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Wanted: Good Quality Opposition


By Balarabe Usman Minso
What Nigeria needs at this time, apart from prayers and selfless love from her citizenry, is good quality opposition. Iron sharpens iron. A bright opposition party will make the incumbent work even harder. The improvement that Nigerians can expect from the People’s Democratic Party is directly proportional to the quality of opposition from the other parties. It is painful to have to add that the kind of quality that is referred to here has nothing to do with a mega tag or a vast vault of questionable money that is available for lies infested propaganda. It is an affront for politicians to assume that if they make enough noise, we will all start to believe that rogues are saints and messiahs.

It is an affront to our historical experience and our individual sensitivities for a ravenous and rapacious schemer to present himself as a progressive and pretend that we can mistake him for Chief Jeremaih Obafemi Awolowo alter ego when it is obvious that he falls far short of the dignity and probity that the legend brought to politics. Buying up all the media houses and waving millions under the nostrils of under-paid journalists cannot hide the fact that Baba- not Obasanjo- would have been ashamed of his readiness to compromise every decency to ascend the throne.

Where Awolowo maintained a consistent commitment to the farmers and other workers by providing an escape route for their children through education, the owl is obviously only interested in making more and more money from any state that falls prey to his party through excruciating taxes and levies. When he came for votes as a senator in those days, he could not be described as a millionaire. Now he is richer than Osun state but would not spare that state his merciless taxation machinery.

Can anyone who has read the history books imagine Awolowo being amenable to desperado manoeuvres like attempting to worm his way to the office of Vice President by negotiating a deal that requires the wannabe Vice President signing a resignation letter before the election?
Can any of the people who enjoyed Action Group’s free education imagine a committed man like Awo dropping a programme dear to him because he is desperate to merge with strange bed fellows? The swallowed up ACN used to make a lot of noise about true federalism as one of their sacrosanct programmes. That has been compromised by a contraption in the name of a mega party of ambitious paper cats.
Nigerians deserve something better than fluffy bandits who keep flying to and fro supposedly ideologically opposed parties like witches serially hopping from coven to coven. Who do these guys imagine that they are fooling?
Obviously, no one has mentioned any name here but you know what Achebe said about how an old woman without teeth feels when her neighbour talk about a corn cob with scanty grains on it.

It will take more than inexplicable wealth to transfigure these fly-by-night stuntmen to credible and desirable political opposition. And it is kind of spooky when these characters start latching on to every falsehood or improbably postulation as their principal campaign doctrine.
The kind of infantile politics where an expensive Centre- spread is bought to take sides with terrorists in the name of getting to the bottom of things. The latest is the obvious disinformation distilled through a foreigner that deliberately mixed the rumoured sponsor of Boko Haram with the preposterous idea that a man who killed more Boko Haram than any other army chief is a patron of the sect.

Davis said he was given this information by Boko Haram leaders or members. Is that not enough to discredit the broadcast? Since when did progressive opposition depend on projecting red herrings from masked liars as the major meat of their campaign?
What kind of opposition are we so inflicted with who have no respect for veracity, who want to railroad us from skepticism to cynicism? How do I explain to my children that the same $49 billion, $20 billion and $12 billion that has been investigated and revealed to have sprung from ignorance or mischief is the same that the opposition wants to build schools and pay salaries with?
Nigerians desire improvement from the ruling party but a blind man cannot help a man with eyes to walk better. We need an opposition with well-articulated programmes to market to us. Not lies repeated too often. We need sober, rational and credible people projecting a better alternative.

We need a choice between good and better. Not between can-get-better and definitely-much-worse.

Balarabe Usman Minso, is a Kano based businessman


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