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


 

 

 

SEPARATING HYPOCRISY FROM POLITICAL OPPOSITION
by Kali Gwegwe

Another source of concern is the fact that the opposition does not know what not to play politics with. They blame the federal government and the military whenever Boko Haram kill or kidnap innocent Nigerians but maintain sealed lips when the armed forces score huge points against the insurgents. It gives huge credit to allegations by some prominent foreigners and former chieftain of the APC, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode that the party is behind the Boko Haram sect. 

The time has come for Nigerians to separate between hypocrisy and political opposition. Hypocrites have no place in leadership; whether in the religious, political, or cultural sectors.  

 

It is important that Nigerians begin to show serious interest not only in the party in power but the opposition too. This is because the strength of a nation’s democracy is in how vibrant the opposition is. For many discerning minds, the greatest threat to Nigeria’s democratic culture and obstacle to a rapid socio-economic development is not the actions or inactions of the party in power. Poor opposition tradition is.  

 

In fact, political opposition is to democracy what spice is to stew. The opposition is suppossed to offer the electorates credible alternatives. Unfortunately, opposition parties in Nigeria have reduced itself to mere assemblage of alarmists and propaganda bearers. They are mostly known for raising alarms about plans by the ruling party to rig elections. This is not the kind of political atmosphere that opposition politics thrive in modern democracies. It explains why the opposition have not been able to win the Nigerian presidency since 1999; giving rise to anger and frustration on the part of its leaders and financiers.

After the 2011 presidential polls, the anger and frustration of some opposition leaders snowballed into a hate culture. This was evidenced by the senseless killings of several innocent citizens and the destruction of properties and investments worth billions of Naira. Since then, the quality of opposition language has become not only disgusting but inciting too. They have abandoned democracy to embrace insultocracy, a negative political culture that is based on insulting political opponents. Insultocracy was popularised by former FCT minister and chieftain of the APC, Mallam Nasir El Rufai. A day hardly passes without him insulting the person of the president all in the name of opposition politics.

Unable to manage their frustration, the colour of opposition grew from hate to that of desperation. It was out of desperation for power that opposition politicians with opposing beliefs and ideologies forged a merger called APC, which some perceptive political analysts describe as a “shotgun wedding.”    

The question many curious observers are however asking is: can a leopard change its spots? The APC says it can. Godfatherism is one of the several spots the party says it can change. Barely one month after its formation, the integrity of the APC was put to test. True to popular opinion, it failed woefully. In its characteristic style, the leadership of the party, influenced by the “ACN spirit”, met in Abuja, and endorsed Senator Chris Ngige as its gubernatorial candidate for Anambra State. However, following angry protests by aggrieved party members, including some of the aspirants, a stage-managed primary was later conducted in Awka, where Ngige eventually won. This was when it dawned on most Nigerians that a leopard would remain a leopard: It cannot change its spots.

Not impressed by the dictatorial tendencies of its leaders, the APGA and CPC components of APC in Anambra State threatened to pull out of the merger to align with either PPA or PDM. The truth is that, political merger cannot work in the face of dictatorship, oppression, high-handedness, and grave injustice. This was why General Mohammadu Buhari was initially cautious and therefore preferred an alliance to an outright merger.

 Apart from their penchant for raising false alarms, opposition leaders are known for making threats before major elections. The godfather of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu threatened hell few days before the Ekiti gubernatorial elections. Buoyed by the fact that security agencies did nothing about the threat, Governor Aregbesola repeated same during the Osun governorship elections last August.

Only recently, it was widely reported that the National Chairman of APC, John Odigie Oyegun threatened that the party will form a parallel government should the 2015 presiential polls be rigged. There are two pertinent questions begging for answers: Does the Electoral Act or any other recognised law confer authority on APC to accertain an election that is rigged? Is it prescribed in the Electoral Act or any other recognised law that the injured party should form a parallel government if an election is rigged? The opposition has benefited so much from judicial exercises in the past. Why are they no longer having confidence in the judiciary? Did I hear you call Salami?     

Perhaps, one should point out that the Electoral Act is very clear about how politicians and political parties should respond when an election is suspected to have been rigged. Making frivolous allegations in the press is not one of them. In most cases, these alarms and allegations have turned out to be false. There have also been cases where the opposition rigged elections and went on to raise alarms in order to mislead the unsuspecting public. Owing to all of these, many ordinary Nigerians are in a dilemma. They do not know whether to trust or doubt the opposition anymore.

Meanwhile, the APC claims they are on a mission to rescue Nigeria. My candid advice for members of the APC is that they should first rescue their party from the hands of their authoritarian leaders. Anything short of this will keep them decades away from Aso Rock.

Another hypocrisy of the APC is in accusing the federal government of not fighting corruption. It is easier said than done. I challenge APC governors to tell Nigerians have many cases of corruption they have unearthed and taken to court in their respective states. They cannot tell the world that their states are corruption-free. Even if for nothing, the fact that most public office holders in the APC governed states are living far above their income is enough opportunity for the governors to prove that their party is averse to corruption. Leadership is a practical thing. Leadership is by example. The APC cannot convince Nigerians it can fight corruption when it has actually done nothing in this regard.  

It is not enough to point accusing fingers. The leaders and financiers of the opposition should tell Nigerians the sources of their stupendous wealth. This is one way they can shame the ruling party and win the confidence of Nigerians.

How come that politicians who looted public treasury between 1999 and 2003 sudenly become saints, mesiahs, and progressives? To be a saint, mesiah, or progressive; one only needed to disagree with or insult President Goodluck Jonathan. This is how bad opposition politics has become in Nigeria.    

There is credible reason for one to believe that some corrupt politicians are joining the opposition in order to evade arrest and prosecution. Opposition politicians are quick to allege political victimisation each time they are investigated for corruption.  

Another source of concern is the fact that the opposition does not know what not to play politics with. They blame the federal government and the military whenever Boko Haram kill or kidnap innocent Nigerians but maintain sealed lips when the armed forces score huge points against the insurgents. It gives huge credit to allegations by some prominent foreigners and former chieftain of the APC, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode that the party is behind the Boko Haram sect. 

The time has come for Nigerians to separate between hypocrisy and political opposition. Hypocrites have no place in leadership; whether in the religious, political, or cultural sectors.

 

 

 


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