Peterclaver Egbochue writes on the need to ensure that Nigeria is not turned into one-party state
Following the avalanche of defections from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) after the general elections, the National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has cautioned the political class against turning Nigeria into one-party state.
Speaking in chat with The UNION at a recent summit in Lagos titled, “Revolution Through The Ballot Box,” lamented the growing death in political ideology among the political class, a development he argued would not deepen Nigeria’s democracy. Fasehun regretted that the current political class is only interested in their personal interest and are ready to pursue it without recourse to political ideology and principles.
He maintained that today, the ruling party was on the downside of history, and new administrators are about to enter into power, stressing that “we must sound a note of warning. Nigeria should prevent a one-party monopoly. A one-party system does not breed democracy but totalitarian dynasties. It will turn Nigeria into a banana republic. So from May 29, Nigerians must prepare a robust opposition to safeguard our democracy.”
According to him, Nigerians have gone through various regimes of mutual distrust, civilian, military, liberal militocracy, and totalitarian dictatorship, all forms of government that made Nigeria a country where patriotism has taken flight, adding that, “But as we always say, there is no other country to call our own except Nigeria. So we keep up the search for an Eldorado. And the search must go on until we find a land of hope, a land of peace, a land of love, where political ideologies manifest to keep Nigerians hopeful.”
Fasehun further insisted that the times through which Nigerians had passed had not encouraged them to hope and pray. He however, expressed confidence that against all hope, Nigerians should go on hoping and praying, in the strong belief that one day the future generation would live in peace and harmony, sharing a nation in which beauty flows all around. His words, “But when I look at what is happening today, and view it against the vision that propelled NADECO, that made the likes of Rear Admiral Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu, to turn his back on his fellow Military comrades (who were then in government), and join us in the trenches, I am always forced to raise one question: Is this the democracy we fought for? Is this the democracy for which Chief Anthony Enahoro went through the NADECO- Route into exile?
Is this the democracy over which MKO Abiola lost his freedom, his wife and his life? Is this the democracy that Pa Alfred Rewane died for? “Why did we bother to suffer so much to bring it about : This democracy that has bred corruption from local government, to state, to Federal level. This democracy that has bred insecurity and Boko Haram This democracy where the cost of government is higher than the benefits to the people This democracy where politicians in public office empty the public treasury and give to the public nothing in return This democracy where elections are rigged with impunity and the people’s votes do not count This democracy where politicians take unprincipled jumps from one political boat into the other and shamelessly jump right back again?
“We, a non-ideological group of politicians, are here to answer these challenges posed by past political mistakes and our current political confusion. As we all know, after a storm the sky looks good. But there is usually an after-the-storm inspection to take stock of damages suffered and assets remaining. This is what this programme basically represents –an after-the-storm, post-election looking around to help this country navigate its way forward. “The 2015 elections have indeed come and gone, and positions have been won and lost. But like any human endeavour, those elections were far from perfect. It would be necessary for stakeholders like us to dissect germane issues thrown up in that exercise. And we, politicians and democratic activists alike, are here not only to do a post-mortem on the polls, but to raise some salient issues that cropped up before, during and after the exercise.
“Today, the ruling party is on the downside of history, and new administrators are about to enter into power. We congratulate both sides. But we must sound a note of warning. Nigeria should prevent a one-party monopoly. A one-party system does not breed democracy but totalitarian dynasties. It will turn Nigeria into a banana republic. So from May 29, Nigerians must prepare a robust opposition to safeguard our democracy. “Nigerians have gone through various regimes of mutual distrust, civilian, military, liberal militocracy, and totalitarian dictatorship, all forms of government that made Nigeria a country where patriotism has taken flight. But as we always say, there is no other country to call our own except Nigeria. So we keep up the search for an Eldorado. And the search must go on until we find a land of hope, a land of peace, a land of love, where political ideologies manifest to keep Nigerians hopeful.
The times through which we have passed have not encouraged us to hope and pray. But against all hope, we shall go on hoping and praying, in the strong belief that one day our children will live in peace and harmony, sharing a nation in which beauty flows all around.
“In this nation, peace and plenty will abound, and the lamb and the lion will roam together. This is why the people of this country must not stop teasing our brains to work out the political principles that will lead us to found a nation of our dreams. Here peace, progress and growth will enable us to rub shoulders with countries of the First World, whose citizens will make Nigeria a favourite destination point, a centre of attraction and a land to visit. Nigeria will be a land where corruption will be a thing of the past, where armed robbery and criminality would have been conquered by abundance, where able-bodied men and women are employed and productive.
“ For stakeholders, the APC would need to put lot of lessons drawn from the crises of the PDP into advantage, while the PDP is left to confront the inevitable task of rebuilding from the ruins of yesteryears. Without doubt, the future of party politics depends on how these two institutions of democracy conduct their affairs. And since there could be no political party without actors, the trend of defection would definitely be a factor in charting a future of the politics ahead.
Democracy and governance would, no doubt, be the better for it, on the long run, if such an important outcome as witnessed with peaceful transfer of power at the federal level translates into stronger opposition that would stimulate delivery on governance based on the expectations of the people.
Unfortunately however, what Nigeria’s democracy gained from the peaceful alternation of power at the centre; regardless of whatever reservation anyone has on the conduct of the presidential election would not likely be sustained by politics that thrives on sterile rather than virile culture of opposition. Before the emergence of APC, opposition groups were contented being champions of their localities or regions of influence with only exaggerated pretention about real contest for power at the centre. It is expected that the PDP would quickly put its house in order and take up the mantle of opposition to ensure that Nigeria’s democracy deepens in the coming years.