The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency, yesterday, expressed sadness over what it described as lack of opposition party in Nigeria to criticise its policies, claiming that the supposed main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has become a joke, irresponsible and rudderless.
In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the ruling party stated that there was no opposition party to rigorously and intelligently interrogate the policies and programmes of the APC.
However, the PDP has countered that, rather than being dead, it remained the consensus party of most Nigerians, noting that the wish of the the ruling party for Nigeria to become a one-party state would not materialise.
The PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that the PDP, apart from relating directly with Nigerians, as the bastion of democracy in the country, it would continue to play its role as an opposition party.
He stated that the PDP, after an overhaul, has become the party of choice for well-meaning Nigerians seeking to contest for political office and good governance.
Ologbondiyan admonished the APC to beware that the nation has survived dictators: “We have succeeded as a people to ensure that those who seek to rule us without our consent do not succeed, and as such it is strange and totally unacceptable that the APC and the Buhari presidency will within its whimsical thinking claim that Nigeria will become a one-party state.
“This country is a resilient nation and no individual, no matter how highly-placed, in the past has succeeded in reducing us to a nation of cowards. Even today, it will be unacceptable to Nigerians to be so reduced. So, PDP will continue to play its opposition role and we will play it successfully.”
The APC accused the PDP of distracting government and Nigerians with its “post-election delusions,” and fake news.
“Nigeria deserves a strong, vibrant opposition to play its conventional role in the polity to deepen democracy. Sadly, Nigeria is becoming a one-party state. As a party that believes in democracy and progressive politics, we cannot pretend any longer.
“Democracy cannot be said to be fully operational in a situation where the supposed ‘main’ opposition party, PDP, has become a joke, irresponsible and rudderless.
“Even as the governing party, we recognize the importance of rigorous and intelligent interrogation of our policies and programmes by the opposition.
“There are a lot to gain by our democracy and our country in an atmosphere of robust engagement by responsible and patriotic opposition. The political system we practice has important roles for the political parties outside of power. The system envisaged that such parties would provide alternative viewpoints and put the governing party on its toes.
“Instead, the PDP and their minions have in the name of opposition continued to distract the government and Nigerians with their post-election delusions, salacious fictions, conjured rifts in government circles and, of course, the lowest of it all, the pathetic and senseless Jubril of Sudan malicious tale, among other fake news. Tragic!
“It is sad that PDP has finally proved incapable of filling this important democratic space.
“The other mushroom parties are even worse. Some of the smaller parties are filled with incurable charlatans issuing infantile weekly press statements on behalf of the PDP. Our democracy deserves better.
“The so-called Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), which could have filled the vacuum and engaged the APC administration in useful debates over governance, has become a comedy theatre group and frontline PDP minion.
“As the current administration tackles our national challenges and at a period we all should focus on issues of nation-building, the best PDP and its acolytes are offering is a distraction.
“While the PDP wallows in its obscene conducts, Nigeria under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, will continue to consolidate on its status as Africa’s largest economy.”
On his part, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, accused the PDP of missing in all key national issues and only focusing on trivial matters.
“In Nigeria, the opposition is close to reneging completely on the compact it holds with the voters. Every modern democracy exists for its checks and balances. Voters may elect a government to govern but they also elect an opposition – to oppose, to scrutinise, and to hold the majority to account. In the absence of either weight or counterweight, the scales of democracy become imbalanced. This cannot continue for long without the full functioning of governance being affected.”
“Whether citizens voted for President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) or for the opposition’s presidential candidate and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP), no one voted for failure. They may have voted differently on policy and personality, but regardless of a voter’s choice of candidate and party, for their vote they expect responsibility. No voter expected, nor wanted, the opposition somehow to simply go missing. But that, effectively, is what they have done,” Shehu said.
According to him, the opposition’s over-excretions are leaving a mess for the elected government to clean up.
On the appeal filed against the PDP against the court judgment which affirmed the election of President Buhari, Shehu said the opposition would kiss the dust again.