PDP Domination: Blame the Opposition

by Bayo Olupohunda

Recently, opposition leaders under the umbrella of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and other opposition leaders in the country have been warning of the danger and threat posed to the nation’s fledgling democracy by the win-at-all cost politics of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) now threatening to plunge the country into a one-party state. Their call and worries have become stringent going by recent sweeping but questionable victories of the party in the current elections re-run in the various states in the country.

But the truth is that some of the opposition leaders should be blamed for contributing to the death of viable and sustainable opposition politics in the country since the advent of this democratic journey nine years ago. They should take responsibility for the seeming one-party domination of PDP.They can heap all the blames on the do-or-die politics of the past President Olusegun Obasanjo or the role being played by the INEC under Professor Maurice Iwu but the fact remains that the opposition in the past and as presently constituted have failed to provide the needed leadership that would drive an enduring opposition alternative to challenge the current one party threat.

The so called opposition or progressives have shot themselves in the foot and have continuously undermined their own future role in presenting a common front to the threat the PDP now constitute judging from events leading to the 2003 elections. Let’s even take the most recent example to drive home the point being made here. Immediately after the fraudulent 2007 elections, the country watched with dismay how some of these opposition members became divided in their greed to join the Government of National Unity (GNU), a Greek gift, proposed by the Yardua Administration, a ploy to cement his shaky hold on power.

In fact, some sections of the opposition were disdainful of General Mohammad Buhari’s insistence to contest the elections in the courts. Not many Nigerians were disgusted at the action of the ANPP under Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke and other CNPP opposition leaders who jostled to be part of a contrived future scheme to kill opposition in the country by the Peoples Democratic Party.

In 2003, it was also a bewildered South-West and the country in general who watched as the progressives naively caved in to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s plot to take over the South-West by the PDP, the reality which now painfully stares us in the face. Under the arrangement, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), as it was then known under the revered Papa Abraham Adesanya of blessed memory and others were hoodwinked by the Obasanjo’s PDP into believing that if they deliver the South West for the party at the Federal level, their governorship seats would be assured. But like a Tsunami, they were swept off in a fraudulent landslide that saw the PDP take over the South West except Lagos under the leadership of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.

Things have never been the same since this grave error of under-estimating ones enemy was committed by the progressives. They have been left to leak their wound since then. This singular act also led to the complete capitulation of opposition in the country because once the West which was the hotbed of viable opposition politics was captured, there would be nothing left. The PDP under Obasanjo knew this.

Unfortunately, the opposition could not read the handwriting on the wall. They failed to see beyond their nose. They were consumed in a narrow objective of preserving a second term slot for themselves. Only Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu could. But how these tested progressives believed the promises of an Obasanjo led PDP after they were robbed of the Presidency by the same cabal who installed President Olusegun Obasanjo over Chief Olu Falae in the elections of 1999 remains a mystery. This is the genesis of the one party threat we now face today.

Nigerians are no fools. The actions of these same opposition leaders brought us into the current impasse. Imagine if the opposition momentum from the South-West between 1999 and 2003 had been sustained, it would have caught on with the rest of the country and the Peoples Democratic Party would not be riding roughshod over the opposition today.

Again, we need to remind ourselves that some of these opposition leaders were once part of the ruling PDP elite who fell out in the political chess game. One is even tempted to believe that the present hoopla about the threat of one-party domination is because some of them have been schemed out of the political influence which the ruling party now wields rather than for their concern for the common good. Nigerians also know the genuine opposition leaders. But should they drag the civil society into this protest? I think the civil society should stay away and provide the alternative the opposition failed to do in the first place. The opposition should be left to fight their battles with the PDP alone.

How come the opposition rally together when elections approaches and disband in acrimony to find greener pastures when elections are over? This is part of the problem we face with this democracy today when politicians are not ready to sacrifice for democracy to grow. The culture of enduring opposition as an art in democracy needs to be deepened for our democracy to take root. Nigerians should rally round credible politicians like Professor Pat Utomi, Adams Oshiomole and a few others who can bring about the change this country needs. Men of good will should also join the political space. The Barrack Obama example in the United States of America should provide the impetus to drive the needed change we urgently need in this country.

Nigerians should also be discerning enough to separate genuine agitators for change from the threat of one party domination and fake, opportunistic opposition leaders who are clamouring now because they have been schemed out by PDP and would abandon them once they get plum government appointments or settled with mouth-watering contracts. The solution to the one party domination is not in the planned protest by CNPP but for genuine opposition leaders to re-group not just for 2011 but for future elections to wrestle our democracy from the bleak future it now faces.

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