For democracy to grow in any country, there must be a strong opposition party. It is the opposition party that checkmates the ruling party and stops the government from being dictatorial.
The opposition party doesn’t sleep, it analyses the policies and actions of the ruling party and constantly reminds the people of the negative consequences of such policies.
The opposition in a democratic setting educates the masses about the hidden evil policies of the government and attracts the international community’s reaction to such policies and programs.
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When the opposition party is alive, the ruling party and the government is careful, knowing that whatever it does or says could become an international topic, and could attract strong criticism.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) while in the opposition played this role perfectly. Lai Mohammed, the then-party Publicity Secretary woke Nigerians each day with new topics on the failures or bad policies of the then ruling PDP.
APC then had facts and figures and used it all to her benefit by strongly criticising the PDP-led government.
The movements of the president, and the words of government officials were carefully observed by APC and the party had something to say about everything.
PDP had to consider the possible reaction of the APC before it would take any action.
The PDP-led government was left on the defensive as protests and criticisms grew across the nation. Nigerians learned to boldly criticize and question the actions of the government. Heavy protests greeted the removal of fuel subsidies.
The government’s way of handling security situations in the country was strongly criticized. PDP was eventually pushed out of government with Nigerians hoping that APC was the saviour.
Ever since APC took over power, we have heard very little from PDP. And when we heard from them, it wasn’t very loud or critically analysed. ASUU has gone on strike, petrol pump price has increased, insecurity is spreading across the country, prices of foodstuffs are increasing daily and yet PDP has been busier with internal power tussles.
APC does what it wants to do and only a few people question the government. PDP is sleeping.
An APC as the opposition would have spoken so much till Nigerians see the government as the demon oppressing them. Lai Mohammed would have called press conferences each day to warn that the government is leading Nigeria to its grave.
APC is today praising itself as the best government Nigeria has ever had, and no one questions them. Students are at home, Nigerians are crying because of hunger, yet APC went for a convention and gave a pass mark to itself.
PDP is silent. PDP forgot that as an opposition party it has the sacred mandate of speaking for the masses and checking the excesses of the ruling party. Many of her members simply joined the ruling party while those that remained sought personal gratification.
Truth be told, whether APC has done well or not, the party will win the next general election. The reason is simple, there is no strong opposition. And I am afraid it’s already too late for the opposition party to wake up.
Whenever we discuss the failures of the APC government, we should not fail to discuss the failures of the PDP as an opposition party, because a good opposition can push the government to better achievement.
- Caleb Mbah, a political analyst, wrote from Abia