Letter To The Nigerian Opposition
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In the last couple of years and most especially since the beginning of our nascent democracy in 1999, what has been pelted against the vast majority of Nigerians has been a degeneration of basic democratic values and unfulfilled promises from the ruling
elites. Nigerians have watched helplessly, how few powerful individuals suddenly altered their quest for social justice, equality and welfare for all, by personalizing power and using it to further suppress the collective will of the vast majority of the people.
When we speak of democracy in Nigeria, it ought to be spoken in terms of what the government ought to have done for the people in a mutually binding social contract, yet all we see on a daily basis are massive corruption unprecedented in our history, the rise of militant and Islamic groups both in the North and South-South, a rising and morally decadent society, swift violence and police brutality, broad day light robbery, massive unemployment, dying education, a compromised judiciary, a bastardized economy and a weak leadership whose mien has failed to reciprocate the kind gestures of the peoples' vote.
When one looks at the country today, it stinks with nothing but desperation, hopelessness and disaster. The country reminds one of the feudal era in Europe where the King, Lords, Vassals and Knights held sway while the Serfs, who were the hewers of wood and drawers of water watched helplessly. The ruling elites paints a perfect picture of this grim illustration while the serfs in the feudal era certainly are the vast majority of people living below the poverty line in the country today.
This writer cannot but say categorically that the ruling party at the centre have not only failed the Nigerian masses in material things, but have held no hope for them in time of despair. It is for this reason that the opposition in whatever guise and with whatever ideology they hold dear must begin to pledge a new deal for the Nigerian people. The Nigerian opposition since 1999 has refused to muster enough courage to fight and bring to a halt, the myopia and babel of confusion that is of the ruling party or how else could one describe their continous defeat for the fourth time running, despite the ruling party having nothing to show for their long years of democratic rule?
It sparks off nothing but sheer negligence on the path of the Nigerian opposition not to come together as a collective, in order to sweep away those who have nothing to show for democratic governance and consolidation. The country today is even more divided than the pre-civil war years and if reports of a possible break up by 2015 coming from the U.S and elsewhere is anything to go by, then the opposition must begin a process of co-operation, linkages and grassroot orientation and mass mobilization to sensitize the Nigerian people of the need to join forces with them to seize power from kleptocratic, less ideological, myopic and clueless individuals at the centre.
The Nigerian opposition must seize to make unnecessary statements or heap counter-accusations against the ruling party but act swiftly on behalf of the people. They must do away with the benign spirit and disposition that has made them a mule and greenhorn amongst political horses and gladiators. Whatever differences that exist among them must be pushed aside for the fulfillment of their desire to take power from political shenanigans whose rule has continued to place the country in the deep chasm of wanton poverty and underdevelopment.
From all indications, it is crystal clear that the vast majority of people are fed up with the 'goodluck train' and want quick change. Nigerians are unhappy with the myriads of policies enacted by past and present administration, simply because they have not only rendered the people poor, but stagnant. It is for this reason that the opposition must brace up and begin a transformational agenda where the people would see its seriousness and capability in presenting a capable, sellable and viable 'consensus candidate' that will not only appeal to the yearnings and aspirations of the people, but defeat whichever candidate the ruling party endorses.
If we must deliver the country from the current mess it is in today, it is imperative for the opposition to sell itself well enough to the electorate, knowing fully well that Nigerians are becoming wiser by the day. Not even the rigging machines and electoral manipulations that characterize elections in the country would change the fact that the people are willing to vote in a candidate who would not force subsidy removal on us all but one who understands our pains and wore good shoes to school. The opposition would have itself to blame if it does not use its hold on the 'power of the state' coupled with the disaffection of the people on the powers that be, to make a name for itself. The opposition must learn from history, else they should be condemned it.
Change can never be sacrificed on the alter of stagnation. Now is the time to make things work for the opposition so as to alter the power equation in the country, most especially from those whose hand it has always been. The opposition can make it happen and it begins with strong determination and a penchant to win with a difference.
RAHEEM OLUWAFUNMINIYI, a social commentator and political analyst resides in Ibadan and could be reached via