Keep the voice of opposition undiminished!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

One of the interesting aspects of democracy is the operation of multi-party system. A multi party system is that practice in a democratic state where more than one political party operates. The reasons for the existence of variety of political parties are obvious. They represent the various manifestoes of needs and agenda of service to the people. In other words, different political parties represent different interests and different perspectives of operation.

It attempts to articulate the various charters of demand of the people which one single party cannot afford to do. Besides, a multi party system affords the people the opportunity of choice and encourages healthy competitions among themselves. It makes the parties to remain focused on its set out agenda of service to the people. With the spirit of healthy competition among the parties if view, the service delivery to the people become an index of acceptability or otherwise.

A political party looses out completely in an election for instance, if it was unable to deliver on services to the people. In other words, there is a every likelihood that a political party becomes acceptable to the people, wins their hearts and votes, if its actors at the corridors of power are service-oriented. The people know who has served them, and who has exploited and cheated her.

The existence and effective operations of different political parties in service delivery to the people makes the abuse of power inherent in a single party dispensation impossible. There is no one single party in a multi party democratic set-up that can arrogate to itself all the powers and authority in a state. There is always some checks and balances for equity and social justice.

Nigeria is a country where more than 30 political parties are officially registered. But it is a democracy that operates with almost one political party structure. The many registered political parties are not effectively operational. Some exists only in the pages of newspapers without concrete structural logistics. Some of them do not have the minimum ward structures and party spread across the country. They are like local champions of one political wish of one charlatan or the other.

As a result, there seem to be only one viable political party dominating the political scene for the past 16 years. Systemic corruption and abuse of power in lower and higher places have been the result. There are of course some pockets of infra structural transformations here and there, but the volume of evil and corruption on the land outweighs all forms of its positive achievements. Maybe that was partly the explanations for the failure of Peoples Democratic Party- PDP, the party in power to hold on to power at the centre in the just concluded general elections.

Today, another political party- All Progressive Congress -APC, has emerged with all its promises of change and better life for the people. It has emerged as an amalgam of different coalitions of political parties with a view to defeating the incumbent party in power. And it has succeeded. But we are not certain that the desired changes will be realized, but we are most optimistic. Yet, the temptation and the reality of APC becoming the only cook that crows remains large.

There is the ambition among politicians to cross-over to the ruling party at the centre instead of consolidating as an opposition at both state and federal levels. They would always like to be at the centre of all events. And the mentality is the same, namely, some members of APC today were members of PDP and other parties yesterday. It was only when there were disagreements on political and economic matters that the binary fusion of parties began to take place.

Yet the need for a credible opposition at all the strata of governance is ineluctable. Nigerians must not all cross-over to APC, neither must all remain in PDP. There is the need to balance and check the system. In fact, the existence of opposition party or parties in any democratic dispensation is always and everywhere an important index of political maturity and development.

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