Brushing aside the ‘minor issue’ of taking an over extended sick leave, which turned the country into a laughing-stock, Nigeria’s president wants to resume duties by telling Nigerians what he expects from the opposition.
To begin with, he ignores the real opposition and organises a parley with members of the other party, the People’s Democratic Party, a quasi-criminal organisation composed of treasury looters and political opportunists, pretty much like the president’s own party. The president is ignoring the fact that when he won the presidential election in 2015 members of the so-called opposition party were departing the party in droves like rats fleeing a sinking ship. How can that be the real opposition?
In Nigeria, as it is in most countries where there is a lack of responsible leadership, the opposition is usually the downtrodden populace not the other political parties whose members are just hanging around for crumbs that drop from the table of the party in power.
In countries where they have responsible leadership, there is usually a broad political spectrum of issues or ideologies and parties emerge based on their views on these issues. Take immigration for examples, in developed countries different parties have different views on how to tackle immigration such that your views on immigration alone could determine which party you would join, support or vote for. Other issues include how to deal with criminals or to what extent government should fund health services or education.
In a country like Nigeria, however, the only ideology is money, if you can even call that an ideology. Politicians are only concerned about where their bread is being buttered, which explains why PDP members were jumping ship in droves after the last presidential elections.
If Mr. President wants to talk to the real opposition, he should invite the people who have been organising rallies all over the country protesting about the spiraling cost of living and unbridled corruption in the country. If opposition is supposed to be about issues affecting the people then the question is, what issues will PDP members discuss with the president? Do they even understand what these issues are? Were they not busy lining their own pockets while they held the country hostage for sixteen years?
If the president wants to talk to the real opposition he should have started by inviting ASUU members to discuss how to resolve the ongoing strike but that wouldn’t be on his priority list as his children are schooling abroad.
Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) also form part of the opposition. Whatever your opinion of Nnamdi Kanu and his organisation, Biafra is an issue that cannot be ignored and it is not going away until the government sits down with all the concerned parties to iron out an agreement. If people from a particular ethnic group are drawing attention to a matter, a responsible government shouldn’t try to silence them by force but engage with them with a view to settling the matter.
How about pollution in the Niger Delta or the indiscriminate killing of the president’s own people in the North by terrorists?
The more the president ignores the real opposition, the louder their voice will become.
Playing the ostrich and pretending PDP represents the interests of Nigerians only means neither PDP nor APC deserve to ever win any election in this country again. Particularly because due to PDP’s kleptocratic and irresponsible leadership for sixteen years, Nigerians had no other choice but to run into the arms of a military dictator. Little surprise he is intolerant of opposition.