The imperative of a virile opposition party in democracy

In practicing democracies around the world, there are contenders and contenders. The contenders represent countries that legislate on parties and deny their citizens the right to freely associate, form their own parties, and use them as vehicles to solicit votes to enable them to gain political power in service. of their people. You may be interested to know that China, North Korea, Russia, etc. claim to be democracies. Most of them are one-party states with great irritation towards opposition parties. The majority of countries in Africa and the Middle East adopted the one-party system immediately after independence. Nigeria also became familiar with this system when President Ibrahim Babangida created two political parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Republican National Convention. The government wrote their manifestos for them and largely decided who they wanted to feature on these platforms. General BWI canceled the primary and general elections for politicians he didn’t like and gave all the reasons he liked for canceling them. He annulled the gubernatorial elections of Lagos, Enugu and other states in the 1990s. Annulled the SDP and NRC presidential primaries won by Shehu Yar Adua and Adamu Ciroma and ultimately annulled the general elections of 12 June won by MKO Abiola. He succeeded because the parties were his and we were only pretenders for democracy.

Democracy is the government of the people and not the government of the people of government. The pretenders to democracy impose the people of government on the people. If you are not among the people of the Supreme Spiritual Leader of Iran, he will not even allow you to run for office, yet they claim to be democratic. The real test of democracy is when the people are allowed to freely associate and form their own political parties and compete for power in free and fair elections in a multi-party arrangement. The presence of opposition parties becomes the hallmark of a true democracy. The opposition parties are the contenders for political power. The two-party system is not a system where two parties are allowed by law, it is a system where two parties are dominant. It is common knowledge that most multiparty systems are moving towards a system where two parties are dominant, one, the ruling party, and the other, the opposition party. This is the case in the United Kingdom and the United States, two of the world’s leading democratic nations.

In Nigeria, since 1960, we have operated a multi-party system with virile opposition, except during the BWI political machine which failed miserably, and ended in the cancellation of the entire political process. From 1999, we joined the Committee of Democratic Nations to establish a multi-party democracy. Three parties met the registration requirements established by the decree issued by the outgoing military junta before the promulgation of the 1999 Constitution. The three parties were PDP, APP and AD. The PDP became the ruling party, while the APP and AD became the opposition parties. APP and AD entered into an alliance to contest the presidential election against the PDP in 1999, but missed the opportunity to continue providing manly opposition to the PDP after the presidential election by not pursuing the alliance. They have followed different paths and today one of them, APP, has been wiped from the political map of Nigeria, while the other, AD, has become politically irrelevant. When the opposition is not united, it falls.

The enactment of the 1999 Constitution introduced greater freedom in the registration of political parties and saw the proliferation of political parties further weaken the opposition. It is instructive to note that whenever opposition parties are weak, the ruling party becomes more ineffective and ineffective because it knows it will retain power no matter what. They become more corrupt and insensitive to the aspirations of the people and its members. They become authoritarian and impunity reigns them. They get too arrogant and live on the island believing that they can rule forever. The PDP, at the height of its absolute power, has declared that it will rule for 60 uninterrupted years in Nigeria.

No reasonable politician who understands how democracy works and the importance of opposition will want the opposition to be emasculated. Even members of the ruling party are more respected by their leaders when there is a viable alternative or manly opposition. It is in strong opposition that the ruling party finds the power to cede the dividends of democracy to the people. When the main opposition political parties first met in Nigeria in the APC, they defeated the ruling party, the PDP. Now the table has turned and the ruling party has become the opposition party, not in 60 years but in 16. When the opposition is united, it stands up.

The opposition party must be a strong critic of the ruling party. It is not a question of insulting or defaming the party in power. This is not a game of insults from the main party leaders. It is an intentional, intellectual and critical analysis of current policies, of government actions to reveal the weak links of the issues at stake and to convey how incompetent or incompetent political planners are. The opposition should not be content to criticize, it should go further to propose alternative solutions to the problem. The whole idea of ​​the opposition party is to provide an alternative option of leadership and leadership to the people. It’s not just about convincing people that government policies are bad, but that they are willing to offer better alternatives. People don’t vote for the opposition because the ruling party is bad, they vote for them because they are better. Democracy operates in the comparative.

The PDP, from 1999, never convinced Nigerians that they were good, but that did not translate into a victory for the opposition, until 2015, when the APC-led opposition failed. convinced Nigerians that they were better. The PDP’s perception of corruption, insecurity and economic backwardness in Nigeria were made manifest by the propaganda machine of the then opposition party, APC. They described the PDP as confused, helpless and corrupt. They pledged to end Nigeria’s insecurity problems within three months, fight corruption and improve the economy if elected. The PDP government, under enormous pressure from the opposition, has stepped up its efforts in the fight against insecurity, which, in the run-up to the elections, it achieved in six weeks what it did not. ‘failed to achieve in six years. The army’s victories were so swift that within 6 weeks of the postponement of the general election, the insurgents were driven to the periphery, allowing elections to be held in all states of the federation. It is the benefit of the virile opposition.

The PDP suddenly lost the elections and was totally unprepared for the burden of the opposition. They had become so entangled in wealth and power that they forgot to make the mental adjustment necessary for life in opposition. The impunity that worked for them as a ruling party has not been abandoned as an opposition party. Immediately PDP went to the polls, PDP was expected to make a clean break from the past and introduce new faces in its line of executives to convince the world that it is not business as usual. Unfortunately, he slipped into an intractable leadership struggle that led to interim committees within the party, one after the other. It took the intervention of the Supreme Court to save the PDP from collapse.

The PDP’s tendency to replace old sponsors with new ones has not helped this faltering opposition party. Governor Wike, almost single-handedly, brought Secondus to PDP. Today, he fights almost alone to remove it. When Governor Wike was playing Santa Claus to install Secondus, the PDP National President didn’t notice him, but now Secondus is hinting that Governor Wike is playing Santa to remove him. The truth is, what you do to get it, you compromise to keep it. The post of PDP chairman was micro-zoned to the southwest, but the sponsors took advantage of several candidates from the southwest to pass Secondus to headquarters to make their offer. Secondus may have refused to compromise to keep what he was committed to getting and this led to the unfortunate situation that pitted him against his godfathers. PDP governors escape to APC to escape the rampant effects of PDP sponsors on the party.

The PDP’s penchant for its former officials has made some of them vulnerable to criminal prosecution in response to some of their actions in the past, thus presenting them in light of continued corruption, even in opposition. Secondus, the national president of the PDP, has been accused by some of the members of the PDP of embezzling billions of naira. Former PDP national publicity secretary Olisah Metu was taken out of service for a time when he was sent to jail for corrupt practices. He was released by the Court of Appeal but the bump on the party was already there. If the PDP had recruited new faces after losing the election, this scenario would have been avoided. Recently, 6 members of the PDP National Working Committee suddenly resigned and called on Secondus to resign. Secondus refused. As a compromise between the belligerents, the National Convention, formerly scheduled for December, has been brought forward to October. Tell me what is so urgent about the national PDP convention that they cannot wait until December for Secondus to end peacefully and quietly and save the party from disarray.

It is the bane of the opposition in Nigeria that there is a perceived lack of integrity among their base. The time they would have spent providing quality opposition, they use it to fight among themselves. Many pillars of the PDP believe their party has failed as an opposition party. If a party fails as a ruling party and fails as an opposition party, that party may be awaiting evacuation by the carriers. It is not so good for democracy and the PDP can still save itself from collapse. It should consider allying with other emerging parties by changing its manners and even its name to give some semblance of new life. He should take the opportunity of the next congress to bring in new executives without baggage from the past. He should give up the sponsorship and leave the leadership of the party to the people. He should start to put the ruling party on edge to ensure better government performance. Today there is no manly opposition and that does not bode well for democracy.

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