A strong, vibrant and robust democracy anywhere in the world is a product of so many factors including a virile system of checks and balances among the three arms of government, an electoral system that pays zero tolerance to elections malpractices/violence, but gives premium to free, fair and credible elections, thereby recognizing and sustaining the time honoured and cherished dictum of “Vox Populi” (voice of the people) as being supreme.
Besides the principle of separation of powers which is one of the main ingredients which sweetens and make democracy the most preferred form of government, an effective judicial system that is no respecter of any person, class or status in the society is a must for the system to not only radiate the enticing aroma but to possess the teeth to bite to maintain sanity in the society.
The above stated factors and perhaps others not mentioned are all important for the growth and development of democracy in our modern society. However, one of the greatest factors whose absence can easily turn a democracy into an autocratic and a totalitarian regime is a viable and constructive opposition.
Besides a lack of viable opposition, a supposed democratic system some of the political parties or all of the parties suffers from poverty of ideology, would gradually, steadily but surely lead the nation to a cul-de-sac if nothing by man or through divine intervention is done.
About a fourth night ago, precisely on Saturday, March 28, 2015 during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections held throughout the country, the then main opposition party, All progressives Congress (APC) sent a cool shocking waves down the spines of the members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other Nigerians by not only winning the presidential elections but also securing the highest numbers of seats both at the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly, thereby terminating the 16 years run of the PDP, especially at the national level.
At the inception of the fourth republic on May 29, 1999, the major opposition party with national spread was the All People’s Party (APP) which later transformed to All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), while Alliance for Democracy (AD) was restricted to the western part of the country. However, over the years a lot of waters have passed beneath the bridge with many parties emerging, others being de-registered by the electoral body, INEC, while several re-alignments and mergers were achieved among some political parties; and the result of one of such merger is APC which has today won the presidential seat and shall take over the leadership of the country from May 29, 2015.
The beauty of the political parties including the then ACN and CPC which merged to become APC is that they remained consistent in their opposition role. The question of whether or not the criticisms of the opposition were constructive is a topic for another day, we however are aware that the opposition remained sustained and resilient and focus till its main objective which was to take hold of power in the country was achieved on March 28, 2015, when for the first time in the history of the country, an incumbent not only conceded defeat but also congratulated the candidate who from all indications was to win, even before he was formally announced.
It is however so sad that the robust and virile opposition which the country enjoyed in APC until two weeks ago when it forced the ruling party PDP to become an opposition party may become a thing of the past if nothing is done. This is because the signals from across the country sadly denotes that most of our valueless and ethically/morally impaired politicians, especially from the defeated PDP are already concluding plans to cross-carpet to the APC the new ruling party from May 29, 2015, not wanting to remain in the party that just two weeks ago was prided as then largest party in Africa, boasting to rule Nigeria for 60 years.
In Cross River State, the story is the same as it is already clear that many PDP heavy weights are only waiting for the Governorship and the House of Assembly elections to be conducted this Saturday before they could take their flight to the new bride, APC. The craze for cross-carpeting to APC by PDP members is the fear of the unknown and the need to ensure that at least largess that will maintain their stomach infrastructure is secured, having feed so fat in the past 16 years, a few months out of regular inflow of cash will be to the best interest of their ego. It is therefore becoming increasingly clear that there will be exodus of politicians of timber and caliber from the now major opposition party, PDP in Cross River State to APC.
One of the major reasons why politicians in Nigeria keep moving from one political party to another is the lack of ideological base by our political parties, besides the fact that most of our political class is shameless individuals who are only after bellies and not the interest of the country. Political parties will only admit members whose world outlook, values and integrity are hinged on the party’s stand for if parties in Nigeria were to be formed based on ideologies.
In Cross River State and in any of the South- South and South East States, the reasonable thing to do would have been for the members of PDP in these states to hang on to their party and work to bring in other smaller parties to merge with them and become a formidable opposition that will not only keep the government in power on its feet, but also serve as a strong bargaining power for them but will sooner than expected take them back to power in the country. This is what this writer expects from the PDP bigwigs in Cross River state to remain steadfast to their party.
It is also the opinion of this writer that Cross Riverians should come out en-mass to vote the PDP governorship candidate, Prof. Sen. Ben Ayade for the next four years. Let the people of Cross River State and other states in the south-south and south-east geopolitical zones do the same by voting their PDP governorship candidates. What a viable opposition will do for the people of these two zones and democracy in Nigeria will far outweigh the immediate pecuniary gains to be achieved by rushing to the winning party.
The people of Cross River State should come out en-mass and vote Ayade for who he is and the good work he had started doing even before he became a senator of the Federal Republic and his achievements as a senator, and not what PDP as a party has done or the incumbent governor. After all, the son cannot be punished for the sins of the father nor the father for the crimes of the son.
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