[OPINION POST]: THE NONCHALANT OPPOSITION IN THE PDP; Waking The Sleeping Dog – Elabor Joe Agbebaku, Esq.

Activities have kicked off as we approach the 2023 general elections. The dominant feeling in the mind of every conscious Nigerian is one of dissatisfaction with the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The challenges bedeviling the nation, as engendered by this administration, affect everyone irrespective of religion and ethnicity. These challenges are recurrent on a daily basis and are showing no sign of amelioration.

What is unclear to everyone is the obvious silence of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the face of these challenges. One would have expected waves of expositions and agitations from the opposition.

There are reported cases of kidnapping in virtually every part of the country today, from North to East; East to South; and South to West, no where is safe from Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram, ISWAP and bandits, attacking from different corners. Just a few days ago, the country recorded a jail break at the heart of the Nation’s capital, with recorded inmates, including the dreaded Boko Haram members, escaping. It is so appalling that up till this moment, nobody in the security department has been reportedly fired by the Commander-In-Chief. It is most dreadful that no one is raising a voice.

People no longer sleep with their eyes closed in this country and the opposition is relaxed and missing in action.

This is really awful. What a time in the life of a nation.

Opposition ought to be the watchdog of the people in any dispensation, which should be ready to bark whenever the government fails or is failing. Opposition forms part of political institution in any democratic system.

It is not just enough for the opposition to seek power, one of the major duties of the opposition in any democratic government is to draw the attention of the public to where the ruling government is failing, and to also challenge the ruling government vehemently through agitation.

According to Dr. Simon T. Franzmann, in his paper ‘The Impact of the Opposition in Established Democracies’, “Decisive functions of opposition are the critic and control of the incumbents as well as providing an alternative for the electorates”.

Henrick Bech Seeberg, in his paper ‘The Impact of Opposition Criticism on the Public’s Evaluation of Government Competence’, stated that: “Social problems do not systematically influence voters’ evaluation of government competence unless opposition criticism is taken into consideration”.

Bethel Demirkaye on his part described opposition simply as “whistleblower”.

The prices of things are skyrocketing every day. Diesel and kerosene are almost hitting One Thousand Naira per litter, while gas is already above a Thousand Naira per kg, just to mention but few. These prices are about 300% more than how they were seven years ago when this administration came in.

Exchange rates are going up everyday against Naira, yet we have CBN Governor and Finance Minister who are so comfortable as though all is well with our economy.

People’s businesses are going down and crashing owing to high cost of maintenance and servicing.

Earlier this year, the whole country was thrown into tension when contaminated fuel was imported into the country and distributed across the country without regulatory checks. So many vehicles and machines were damaged beyond repair. Fuel scarcity followed and lasted for many days. All owing to obvious negligence of some recalcitrant individuals who failed in their duties, yet no action or sanction was issued by the Minister of Petroleum who doubles as the President of the country. Again, there was no sign of demonstration or whatsoever from any angle including from the opposition.

ASUU has been on nationwide strike for months now, which has deprived Nigerian students from learning and getting promotion in their studies, yet we have Ministers of Labour and Education moving around as if nothing is at stake and even aspiring for elective positions. The mighty PDP which should lead the opposition to these incongruences has taken a back seat. Something is not just right.

It is no news that the country has been witnessing epileptic power supply. Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that the National Electricity Grid collapsed, making the situation even worse. At a time, there was no electricity supply and no fuel to power alternative energy.

So many issues, so many cracks everywhere in the country, and the opposition feel unconcerned about all of these. No, it shouldn’t be this way.

This lackadaisical and pococurante attitude being displayed by the opposition is not helping the nation, neither is it in any way beneficial to the party. The people expect more than what they are getting from the opposition.

In Sri Lanka today, opposition is leading the people, various Union groups, and even the military on protest against the government’s unfavorable policies which has made the President to flee. That is to show you the power of opposition in any democratic system if effectively activated.

In Albania, thousands of the citizens are currently on the streets behind the opposition party, protesting against hike in prices of commodities. That is just one out of the numerous challenges we have in our own country here, yet the opposition is quiet and cold.

In Tunisia, opposition is leading protest against the insouciant attitude of the President with respect to the hardship in the country.

These are currently happening, and also being recorded in many other countries. It is nothing new or novel, it is as old as democracy. It is even as old as the government itself, you can look up for records and book of histories.

Even in our country Nigeria, it is only in this dispensation we are not seeing the activism and demonstration of the opposition. It is not an offence, it is part of freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts, which is enshrined under Chapter IV of the Constitution.

The People’s Democratic Party, my party must wake up to meet up with the expectation of the people. What is the National Executive Committee of the party doing? What is the National Working Committee doing? What is the National Caucus doing? What is the party Governors Forum doing? What is the National Assembly Caucus doing? What are the Leaders of the party doing? A dog does not sleep at night when there is trouble in the house. The opposition must wake up from this irksome slumber.

This is a challenge for the opposition party, it behoves on the party to let Nigerians know what the situation is and the root of it. Like Henrick Seeberg rightly opined, the people may be ignorant of the ineptitude of the government, they should be educated on this, which would also inform them in taking decision especially now that the general elections are fast approaching.

Elabor Joe Agbebaku, Esq. (Elabor Joe Agbebaku[email protected]) is a PDP Member/Former House of Reps Aspirant, Owan Federal Constituency.

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