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2019 Polls: Why Small Parties Should Stop Wobbling

By Queen Nwabueze,

June 19 2018.

The glaring reality that incumbents can now be wrestled in Nigerian elections is a proof of improved awareness and literacy on the part of the electorate. Everyone acclaimed that the happening presented interesting dimensions in the country’s political evolution – no longer business as usual.

Nigerians now vote performance, not ethnicity, not religion. Rather than act the political violence and thuggery script, the electorate now stand up only to ‘foment’ exquisite tension in the system. They now demand full compliance to campaign promises and global best practices from the political class.

Applying Niyi Osundare’s “Ours to Plough, not to Plunder,” electorate at the 2015 general elections brandished that a credible election is not INEC’s alone to plough and theirs to plunder.

They have evicted, for good, all plundering tendencies and facing the reality that the entire country is to do the ploughing to get the best out of the political parties.

In the popular Nairaland weblog, a contributor said, “there won’t be absence of opposition. If PDP does not assume the role, the electorate will do. At the next election in two years time, Nigerians will vote any “seemingly credible” candidate…”

Recall that ruling APC was the opposition before the change of baton. As opposition, the party was headed by fantastic communications persons evident in the success result.

APC’s case was that of fighting tooth and nail. Nigerians on their own part felt they had a better choice to break free from the PDP supposed 16 years of bondage and misrule.

They felt so because APC with the communication wand overhauled their psyches. APC went viral with communications, branding itself as the change Nigerians have always yearned for. They won the elections, as a result.

As opposition, the question to the PDP is, ‘how market?’ is PDP really formidable as an opposition? Funnily, ruling APC does not even see PDP as a threat. Political experts and analysts, including the APC think, PDP needs rebranding to succeed as opposition.

APC once dismissed acommuniqué issued by the PDP National Caucus on ‘the so-called political developments in the nation’ as “a rehash of the opposition party’s infantile whining which will not save it from going down unless it rebrands most urgently.”

APC continued, “The PDP just doesn’t get it, despite being the architect of its own fall. The days of winning elections with the aid of slush funds, brigandage, deceit and rigging are gone forever, hence the PDP must return to the drawing board to fashion out decent and empirical ways of repackaging and selling itself to Nigerians, just like the opposition did when they decided to come together.”

In defence, PDP has described its conduct as opposition as very decent compared to when the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was the main opposition party.

“The style we are bringing is constructive criticisms because the essence is not about winning. It is about serving the people. We want to serve the Nigerian people, that is why we are in politics,” Olisa Metuh, former Publicity Secretary of the party stated in one edition of the Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Nigerians themselves have formed the opposition since PDP seems to lack bite. They think PDP is not strong enough so have taken up the mantle of opposition.

PDP very own, DoyinOkupe once said, “the credibility of the party as a veritable political alternative to the APC has been nearly irreparably damaged.”

Another Nigerian, Tobi Adebowale, said, Nigerians must not make the mistake of leaving opposition to the PDP, saying, since the PDP is incapable of filling the opposition gap left by the now-ruling APC,  Nigerians must do so themselves.

Okupe like every other Nigerian argued, “The APC and the PDP have become two sides of the same coin. No clear philosophy. No ideology or central motivating theme. No clear policy objectives. No true leadership. No defining party character or style. Only contestants, aspirants and office seekers. No party discipline, pedigree or ethics.”

Furthermore, Okupe emphasised that APC may not meet the expectations of Nigerians or may in fact fail outrightly over time but the PDP as it is presently constituted, will not be an acceptable alternative to majority of Nigerians now or in future.

At this point, one wonders why other political parties have not deactivated their sleeping mode. Besides, APC thought them that defeating the power of incumbency is actually a no brainer. Nigeria is a multi party system, not two-pronged.

Nigeria has over 25 registered political parties. Where are they? We have Action Alliance AA, African Democratic Congress ADC, Citizens Popular Party CPP, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Alliance for Democracy AD, People for Democratic Change PDC, People’s Democratic Movement PDM, Fresh Democratic Party, Kowa Party, Advanced Congress of Democrats ACD, Labour Party LP among others.

Nigerians are tired of the umbrella and broom which have shaded and swept them no good. The birth of APC was a wonderful debut in the political scene in the country, then.It was a mega opposition party determined to challenge the then ruling PDP. APC succeeded.

The milestone should nudge small parties to abandon their docility because the Nigerian electorate no longer suffer from political fatigue, illiteracy and apathy.

 

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