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MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24 Nigeria. The stories here come from users.


Disappointng changlessness of opposition politics

03 March 2014, 12:49 Emmanuel G. Onofua

Since the birth of democracy in 1999, Nigeria has had only two political parties – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and others, with the latter posing little or no threat to the ruling central government. Elections were mere conventional rituals just to appease the constitution, as winners were already known before elections.

The presence of corruption, impunity, abuse of office and misconduct has been aided by the absence of a strong opposition political party with a progressive ideology. Laws were made and amended at will, to suit specific parochial purposes; appointments were made with little or no screening; budgets were passed without opposition and the chain of political vicious spiral was endless.

Nigerians were hungry for change; a breakaway from the dismal conventional modus operandi, a new order of sanity, accountability and checks and balances. It was believed that an opposition political party would do the magic. Thus, after a protracted political romance and courtship, the union between Nigeria’s three major opposition political parties – Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and the All Nigerians People’s Party (ANPP), was consummated on the 6th of February, 2013; and was approved by INEC on July 31, 2013. A branch of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Rochas Okorocha was also part of the political marriage.

Following the success of the political union between these parties, a movement was formed; a strong opposition to the ruling political party was born; and the hopes of Nigerians especially the youths were reignited.

On November 25, 2013, the party recorded what would have, in ideal situation, been a major breakthrough with the defection of five Governors elected under the platform of the PDP into the party. It was also followed by the defection of 37 Lawmakers in the House of Representatives. Sadly, these events gave birth to doubts among staunch supporters and party members.

Many opined that admitting people who have been hitherto stigmatised as corrupt and undemocratic into a party with seemingly progressives ideologies would be counterproductive as it would contaminate its pristine appeal. Also there would be clash of interest and hierarchy as leaders would not have themselves to be reduced to apparatchiks of the new intakes.

The deafening silence to these political permutations caused an implosion which precipitated the exit of some of the foundation bricklayers of the party, especially Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau who signed the merger agreement on behalf of the ANPP.
With the influx of many politicians from the PDP to the APC, it became difficult to distinguish between the two political parties if not aided with the names and logos of each party. This doused the progressive ideology of the APC and reduced it to just an alternative political party. It was like pouring an old wine into a new wineskin; in the end, it is the content that counts. The ignited hopes were gradually extinguished.

Like millions of enthusiastic Nigerians, I was of the opinion that the newly formed political union would ride on progressive ideologies, present a robust feasible blueprint to Nigerians and enjoy their unwavering support. The tool to oust the ruling party wasn’t big names; it was sincere presentation of ideas and the support of a vast majority of the citizens. If we must survive and change the status quo, a new balance must be born; evil must be fought by good. But sadly, the APC chose instead that evil must be fought by another of its kind. In the end, they are both evils, but with different names.

The national appeal of the party, has suddenly taken a nosedive, their sincerity of purpose has been brought under intense debate, scrutiny and questioning. Nigerians are apprehensive and cautious. Again, our perennial paranoia has set in; generously fed by the disappointing changelessness of the supposed “progressive” political party.

The brazen flirtation and fraternization with the same names that made up the PDP has betrayed the desperation whose brainchild, the party belongs. No matter how clean you are, when you jump into a sewage tank, you cannot come out clean.

The party leaders, in December 2013, shamelessly begged to drink from a poisoned well when they brazenly begged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to join the party and navigate the party's structure. This act prompted Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka to question the moral focus and sincerity of the party. Soyinka further hinted on the moral opportunism of the patron-shopping strategy of the APC by asking: “If General Sani Abacha were alive today, would he also have been on the ship’s complements? As captain perhaps?”

Nigeria’s legal luminary, Mr. Femi Falana also expressed his view on the disappointing semblance between the old political order and the supposed new one - “The APC has no plan to woo the youth who constitute more than 60% of the voting population. It is the belief of the leaders of both APC and PDP that the 2015 general election is going to be fixed by the traditional manipulators of elections. This is the basis of the ongoing mobilisation of the PDP chieftains (by APC) including those who cannot win elections in their own wards. By wooing discredited military and civilian despots who have destroyed the country since 1966, the APC has shown that it is only interested in power for the sake of power.”

As 2015 beacons, the quandary of political association has become a point of discuss. Those, who on the birth of the new political alternative had expressed readiness to support the party, have been forced to have a rethink. This is necessary to avoid replacing “evil” with a much bigger and regurgitated evil. Like the late literary Icon, Prof Chinua Achebe puts it: “The problem with leaderless uprisings taking over is that you don’t always know what you get at the other end. If you are not careful, you could replace a bad government with one much worse.”

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