“Leaders will always do wrong, unless they are constraint to do otherwise.”
I first heard the above quotation from my mentor. The quotation summarizes the essence and necessity for a strong opposition in every democratic setting, it brings to fore the basic and most widely seen, and experienced characteristics of the ruling power and gives a very easy to implement strategy to cut their excesses.
We are less than four months into the 2015 general elections, but the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be enjoying a free ride to victory, with their capturing of the headlines of major news
outlet in the state and the deafening drums of argument that their supporters are carrying about. The PDP seems to be the only party enjoying reviews, a situation that is bad for the state.
With the successful merger of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria’s People Party (ANPP), and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to
form the All Progressive Congress (APC) in February 2013, Nigerians, nay, Cross Riverians had hoped for a strong opposition to checkmate the excesses of the ruling party and keep them on their toes.
Cross Riverians had hoped that the APC (apologies to other opposition parties) will provide us with a reliable, strong, trust-worthy, and competent alternative to the government. We had expected the opposition to stand along with the heavily abused masses by constantly presenting to the populace, a much better and cheaper way of solving social problems.
The opposition was, or is supposed to be strong and vibrant enough to not just challenge the ruling party in the polls but also to be able to draw reviews and elicit discussion from the masses.
They should be leading the way in voter education (as the ruling elite will rather prefer the populace to continue in ignorance), be challenging and debating government policies, especially on privatization and the government retrogressive tax regime.
The opposition should be unraveling the many lies of the current administration and countering them propaganda for propaganda, thereby bringing them to editorial relevance and rendering the state political system, not just complex and sophisticated but mature and workable.
The above have not been the case. The All Progressive Congress (APC) has left the job of the opposition to aggrieved members of the PDP, who are themselves feeling the impact of the Machiavellian ‘politricks’ that has become synonymous with the ruling party, and has defined the operations of the current administration.
The last palpable mention of the opposition in the mainstream media was after the much impugned state executive election. Since then, the party has retired to the dungeon of political irrelevance and media blackout. The APC has become a party that is more interested in having it infrequent members gathering at Barracks Road to discuss politics that leads them to nowhere.
If the opposition has the eudemonia of Cross River at heart, the time is not too late for the party to rise up and take up its hallowed opposition role, with the aim of leaving that title with the lucre gathering ruling bevy.
We the people of this strip-down, heavy blundered state, do call on the opposition not to abandon us, not this period of election when we need to prove to the kleptomaniac, idea-deficient, morally bankrupt members of the ruling class that change is possible. This can be done only if the opposition frowns and abhors corruption, deviate from electoral malpractices that have become the trademark of the PDP.
The opposition should try to field popular, corruption free candidates. Their campaigns should be issue based and focused on the hoi polloi, for the importance of a strong opposition in the maintenance of a political system can never be underestimated.
Ogar Monday is a student of Political Science in the University of Calabar.
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