Monday, 12 February 2018


Prince Akpo’ Abugo writes

Politics without opposition is synonymous with dictatorship, this is because it gives a false view of messianic mentality to party in power for lack of vibrant opposition, voices of decent are silenced for praise singers, sycophants and stomach scavengers whose desire is individual aspirations. Democracy must have constructive opposition that provides alternative views, plans and ideas because without alternative choices dictatorship is inevitable, this was the strength of Athenian democracy: freedom, ideas, wealth creation, education and debates that makes superior views prevail over inferior views. Democracy is amplified by choices, freedom of speech and association, as long as it does not threaten the peace of individuals and the state.

The pillar of United states of America and western democracies are embedded in freedoms located in the constitution and laws, opposition in democracy gives alternative choices and views for citizens, it checkmates government in power through legitimate actions and inactions, it criticizes government policies and developmental plans by providing alternative plans thereby helping in state building, it affords government to evaluate policies and change such policies to reflect desired mood. Opposition parties are not name calling, they are not character assassination podiums neither are they where insults are thrown to promote ethnic, sectional or tribal goals for winning elections. Opposition does not promote self-goals that are inimical to good of all, it is not a tool for advancing personal grievances or perceived misunderstanding but advance development.

Politics is not about food, contracts or personal benefits but interests built on ideology and service, which is why two arch enemies maybe in one party, two feuding communities in one political party because they share same ideology. Politics is not dividing communities along self-interests but promoting welfare of people we must understand this as participants. Politics must be used to sustain human development, securing justice, peace and development, it must create wealth, good schools with knowledge and character, good economy devoid of corruption. In an environment that portrays stability, where ideas compete for space and sanctity of human life treasured. We must expose crimes, corruption and promote rule of law rather than sustaining evil that stagnates development.

If we don’t learn from past, we repeat them in gruesome consequences, we must use politics to promote good of society rather than personal engradisement that divides society along ethnic, tribal and religious lines. This was why Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) of the second republic preaches politics without bitterness because we live in plural society. At independence, political parties were regionalized with other smaller parties that aligned to major parties, the NCNC became dominant party in Eastern region, AG dominant in Western region, the NPC in Northern region, while NEPU was visible in Kano axis. After elections, the NPC/NCNC alliance formed government with Nnamdi Azikiwe as head of state while Tafawa Belewa Prime minister.

This left the Action Group (AG) and its leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as opposition leader in parliament as Chief Ladoke Akintola became premier of Western Region since Obafemi Awolowo was elected into the parliament and became official opposition leader. The 1962 Western Regional crisis was fallout of rigged elections to subvert opposition, this crisis led to state of emergency, the end was the 1966 coup. Military rule was entrenched and dearth of fiscal federalism, civil war broke out and consumed both resources and lives of Nigerians. The second republic was eventful as NPN, UPU, GNPP, PRP, NPP and later NAP gave healthy political competition but 1983 elections were similar to 1063 elections, the NPN in landslide and moon slide swept traditional strongholds of UPN, NPP and others.

The mistake of the first republic was repeated in the second republic, the 1983 general elections orchestrated impunity to impose personal interest above wishes of the people, the NPN in its quest to win, conquered everything in the land. Nnamdi Azikiwe went philosophical while Obafemi Awolowo kept silent and lawlessness was visited on Western region, the consequences was the December 31st 1983 coup that toppled President Shagari. The military in January 15th 1966 and December 31st 1984 made reference to muscling of opposition, rigging of elections and corruption. The background of these is the lesson that we cannot have democracy without opposition parties.

The PDP since 1999 has learnt to nourish opposition parties to expand democratic space so that citizen’s voices are heard, this gave room for smaller political parties to have members elected into states Houses of Assembly and National assembly. It was PDP’s political tolerance that gave birth to APGA and the Alliance for Democracy and other parties. PDP never blocked these parties’ from registration, in tandem with growth of democracy. One prerequisite requirements for democracy are free and fair elections and enabling environment for political activities, this was sustained and deepened since 1999 by PDP and this encouraged the merger of some parties into APC.

2015 general elections were historic because PDP never tampered or influenced the political process, it conceded defeat, congratulated Muhammadu Buhari by pledging support and collaboration and never challenged the results in tribunal. It was unprecedented because this action was prevent mistakes of the past and strengthen democratic culture. The APC must sustain this as we match towards 2019, PDP must be at peace for Nigeria to grow economically and politically. Buhari must understand democracy cannot survive without active opposition and tolerance, justice, freedoms and accommodation.

Present signs are discouraging, states controlled by PDP are under political onslaught by APC. In Delta, APC members, hitherto former members of PDP use federal institutions to hunt opposition and boast of “capturing Delta” because “it’s our turn” such rhetoric’s necessitate dictatorship as happened in 1966 and 1983. Today they boast of capturing Delta because of oil, saying ‘thank God we now control INEC’. These undemocratic lunatic statements must be stopped because Democracy without opposition is dictatorship, we must allow freewill of the masses to prevail rather than “capturing states” to nail opponents. If President Jonathan had used state institutions to witch hunt opponents, President Buhari would not be where he is today. State institutions like INEC, armed forces, EFCC, ICPC must be used to promote national unity, these institutions must serve Nigerians irrespective of religious, political, ethnic or tribal affiliations.

We are degenerating to barbaric lunacy where any party in power throw mudslides at opponents, where political supporters who are corrupt are shielded while common thieves are hunted and liquidated, a culture where opposing views are not tolerated and states funds used to witch hunt opponents, a strange culture where voices of the people are disregarded for perceived infallible leader whose acts and words are divine and cannot be faulted, a situation where blood of some are precious while others can be wasted and this is one of the dangers confronting the nation. A monopoly of ideas that is held sacrosanct and this amnesia of APC is self-destructive. Democracy is the ladder provided for self-evaluation and voices of the people heard.

The survival of PDP is important to growth of democracy, Buhari must ensure free and fair elections, and such elections must reflect choices of Nigerians. We must avoid pitfalls of past to guide future, the insanity of APC is encouraging impunity, these courtesans who dances shamelessly because of greed must be curtailed before they derail cherished freedoms and aspirations. These characters jumped at APC not because of what they give but what to get and is corrosive and infectious, these stomach scavengers can sell the state, their heritage, wives and children for mere porridge.

Buhari must douse current insecurity in the land and encourage industry anchored on political tolerance that necessitates political stability. He should encourage devolution of powers that gives prosperity, to make states and national assembly in synergy with electorates, secure people through state police that understands and knows the neighborhood and its occupants. Democracy like freedom must not be taken for granted, it comes with duties and responsibilities on government and citizens. Government must avoid self-preservation and the people must remain vigilant not to erode democratic universal values that sustains peace and prosperity.

Buhari must cherish opposition for democratic growth, we may not agree but democracy gives a platform, a voice unlike dictatorship. APC must see PDP as a viable partner not as a threat, it must seek views and consult in preferring ways that deepens democratic culture, this is because the silence of opposition in first and second republic led to coup, PDP learnt from history and allowed personal interest subdued by general interest, but is APC doing same with insecurity and hunger in the land?

Prince Akpo’ Abugo
SA Social Advocacy/
Director Orientation Agency,
Delta State.


Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of Isaac Yoma