Is the Mega Party of Nigeria Dead-on-Arrival?

The proposed political behemoth aptly named Mega Party of Nigeria; an attempt by political strange bed fellows to wrestle power from the vice-like grip of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can be likened to a sick patient being rushed to the emergency ward of a hospital but pronounced Dead-on-Arrival (DOA).

At least the unending bottlenecks heralding the formation of the proposed political party point to this fact and to the truth that fundamental differences in personal ambitions, ideology and political beliefs of the proponents will make the emergence of the party a still birth.

How the proposed party, still battling with the simple political criteria of identity and formation hopes to combat the rampaging PDP machine in the race to the 2011 elections remain to be seen? With only about a year to go before the next elections and the disagreement among the parties and players under the proposed coalition, how does the party hope to mobilize the needed support to halt the present rot passing for good governance by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?

Also with the number of political big wigs in the proposed party and their life ambitions to be the presidential candidate in their various parties, how does the party resolve the issues around these ambitions in the proposed coalition? First the movers of this political behemoth have to convince Nigerians that their coming together is not as a result of frustrations of being schemed out of their various parties.

Will the proposed party stand the test of time or will it crumble like a pack of cards if it does not eventually win the presidency which appears to be the reason for its formation in the first place? Right now, it seems the proposed party is a mega party with mega problems.

Identity Crisis

What’s in a name? The attempt by the proposed promoters of the party to bring all members of the opposition and political parties under one umbrella of the Mega Party seem not to have caught on with members and may be bound for failure. The Action Congress has rejected the proposal for the party to drop its name for the umpteenth time.

In an address by Chief Bisi Akande/ Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu led Action Congress on of the major parties being wooed to joint the proposed party, the Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande expressed fears that changing the party’s name and disappearing under an unknown Mega Party will affect its fortune with voters. This fear appears genuine if one recalled that in the race to the 2003 elections, voters had a hectic time deciphering which party to vote for between Alliance For Democracy (AD) and the newly formed Action Congress (AC).

Already, the Olu Falae faction of the Mega Summit Movement has expressed its willingness to go with the Buhari Faction while the Abukakar Atiku Faction hopes to team up with other political parties. But does being a mega party translates to a mega win? As a suggestion, the proponents of this name swapping should do a rethink. Would it not be better to jettison this whole idea of Mega Party and for the members to regroup under credible parties like the Labour Party or Action Congress whose elected leaders are providing credible leadership in Lagos, Edo State and Ondo State?

The truth that the promoters of this party fail to see is that the Mega Party is not an alternative to defeat the PDP. The argument that the AC is an ethnic party without the needed geographical spread to challenge the PDP falls flat on the face of the threat a well-funded Labour Party could be for a PDP.

The promoters should realize that Nigerians know that the PDP has failed. Would they trust another Mega Party which could be a clone of the PDP and a party whose members are largely disgruntled and political decampees of a failed party? In this situation would it not be better to regroup under performing parties like AC and LP and give it the needed funding and geographical spread to counter the PDP?

Marriage of Strange Bed fellows?

No matter the political lens with which one looks at the composition of the proposed Mega Party, its membership and promoters are a congregation of strange bed fellows united in one single aim of furthering a political ambition that was truncated in the internal wrangling and bad politicking of their former parties.

Would an Abubakar Atiku, Muhammadu Buhari, Olu Falae Atahiru Bafarawa, Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and many others who were party to the launching of the Mega Party have come together to float this party? If the reason for forming the Mega Party is just to force power from the PDP, then what purpose is it serving? The alternative Nigerians need is for progressives to come together to provide credible alternatives and democratic dividends that have eluded majority of Nigerians.

A precedent have been set already when politicians who were hurt by their previous parties came together under Action Congress in the race for the presidential elections in of 2007. As soon as that election was over and PDP retained power, what happened to the Abubakar Atiku and Action Congress coalition? It crumbled like a pack of cards. Does this fate not await the Mega Party if the aim is just to challenge the PDP?

Personal Ambition or Common Good?

It is not a hidden fact that the protagonists in the formation of the mega party have life long ambitions of having a shot at Aso Rock. Abubakar Atiku had a shot at the Presidency from his days in the PDP to his coalition with Action Congress in the race for the 2007 Presidential election and now his dalliance with the Mega Party Summit. Muhammadu Buhari has been angling to rule the country since democracy berthed in this shore since 1999.

Attahiru Bafarawa also fancies himself to seek for the number one political position in the country. Not that there was anything wrong in these men wanting to serve their fatherland. But how they hope to reconcile their personal ambitions and come out with one candidate to confront a rampaging PDP is a knotty challenge that will make or mar the composition of this party.

2011: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea?

Is the proposed Mega Party an alternative in the quest for the opposition to remove the hold of PDP on power? Given the complexities and disagreements among the promoters of the mega summit, the answer to this question would be in the negative. Big egos, internal wrangling and distrust among members will implode the proposed party from within. These were some of the factors that saw to the demise of previous opposition parties.

The ANPP for instance was factionalised between the Umezeoke-led group (whose unholy dalliance with PDP led to capitulation of the party) and the Muhammadu Buhari-led faction; the AC is seen as a reincarnation of the Yoruba-dominated AD with Bola Tinubu as the locus of power while Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, remains the symbol that gives the party a veneer of national spread in 2011.

There is therefore a real fear that these factionalised parties will bring their divisive tendencies into the proposed mega party. Already, these factors are already playing out in the formation of the Mega Party. The alternative to challenging the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is for the opposition to adopt one of the existing parties and strengthened it to become truly national to challenge the present order.

But members of the opposition can still leverage on the credibility of the Labour Party and even the Action Congress (AC) and give them the geographical spread that will make them acceptable to voters’ across the country. This will take hard work but these parties are already popular with the electorates.

Conclusion- Genuine Opposition Needed

In the race to the 2011 electio

ns, a credible and enduring opposition and not some hurriedly thought out move by desperate out-of-power politicians gathering under a hurriedly arranged political umbrella would lead Nigerians out of the present logjam the country has found itself under the oppressive and inept leadership provided by the People Democratic Party (PDP).

The race for the 2011 general elections calls for genuine members of the oppositions with the common interest to serve the people to come together and launch an aggressive campaign that will give the people the alternative it yearns for. Already, Nigerians can see what credible alternatives can do in places states like Edo, Ondo and Lagos States. This can be replicated in other states of the federation. As the race to 2011 beckons, the time to act is now.

Written by
Bayo Olupohunda
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