Everyday, we hear people who call themselves members of opposition political parties but since 1999 that the country returned to this pseudo-democratic experiment till date, there has never been opposition political parties in the country. In Nigeria, members of any political parties outside the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) see themselves as members of opposition political parties. But from all indications, there are no opposition political parties in the country rather what we have are members of political parties who do not play roles of opposition but only criticize and condemn the activities of the ruling Democratic Peoples Party unnecessarily without giving pragmatic alternative leadership to the people.They are political parties that are thirsty for power at all cost and employ all unethical practices including the crab theory in order to pull the PDP down. They criticize the PDP overtly but support its policy covertly. Their concern is not to impact the lives of the people positively but wrest power and use such power for their selfish interest. To buttress this position that there are no opposition political parties in the country but political parties that engage in criticism, condemnation and portray themselves as the “enemy” of the ruling political party; a few analysis will suffice. But what are opposition political parties? According to Wikipedia, “opposition political parties comprises one or more political parties or other organized groups that are opposed to the government or administration in political control of a city, region, state or country”.
The major roles of the opposition political parties are first: to put the ruling political parties on their toes. That is, opposition political parties ensure that the ruling political party is up and doing. They draw the attention of the ruling party to its manifestoes and also ensure that execute the programmes as they are in the party’s manifestoes. They make the ruling party to sit up and perform its duties. Second, opposition political parties usually oppose wrong policies introduced by the ruling party which are inimical to the good of the people. For instance, the various fuel price increases since 1999 till date which further impoverished the masses were never condemned by the so-called opposition parties because such increases provided the opportunities for both the ruling party and the opposition political parties to earn more money!
The PDP led Federal Government and some states it control, banned the use of motorcycle for commercial purposes and the opposition political did the same thing in their various states when they knew it was wrong to do so since there are no jobs in the country. Now, armed robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking and other violent crimes are in the increase because commercial motorcyclists who hitherto used it as their source of livelihood have nothing else to fall back on. It should be noted that even before the PDP controlled states banned commercial motorcycles, they made provisions for alternative jobs for the operators. For instance, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, provided 1000 tricycles at a subsidized price of one hundred fifty thousand naira (N150,000) each for the riders. There are 25 local government areas in the state so each of them got 40 tricycles! Even with that, commercial motorcycles are not banned throughout the state. Governor Uduaghan also provided masses transit buses that cover the nooks and crannies of the state. Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State also provided taxis to replace the banned cmmercial motorcycles. But what do we have in states controlled by the opposition political parties especially Lagos State which has the largest members in the opposition parties? Governor Raji Fashola banned commercial motorcycles without making provision for alternative means of transportation for the masses and jobs for the operators. Commercial motorcyclists were caught unaware because Governor Fashola bought helmets for them before his second term election so they could vote for him. After they had voted for him and was re-elected for second term, he banned them from operating without giving them notice! Why did him give them helmets in the first place? What alternative transportation system did him put in place for the masses? What alternative jobs did him provide for the commercial motorcycles operators?
At the moment, former commercial motorcyclists who struggled to buy tricycles for commercial purposes have also been banned from operating in Alausa and other major areas of the state. How does Governor Fashola expect commercial motorcyclists whose means of livelihood that have been taken away from them to feed? It is only in Nigeria we have opposition political parties that are worst than the ruling political party.
The PDP controlled states and the Federal Government are demolishing peoples houses without providing alternative homes for those affected but the opposition political parties are replicating the same action in their states, so where is the opposition to wrong policies which supposed to be the role of the opposition parties? Tejuoso Market was demolished about six years ago. Ajilogo and Jakara Markets were demolished about four years ago yet the Lagos State Government has not commenced their reconstructions but the traders have been rendered redundant since that time! Recently, Badiya community was also demolished but who knows when the community will be rebuilt? The PDP controlled federal government and states do not charge multiple taxes but the states controlled by the opposition political parties charge multiple taxes, making it very difficult for businesses to thrive!
Third, opposition parties are to support good policies of the ruling political party and add value to the lives of the people. The declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States by the ruling PDP is a good policy meant to guarantee the safety of live and property but as good as the policy is, the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC), opposed the decision and even advised the National Assembly not to approve it yet APC did not provide alternative measure or policy that could curb the insecurity in the north! How about the national conference that Nigerians have been clamouring for over the years? The chieftain of the newly registered APC and former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has condemned and described it as “ Greek gift and diversionary”! What then do Nigerians even want? For the APC leader to condemn the proposed national conference makes one wonder if Nigerians truly know what they actually want! Four, opposition political parties supposed to win the sympathy of the people through good governance but are the so-called opposition political parties doing that? Go and sample the opinion of residents in the states controlled by the opposition political parties and see their negative reactions toward them.
Instead of providing quality alternative leadership to Nigerians, the opposition political parties are even worst than the ruling PDP! The ruling PDP is perceived to be more sensitive to the plight of the people than the opposition political parties. The Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) brigades usually confiscate the wares of traders and share them among themselves after their daily operations. Lagos State Transport Management Authority brigades also arrest motorists indiscriminately. At present, if a car breaks down on the road instead of LASTMA officials to help tow it from the road they will tow it to their yard and impose a fine of N25,000 on the owner! The question residents in Lagos are asking is, will a car owner carry a faulty car on their heads in order to remove it from the road?
Opposition political parties usually avoid inter-party rivalries but what we have in Nigeria are political parties that create inter-party rivalries which heat up the polity unnecessarily. This is why there is so much tension in the land. This ought not to be so as opposition political parties supposed to douse tension by regulating themselves and also checking the excesses of the ruling political party. In addition, opposition political parties supposed to out-performed the ruling political party but the case is the reverse in Nigeria where the ruling political party seems to be doing better than the opposition political parties. If the opposition political parties are performing better than the ruling party PDP why have they not won more states or the presidency since 1999?
There are no opposition political parties in the country but political parties that want power by all means without winning the sympathy of the people. The so-called opposition political parties do worst things than the ruling PDP in terms of the type of policies they implement which are not humane. Opposition parties are not supposed to execute policies that impose suffering on the masses but those that add value to the lives of the people. We cannot say that there are opposition political parties in the country at the moment but political parties that only condemn and criticize everything the ruling PDP does without providing solutions to myriad of problems that confront the country. They are mere fifth columnists!
The VME readers, do you think there are opposition political parties in Nigeria or political parties that want power by all means? Please leave your comment in the comments section. Thank you.