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Published On: Tue, Jul 15th, 2014

PDP’s futile attempt to kill the opposition

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Dr Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azuTuesday Column by Ayobami Oyalowo

In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil by establishing political equality and withholding unnecessary opportunities from few, to increase the inequality of property, by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches – James Madison (1787).

In recent times, there have been a deluge of ferocious attacks on opposition figures in the news media. Such attacks, though stinging and constant, provide an avenue for discerning minds to quickly see that the various op-eds have been low on facts and substance. Yet they keep rolling them out without fail.

We have had “democracy” now for over 15 years but what has been clear is that nothing has really changed in the polity. If anything, the quality of life for the masses has steadily been in decline. Previous federal governments led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had done little in ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians, but they had at least not taken us for fools; unlike the present government led by Goodluck Jonathan. For some time now I have been running my household on electric generator and that has been the lot of most Nigerians too.

The government of Jonathan is doing all it can to enrich a few while increasing the sufferings of the majority. It was a lot easier for the federal government to do nothing, knowing that there were no credible or serious alternative political platform(s) like we have today. Sadly, while we ought to celebrate the entrance of a viable alternative party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), into the polity, what we are witnessing is a series of state and unbridled attacks on the new party.

From a deluge of sponsored articles to official verbiage in the form of press releases to innuendoes, it is all in a bid to discredit the APC; the PDP has come, all guns blazing. The most dangerous aspect is when security agencies join in the charade. Few days ago, the deputy director of communications of the Directorate of State Services (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, joined in this shameless politicization of security issues and demonization of the opposition by claiming that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was a franchise… blablabla. That is the same style the PDP uses in the unending smear campaign, making bland and generic accusations without any facts or substance. If the DSS has any proof or shred of evidence, why not provide it instead of Ogar’s “we know” campaign of calumny?

This same Marilyn Ogar denied any knowledge of the DSS abduction of citizen Onimisi Ciaxon for 10 days. But the same woman, on the 11th day, announced his release from detention after much pressure and peaceful nationwide demonstrations. With her penchant for lying and politicizing serious national issues, Ms. Ogar ought to have been relieved of her duties, but sadly we are in an era where the government supports impunity as long as it serves its purpose.

James Madison on June 25. 1824 wrote to Lee Henry and I quote: “A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives”.

Nigerians must arm themselves with knowledge and do so immediately or we will forever grope in the sea of adulatory mediocrity. It is time to ask ourselves, why is the PDP and the federal government afraid? The PDP claimed it will be in power for 60 years, but in over 15 years of its hold on power, we have remained in pitch darkness, our debt (both domestic and international) profile is soaring, we are the only OPEC country who wholly imports refined fuel for domestic consumption, our educational institutions are in tatters. Our healthcare delivery system is nothing to write home about.

After 15 years of heading the federal government, the PDP has not added one joule to our refining capacity, but has rather enriched a few cronies and created overnight billionaires whom it empowered by granting them licences to import refined fuel. Under President Jonathan, governance has taken a backseat, over 200 girls were kidnapped and most of the innocent girls are still missing after 90 days in captivity. Rather than the government doing its best to carry the family and loved ones along, it has become hostile, tagging anyone who questions their sloppy handling of the issue, the “opposition”.

While that is bad enough, the Polytechnics in Nigeria have been on lock-down for close to a year.

But the FG doesn’t give a damn, the children of those in power are studying abroad, even ex-militants have a better deal than the “ordinary” Nigerian students. Don’t forget that the universities were also shut down for almost a year as well. Doctors are on strike, but President Jonathan and his PDP are not bothered, since their families and friends can hop on planes to treat catarrh in Germany and other such places. Even when the doctors aren’t on strike, our “big men” in government are too distinguished to visit our local hospitals, shameless as they are. They never bother to ponder what will happen if those countries they visit for medical pilgrimages decide to run their countries the way the PDP has been running Nigeria.

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