State of emergency: Beyond opposition criticism

(By Obi Ebuka Onochie)

There is something fundamentally wrong when an organisation fails to see beyond the confines of their nomenclature. Opposition does not mean undermining all the actions of a government inclusive of the one taken in the interest of the nation. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan was produced by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but is not government for the PDP alone; it is a government for all Nigerians and as such, needs and must have every necessary support from well meaning Nigerians to succeed.

NIGERIAN politics is becoming annoyingly uninteresting and is seriously lacking in character and morality. There is no intellectual discourse or involvement in the way and manner politics is being played in Nigeria currently, making our political firmament only financially attractive. No wonder the good, the bad and the ugly are working tirelessly hard to have a portion’s grip of the polity. The opposition parties have constituted themselves in what could be described as a “conclave of political muggers” who are not hiding their desperation to take over the Presidency, they thereby politicise every policy of the Federal Government.

On January 20 of this year, Ahmed Bola Tinubu made his way to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, blustering in the media of having been invited by Democrats as a guest. The brouhaha and hissing that followed confirmation of his invitation really got on the nerves of serious minded Nigerians as the issue was hugely unimportant to the nation. Senator Bola Tinubu, currently the leader of opposition parties in Nigeria and other notable opposition figures will not tell us that they do not know how government opposition activity is conducted in other places. The Democrats were the opposition party under George Walker Bush and we saw how ranks were closed during their national security calamity when WTC and PANTAGON were attacked. The Democrats gave the Republican-led government of George Bush all the necessary support to crush and defeat terror which attacked the symbol of free market economy, their pride and their security. Democrats’ support for the Republican government did not in any way inhibit them from wrestling power from the Republicans which they did in a historical way by producing the first black American President. We are yet to see the impact and lessons of Tinubu’s hobnobbing with the “Democrats” especially as the opposition under his charge is going haywire.

The other day, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe to quell incessant terrorist attacks going on in those areas, attacks which have put Nigeria in bracket with Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. Before and after the state of emergency declaration, opposition parties as led by Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) through its Publicity Secretary, Lai Muhammed severely criticised the decision of the President. This was not the only time they unjustifiably criticised the actions of the President even when they knew such criticisms would expose their intentional ignorance. They have called him all sorts of names inclusive of “weak and clueless resident” who has failed to make use of military resources to fight Boko Haram. Immediately he declared a state of emergency which was going to put military to use, their argument and criticism changed. Prof. Ango Abdullahi of NEF was quoted as saying “the President has declared war on Northern Nigeria”. In the same line of action, Balarabe Musa said, “there is no evidence that the youths are revolting against the Nigerian state. The youths rather have been misused”. He went further to state that “the insecurity in the northern states does not validate a state of emergency declaration”. ACN took the laughable criticism to a more hilarious level when it issued a statement saying, “we hereby reject the declaration of emergency rule in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and we call on the National Assembly to also reject it and not allow itself to be used to rubber stamp a declaration that is largely cosmetic”. No action of the Federal Government is justifiable and right in their eyes and nothing pleases them.

There is something fundamentally wrong when an organisation fails to see beyond the confines of their nomenclature. Opposition does not mean undermining all the actions of a government inclusive of the one taken in the interest of the nation. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan was produced by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but is not government for the PDP alone; it is a government for all Nigerians and as such, needs and must have every necessary support from well meaning Nigerians to succeed. We know that PDP is not an umbrella of saints and in fact it is riddled with cutthroat politics and impunity but we will not burn down the house because of our anger over rats. This is the time to look beyond party politics more so as there is no ideological difference between one party and the other in Nigeria as it is between the Democrats and Republicans in United States. Only the heavy traffic of turncoat politicians crossing from one party to the other is enough to tell us the uniformity of ideology that exists among political parties in Nigeria. Opposition should look inward and ask themselves if they are on the right track.

• Onochie wrote from Port Harcourt.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

RISE NETWORKS

"Nigeria's Leading Private Sector and Donor funded Social Enterprise with deliberate interest in Technology and its relevance to Youth and Education Development across Africa. Our Strategic focus is on vital human capital Development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation." Twitter: @risenetworks || Facebook - RISE GROUP || Google Plus - Rise Networks