Categories: ColumnsThoughts & Talks

Maybe, the opposition is here at last

Last Saturday in Abuja, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) successfully held its elective congress where it elected national leaders.

That sounds good in the ear and wishing the good sound remains for the good of Nigeria and democracy.

The worst that would happen to any nation’s polity is a monopoly of political leaning and opportunity. Yes, a multi party system has its challenges, but it provides the benefit of alternatives and weakens internal tension in a party as any aspiration not met in one platform can be tried out at the alternative.

This country chocked under one party that dominated the system for 16 years. They grew so arrogant and heedless to a point one of their leaders in the past boasted that the party would rule Nigeria for 60 uninterrupted years. The opposition was in total disarray and the one in power had all the latitude to ride roughshod over the nation and imagining it would last forever.

At last, it didn’t last beyond 2015 when those outside aggregated and gave the ruling party a fight. After the defeat of PDP, the party fell into total disarray, fueling another rigmarole and bad leadership supervised by the party in power, APC. In fact, we got it worse from a party that has no plan, no ideas on how to fix Nigeria and instead of resurrecting from the PDP affliction, we relapsed into a worse state.  For every act of misgiving by the PDP, APC gave Nigerian an addition. From an economy that had been limping and sometime started picking up gradually, there was nothing left as those with no track record of managing even personal businesses and kept boasting of owning 150 cattle as a virtue when actually it was a sign of docility in the zest to manage and grow business brought everything crashing.

We have groaned enough in utter hardship where more than 60% of the population isn’t sure of their daily meal and more job losses and hardship have become the tradition in Nigeria.

Bad enough, instead of accepting that they came as campaigning politicians that had no plans on how to lead Nigeria, they sought excuse to blame the past administrations and the PDP for every downturn until Nigerians got their fill and saw through their emptiness.

Whereas PDP maneuvered and dribbled Nigeria positively, APC did the worse and negatively too. Nigeria found they only mastered lies rather than leadership. That has been the drift.

Given the ghosts the PDP left behind – corruption and looting, the APC made a sport of hunting looters, and at last, nobody saw what the proceeds of the hunt has been.

We only heard of billions of dollars of looted fund recovered and never saw or felt the impact when still borrowing and planning to sell every bridge and mango tree belonging to the nation to fund the 2018 budget.

While leadership should feed the led with facts, all we got our mouths stuffed with have been propaganda, lies, deceit, apathy and a rudderless game.

The duty of hounding the opposition chased PDP into hiding and whereas we lost purposeful leadership while it was in power, we further lost the benefit of opposition when it lost power. That way, APC has untrammeled run to unleash as much misdeed as it wishes on Nigeria. Never had we seen a band of people so terrible with power abuse, segregation, intimidation, bigotry, hate and divisive tendencies. While PDP had members of the band of bad managers all over Nigeria, APC privatized the same apparatus, alienated parts of Nigeria as President Muhammadu Buhari’s state policy which he uses every opportunity to re-emphasize and act. Their ways shake terribly the wonky foundation of the nation that has been living on borrowed time. There has been no room for dialogue or discussion with dissenting voices, only brute force and the vaunt of more brutish ways.

We worried if there would ever be some reprieve from the APC solo conquest.

The party in power loved it that none challenges them even as they deployed subtle blackmail to cajole all that said a word. That same opposition party that came to power leveraging on the freedom of speech did its best to muscle and blackmail all that Buhari or the APC is too clean and beyond fault that whoever criticized the government was seen as heretic and must be shouted down. The tendency to cow people, even individuals speaking in opposition, became a burning passion that all Nigerians must become believers in the APC without a choice.

APC became a platform of the gods and the members the gods of Nigeria whom none was qualified to oppose, though to the chagrin of those that took them seriously during their campaigns. But some of us knew better that since what brought APC to power were 75% of what managed Nigeria under PDP, there was actually going to be no difference, save in words. APC change slogan later became high sounding nonsense to delude unwary voters.

Today, while APC claims to fight corruption, even the actors in their anti-corruption flick are still the most corrupt. From the present military chiefs to the retired ones in cabinet positions, from the politicians that enthroned Buhari with stolen Nigerian wealth to the PDP foot soldiers who enforced the corruption that its fight became a slogan of convenience in APC, the party and government seethe with the terribly corrupt. They throw their corrupt money about to move the nation in the direction they desire and still tell us they fight corruption. Conclusion is that APC has fought corruption corruptly.

We are today adrift like a vessel stuck in the doldrums and only another platform strong enough to pose a threat to the ruling party can cause a tilt in the equation and jolt the APC to sit up as it caused PDP to not take Nigeria for granted.

Well, we still hope and pray that PDP would have found its bearing with the setting up of its national leadership just at the eve of 2018, so to speak, as politicking will soon pick up. Everyone that loves Nigeria yearns for the strength of the PDP, not particularly about PDP but the need to checkmate APC and give Nigeria a better deal.

When PDP gets its acts right, then we will all consolidate and rally round in the fight to get President Buhari out of power in 2019 through the ballot. We have endured this retarding docility for too long that if it exceeds four years, we would all fossilize by the time he leaves office. We can’t afford to have a dinosaur in charge in the age of dynamos.

It would be a shame, a worse shame than we have, to say that Nigeria’s president, a country of the best of brains and acumen, in today’s world is led by a man of about 80 years or more when he would leave power if allowed to continue for another four years.

Believe it or not, old age is good, but not in leadership of a country. No country would make progress with a man of about 80 in the saddle. If in doubt ask Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cameroon etc.

There is the age of activity and that of inactivity, therefore, a nation that seeks progress should allow grandparents have their rest at home while the grandchildren take the lead. I can’t recall seeing a family where a man of 80 that build a business empire still manages it instead of handing over to his children at such age.

No living individual is ever the future and those that make the mistake of thinking themselves to be the future bungle it. That is the case of Robert Mugabe, the case of Yoweri Museveni, Paul Biya or Omar Al-Bashir in Sudan.

I wish PDP comes fully back, learns its lessons, understands that its past needs to be taken off and burnt like garbage and work towards putting a wedge in the rough ride of the APC.

With the two equally tussling to manage Nigeria, there must be some sanity taking over the nation in a matter of time.

Long Live PDP

Long Live APC

Long Live the opposition

Not for the parties actually, but for better Nigeria political leadership.

Uche Atuma :

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