In the last couple of weeks it has been tough and rough for the Nigerian polity, the election have come and gradually is going, and despite the best of intentions, what will be seems on the verge of being. It is in times like these that I recall the late veteran Sports commentator Ernest Okonkwo, who at the end of football matches involving the then Green Eagles would state especially when we had lost "it is all over, it is all over, the green eagles have lost....bla, bla, blah". It was often painful to hear that voice but then we could hardly run away from it.
The only consolation then was the fact that those loses was very few for the Green Eagles our national soccer team as they were called then. Away from soccer but similar to soccer, the match called the General Elections has been played, albeit fraudulently winners have emerged and certainly losers.
I am not in the school of thought that insists we must bury the rigging, the irregularities and pretend they did not happen. I do not believe that it is in the best interest of the nation for a democratic government to start on a faulty note, but I also do not agree that the cancellation of the elections would be any better for national interest.
But in the last few weeks, certain obvious facts that most of us highlighted have come to the forefront ofthe problem with Nigeria and Nigerians. Of these problems include that the fact that with the exception of certain extreme cases, Nigerians are docile people, despite our political education we still are naive, it might sound hard and insulting but we are equally cowards that the opposition is a bunch of self serving, self interest and petty interest infested persons.
With each passing day the noise is not only being stifled out but the opposition keeps selling out when it matters most.
Atiku by all interpretation and please I crave apologies has fled, he is not here to fight the fight, all the stories of the mother of all legal battle at the tribunals already we know the end, it would be difficult to fight illegality from the point when has lost on moral grounds this was the strategic failure of Atiku and partly the opposition. The Pat Utomis, Kalus and co. have or are loosing steam.
My survey across the election tribunals shows a lot of apathy as very few people are in the real sense protesting the various results. The opposition in collaboration and with certification from the EU, Commonwealth, NDI and others made the whole noise of a rigged election, violence, etc and etc but more and more groups within the opposition pay courtesy and solidarity visits to the President-select, elect and President rigged. Like it or hate it, the man is already preparing for the task ahead and we here making rat noise, we bark so hard but loose the strength of an effective bite.
The other day the papers reported the rift in the AC as Yar'adua was said to have even offered the opposition ten Ministerial slots and that was tearing them apart. Tinubu and Atiku have disagreed on the matter, while Atiku remains steadfast in his stand, Tinubu has paid two official calls and countless midnight ones, the AC Governor elect has gone to see his soon to become President at least the Local Government Money seized by Obj may be released by Yar'adua. As Tinubu is already dancing, Atiku is doing what Fela called 'shakara oloje'.
A friend even on joking note told me that even if INEC decided to give Atiku's Votes to Buhari, or vice versa, Yar'adua would still be the clear winner because the opposition failed and they did woefully, Yar'adua beat Ojukwu in the East, beat Buhari in Katsina, beat Atiku in Adamawa, and this is so much for an opposition that could barely get its act going, like England since 1966 have kept winning the World Cup in the pages of English tabloid and loosing in on the field, the Nigerian opposition did same.
From the ethnic, political, religious and selfish points, for the opposition it was almost fiat accompli even before the blast of the election whistle. The opposition was in a self battle of backstabbing, betrayal. Lack of purpose, common will, ideas, direction and many more, Atiku and Buhari engaged in needless verbal war and to their detriment while Yar'adua, and his PDP watched, planned, prayed and rigged out the last breath out of the opposition.
The problems of lack of this and that which I highlighted ironically have remained the flaws, the very visible flaws of the opposition and it has and will always work against them.
Ordinarily loosing the elections should have gingered the opposition, rather everyone is playing to the gallery, they all want to be heard individually, no one thinks it is a collective fight, we want the newspaper spots, and airspace on television and radio, to be as usual paper tigers but lack structure on ground, lack the sense of purpose to effectively keep government on its toes.
Already so-called top shots and players in the AC, ANPP and others are realigning, all jostling at the Aguda House singing with their CV's "Yar'adua remember us in this Paradise" and we say opposition. Which opposition, besides I have often asked which opposition same old smart crooks that know us and we know them not. The men that have moved from one brothel to the other in the name of parties, the earlier we face the reality on ground the better, infact the best for the nation.
This same opposition could hardly hold a May 1st rally, protest, mass action, call it whatever, despite the best efforts of the Police, Obasanjo, his PDP and co., organized and proper planning, determined spirit and will could have made a success and seen the protest still go ahead. On the contrary we buckled, Obasanjo had the last laugh, and hate the man as much as I do, he still emerged winner because objectively speaking the opposition offered little in terms of resistance despite the mountain of sore points to explore.
If the whole States of the Federation had fought like Lagos, Bauchi, Kano, Abia, them maybe we did be talking of an opposition, the PD may have made a better opposition. But bitterly the opposition remained on the pages of papers; the opposition was 'out-rigged, outsmarted, out violenced'. No structures, in many places, the opposition was just "there". The Elections indeed were rigged but there were places were people did vote and they massively voted PDP because of a lack in visibility of an alternative or better convincing choice.
Like I stated in an earlier essay, as we mourn the PDP's victory, we may be doing ourselves a favour by facing the fact that little can be changed, even at the law courts, one law for the government another for the opposition, the Judiciary has been fair but only a foolish man would be counting on this one.
The question now is how we come together; the word re-group is out of it because we never were a group as opposition. The opposition needs to stand for the masses, but how, how do we use the rules of engagement, where does constructive engagement come in, and where does protest apply. In a sentence how do we make this in-coming administration responsive and responsible?
For the opposition, it may well be over as far as these elections are concerned. We failed the masses and painfully it is the truth, but what lessons can be learned. The opposition needs to sit up, and start setting the agenda, because Yar'adua may be good, a Gentleman, the intent may be good, but this still is PDP anything can happen, we pray that we do not ever have to suffer an Obasanjo, Allah forbid, may the Almighty save this nation.
For The Opposition In Nigeria: Is It All Over
Prince Charles Dickson
Jos, Plateau Nigeria
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