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Kali Gwegwe
 CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower
2, Greenvilla-Customs Link Road
Biogbolo-Epie
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State


 

 

 

IF I WERE IN THE OPPOSITION
by Kali Gwegwe

If I were in the opposition, I will insist that the party leaders act reasonably. This is because the opposition is fast becoming a nuisance to many decent minded Nigerians. I mean the millions of Nigerians who can take insults but will not tolerate lies.

 

Political opposition is to democracy what spice is to stew. Unfortunately, most Nigerian opposition leaders mistake hate for opposition politics. This is responsible for the deplorable opposition culture in the country. It means that political opposition has been able to contribute maximally to the growth of Nigerian democracy.

 

Despite several complains by decent minded Nigerians, the opposition has continued to rely on deliberately misleading Nigerians and insulting the person of the president to win the sympathy of voters. Opposition leaders and their sympathisers have severally labelled the President and Commande-in-Chief as “clueless”, “weakling”, “scumbag”, “glutton”, and “drunk.” This is sad, undemocratic, and irresponsible. If not for the fact that President Jonathan is a complete gentleman committed to the Nigerian project, the unwarranted provocations by the opposition would have threatened the survival of our fledging democracy.

If I were in the opposition, I would insist that the leaders deploy strong character while seeking the sympathy of voters, many of whom now feel deceived into believing what is not true and acceptable by standard global best practice. Before the 2011 presidential polls, many voters, especially those  in the rural areas were easilly hoodwinked by ethnic and religious sentiments.  

It has become certain that just like a leopard, the opposition cannot change its dark spots. This is one strong reason it would not be able to occupy the presidency for a long time to come. Many Nigerians can withstand insults but will not tolerate lies. No day passes without the opposition telling Nigerians that “the president has done nothing.” For many discerning Nigerians, this shallow opinion is not just insulting but a slap on their sensibilities. It is easy to lie to a blind and deaf person. Nigerian electorates are no longer blind and deaf.

Nigerians are aware that under President Jonathan, the Electoral Act has been deliberately amended to promote transparency and protect the powers of voters. Even in the face of this glaring fact, the opposition still tell Nigerians that “the president has done nothing.” Is there any better way a sitting president can strenghthen the pillars of democracy?

Past governments since independence have been talking about industrial revolution without making serious efforts towards laying the fundamental foundation that will sustain the laudable desire. Determined to match words with action, President Jonathan carried out a major reform in the power sector, aimed at kick-starting an industrial revolution that will create millions of direct and indirect jobs for our teeming youth population. Yet, the opposition says “Jonathan has done nothing.” Is this the meaning of opposition politics?

It is easy for the opposition to say the president is not fighting corruption. However, each time any of them is investigated or charged for corruption, they claim political victimization. Many persons are in the opposition because of their corrupt activities. One is therefore tempted to believe that one of the antics employed by corrupt people to escape prosecution is to join the opposition. When the long arm of the law is stretched towards them; they rush to accuse the president of witch-hunting his political opponents.  Through this way, they are able to deceive the unsuspecting public.

Furthermore, there is no known law that says only the federal government should fight corruption. The war against graft is everybody’s responsibility. Yet, not even one of the opposition states has prosecuted anybody for corruption. With several thousands of glaring cases of government officials and their family members living well above their income, can the opposition tell Nigerians that there has been no single case of corruption in any of the states under its control?  This is the crux of the matter. The opposition is not sincere even with themselves. How can they then be sincere with the rest of us?  

Our airports and air travels have never been this good. It was not until during the Jonathan administration that the Nigeria’s entire airspace was covered by radar. Even so, the opposition says “Jonathan has done nothing” What do they understand by “nothing”?

With Akanu Ibiam International airport in Enugu in mind, how can international air travelers in and out of the South-East agree with the opposition that President Jonathan “has done nothing”? It would be difficult for commuters and transporters that ply the Ore-Benin Expressway to agree that “the president has done nothing.” Thousands of traders and farmers that use the rehabilitated rail transport system to move their goods between the northern parts of the country and the south will not forgive whoever that says “Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing.” What about the thousands of Nigerians that are earning a living from the textile industries that were resuscitated by President Jonathan? They will never agree with the opposition that “Jonathan has done nothing.”

Go and tell an almajiri in the northern parts of the country that “President Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing” and you will get a very cold shoulder. This is because the Jonathan administration has liberated them from the claws of ignorance, which is deliberately promoted by a tiny clan of elites from the region. These elites have been benefiting from the ignorance of the people. It explains why some northern elites, including the governor of Niger State tried to hide behind religion and culture to frustrate the introduction of the almajiri intervention program pioneered by the Jonathan administration.

Nigerian farmers will never accept the “President Jonathan has not done anything” mantra by the opposition. No leader, since the discovery of oil has invested so much in the agricultural sector as Goodluck Jonathan. Farmers in rural areas now have easier access to fertilizers, farm inputs, and credit facilities. The same thing applies to SMEs.

The Niger Delta region, the pillars of Nigeria’s economy has enjoyed a great amount of stability. The nation’s oil revenue has increased tremendously owing to this. Can this be regarded as “not done anything”? Opposition politics is not about telling lies.

For over forty years, previous leaders did nothing about our university system until Jonathan came on board. University education was allowed to decay to the chagrin of many. Earlier this year, the Jonathan-led federal government signed an agreement with ASSU that will help raise the quality of our public universities to global standard within the next four years. Is this not something worth the attention of the opposition?

With the establishment of three new federal polytechnics and twelve universities in the country, I do not know how Nigerian youths will accept the lies that “President Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing.” Before now, tens of thousands of youths were denied tertiary education not because they were not qualified. It was simply due to shortage of available spaces in the existing universities and polytechnics.  

If I were in the opposition, I will insist that the party leaders act reasonably. This is because the opposition is fast becoming a nuisance to many decent minded Nigerians. I mean the millions of Nigerians who can take insults but will not tolerate lies.

 

 


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