Blog, Essays, Monishots

What will it take to awaken a lazy opposition?

There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time. ~ Malcolm X In the ‘coup’ that led to the emergence of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu as his deputy, a cerebral friend had asked a pertinent question. How will the opposition fare in a democracy where one of the most senior senators selfishly joined an APC led Senate leadership as the Deputy Senate President? Well, it could be fair to suggest that Ike who is a seasoned lawyer and lawmaker stooped to conquer in a future battle but if he ever did stumble upon the above wisdom nugget by the legendary Malcolm X how has he fared as an opposition senator? The answer is that he has performed abysmally if at all what we have seen can be described as a performance. You are free to luxuriate in your cloddishness but smart and politically savvy Nigerians are not obliged to flounder about with you. Any discerning political observer would have known that the applause which heralded Obasanjo’s explosive letter will no sooner evaporate as it effervesced. Even though the former president is notorious for his strategy, Nigerians are often so much in a hurry to move on to the next that the euphoria over that missive was never going to last beyond a week. Obasanjo superintended no democracy and should never be our SI unit for measuring good governance. It was he who boisterously strode across the nation like a colossus for 8 years, taking down all that dared cross his path. He willfully rigged in and impeached governors at his whim and but for Asiwaju’s resilience, Nigeria would have been a one-party state when the ruling PDP swept through the polls by ‘winning’ 28 states in 2003. But this essay is not about the selfish and corrupt nationalist, nor will I waste space on the doublespeak by IBB lest we digress and wander too far. Now let us critically dissect some of the issues. Can you imagine the ruling party in opposition while the government of the day reneges on many of its numerous promises to Nigerians? You see, let us not deceive ourselves opposition politics is no cheesecake. No other person than the Asiwaju himself can attest to this. For 16ys he was in the dugout slugging it out with almighty Villa occupants as the leader of the opposition. Half of that time was spent battling Obasanjo who had little political value in his base, but however, had the required international clout and the equally invaluable backing of political power blocs controlled by moneybag generals who have continued appropriating our collective patrimony since the end of the civil war. I was therefore not surprised when Tinubu described Baba’s tantrums as mere politics, the Ebora Owu could have used other means as he has unfettered access to the presidency. Some will ask if he was playing politics when he wrote Jonathan? Of course, else let the old fox show us Jonathan’s so-called snipers. Or have we in our characteristic amnesia forgotten that weighty allegation which the then opposition milked to the extreme with El Rufai’s scurvy list? Who is spearheading the onslaught? Wike may have installed Secondus as the PDP chairman but the Ikwerre politician is smart enough to know that holding on to his base is imperative for his political survival, at least for now. Is it Femi Fani Kayode whom the majority of Nigerians regard as a junkie that will sing for any government that drops a teaspoonful of porridge on his dinner table? Or Fayose who barks like a rabid dog in the day but sneaks in at night to prostrate and apologise to those he abused? Then we have Reno Omokri, a perky impostor whose primary platform is Linda Ikeji’s blog where he spars with Kim Kardashian and Cossy Orjiakor for social media likes. Just tell me, who is leading the opposition? These vocal few who are supposed to be championing the opposition’s quest to ‘win 30 states in 2019’ are such a laughable bunch that they will be instant hits in the comedy business. They are neither capable of articulating the vision and mission of any serious political party nor are they suited to the onerous task of getting the electorate’s attention let alone convincing them. Sadly, there are few alternatives left in the PDP, for all have stolen and will remain tainted with corruption for life. Whatsmore whatever ace they may have up their sleeves will not be alien to APC which is comprised of strange bedfellows that will do anything to retain the seat of power. That much they achieved out of power, how much more now they have the power and resources. So what will it take to mobilise a robust opposition that can rattle the ruling APC? Who can put together a movement that will convince Nigerians that it cares about our socio-economic well-being? A tall order if you ask me, for in our nascent democracy there is a lot of motion with little movement. We have seen political parties which are supposedly the fundamental crucible of any democracy become opportunistic associations devoid of ideology but dotted with individuals whose major interests are at best self-serving. They have similar manifestos that are often filled with the vacuous rhetoric used to conceal parochial sentiments and avarice. Little wonder then that many have given up resulting in another round of brain drain and a vast number of our people caught in the tragic migrant routes of war-torn Libya. However, we must trudge on because just like they say, Rome was not built in a day. The quest to achieve a just and equitable society must begin with admitting our collective complicity in the bad state of affairs that has plagued our fatherland for ages. Even as we blame politicians for nepotism and corruption, how many of us can honestly say we