms and suggestion of better ways to handle national issues to prove to Nigerians that it has the capacity to do better if elected into power and not one that takes pleasure in the misfortune of the Country and go ahead to score political points from it. We don’t need an opposition that constantly chide the ruling PDP for not being able to correct the insecurity glitch in the country without suggesting possible ways out of this current ugly episode of state terrorism. Nigerians, do not need an opposition that constantly critique the PDP for not being able to secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls but would not suggest possible ways for their successful release neither do they need an opposition that plays into the hands of the west at the risk of our National integrity, just to mimick our president and present him as incapable before western elements elsehwere for international endorsement.
We need an opposition that works with the government but advancing their agenda of possible takeover of the country. An opposition that constantly in a show of stupidity, sweeps off wherever the president of the day steps his foot, an opposition that derive pleasure in the use of language that divide the people further than they are decimated is not what Nigeria needs. A shadow government that uses such controversial phrases such as, “RIg and Roast”, “Dogs and Baboon” that urge electorates to visit the polling booths with charms, that is always jittery at the dawn of elections is not a plus to any democracy but a potential problem to it.
An opposition that sees no good in the little gains of the ruling PDP and constantly bask in the assurances of an untopian state that has been everything but exemplified in the states under their watch need not be taken serious by any serious political mind. That political persuasions differ, is not a ground fertile enough to plant the seed of discord that has no good for the polity.
The foregoing are the array of political errors which unfortunately the main opposition-APC which I had high expectations for, has made the modus operandi of their journey to unseat the ruling PDP but which I’m sure would be to their greatest detriment. For while Nigerians may be tired of the PDP and their 14 years of what some people call ‘mis-rule’ but which I’m adverse to, what the APC has brought to the table thus far, shows that they are not a better alternative. Not only is the party run by a Lagos Bourdilion according to his whim and caprice, the general feelings across some quaters of the country is that, the opposition fans the embers of the insurgency ravaging the nation to blackmail the presidency and therefore, many as is vintage of Nigerians have sworn to stay on the PDP ship as the broom with which the APC intends to sweep away the PDP is laden with blood of innocent citizens killed by Boko Haram militants which many believe are sponsored by northern elements within the APC or are sympathetic to their cause, hence why some has labelled it a Boko Haram party.
In the final analysis, the clock seems to be ticking for the APC. It has a huge image laundering to do if it intends to do away with the PDP at Aso Rock at the forthcoming 2015 general elections. To do so, it must desist from its consistent rable rousing and politics of bitterness that only makes the massess develop more love for the PDP and focus more on steps that puts it in the light of a political messiah, divinely designed to salvage an obviously lethargic nation with ominous signs of being captained by a crew that seem to have lost its coordinates.
But certainly, what they have put forth thus far, bears no relic of the kind of opposition Nigeria need. WE WARN.
The writer tweets @RayNkah