2015 and the Opposition
As the build-up to 2015 general elections gathers momentum, some Nigerians are excited by the much publicised meeting penultimate week between the Congress for Progressive Change and Action Congress of Nigeria. This is heartwarming, but only if Nigeria is ever going to have a change in leadership next political dispensation.
The big question here is whether the opposition parties are serious in taking over power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. And the answer may not be far-fetched, considering previous analysis of what transpired within the opposition parties, particularly in the quest for power from the PDP.
Seeing ex-Governor Bola Tinubu and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) holding hands and brainstorming on possible joint ticket come 2015, those that want change of leadership will heave a sigh of relief and conclude that, at last, meaningful coalition talks have started in earnest. But will it yield fruitful positive result? Only time will tell.
For Nigerians who want to see another political party other than the PDP occupy the central government, what happened recently in France may not be a bad idea for the country. Same change of baton had happened in the United Kingdom, Ghana, and Senegal in recent past.
At the height of every expectation, it is the perceived selfishness on the part of the politicians that usually scuttles such attempts. A recent case in point was the last general elections where such feat would have been achieved but for the alleged ‘sellout’ on the part of concerned politicians.
So far, nothing much has been achieved in the merger talks. It may be in the light of this lack of seriousness that the Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, once said that “Though some Nigerians see PDP as a party of thieves and fraud, it is still either PDP or no other party. Nigerians have confidence in us and that is why they keep voting us.”
Apart from the ACN and CPC talks, the position of other political parties is, at best, dicey. Such parties like the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party, Labour Party, and the Democartic Peoples Party were previously vibrant but are almost extinct now. Nothing serious is happening at the party level and insinuations are rife that some of them are appendages of the ruling party. It was just recently that All Progressive Grand Alliance has indicated interest in the merger bid initiated by the ACN and CPC.
The much that has come out from APGA was the recent declaration of interest by its erstwhile National Secretary, Dr. Sani Shinkafi, when he posited, “We are forming national government come 2015. If ACN and CPC extend invitation to us in their merger talks, we are going to transform the country.” Of course, the National Chairman of PDP berated the merger talks, describing it as nothing but daydreaming or wishful thinking. The National Publicity Secretary of ACN, Lai Mohammed, responded that PDP was jittery about the proposed merger, “as that approach is capable of dethroning their current hold on power.”
To underscore the uncertainty, Buhari, just last week, in response to the issue revealed that nothing concrete had been achieved in the talks.
The big question now is whether there is any seriousness on the part of the gladiators, or will the merger talks collapse as have been the case before now? How far the talks will go is a guess any Nigerian can hazard.
If there’s going to be the kind of change that people clamour for, there must be tenacity of purpose on the part of the opposition. They must team up early enough to form a credible and formidable alternative to the PDP. They will not win by merely mouthing slogans and empty threats and promises. They should come up with alternative programmes and manifestoes that will surpass what the ruling party is giving.
In any case, the recent governorship election in Edo State has thrown up another angle to the whole issue, as there seemed to have been a sort of cooperation and relaxation of unmitigated ambition and selfish interest. This saw the working together of CPC and ACN to pave the way for landslide victory of ACN at the polls. It earned the commendation of the chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Balarabe Musa, who described it as a good sign of possible survival of the opposition and democracy.
In states where the opposition is in power, they should show evidence of superior performance. A party like the ACN should give the electorate the reason to continue keeping them in power. Also, serious democratisation of the entire party structure should be carried out in such a way that the present oligarchic and despotic supremacy that is the order of the day will be jettisoned. A party like the CPC should exhibit some seriousness by penetrating the core North, with the hope of winning more states. Only then can we take them seriously.
Culled from Punch Newspapers