As political parties in Nigeria begins preparation towards the 2023 general elections, the main political opposition party; the Peoples Democratic Party continue to show why it does not have what it takes to compete and unseat the ruling All Progressive Congress. Since the 2015 presidential elections that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power, the ruling APC has never been pressurised in terms of mass demonstrations despite the huge outcry from Nigerians over the APC anti-people policies and nepotistic style of governance.
Prior to the 2015 general elections when the APC was the main political opposition party, it benefited immensely from several mass demonstrations and protests organised by the civil society organisations and NGO’s against the neo-liberal and anti-people policies of the then PDP administration under Goodluck Jonathan. These protests such as the Occupy Nigeria and BringBackOurGirls to mention a few enjoyed massive support among Nigerians and drew a lot of spontaneous criticism from different sections of the country in which some of the prominent members of the APC later lend their voices and hijacked. It was this threshold of demonstrations that culminated to the removal of the Jonathan’s PDP administration in 2015. The three major issues that led to mass rejection of the Jonathan government vis corruption, pump increase in price of fuel inform of subsidy removal and insecurity inform of boko haram attacks are still very much alive. In fact the Buhari APC went further by removing same subsidy they kicked against by increasing the pump price of fuel from N97 per litre to N145 per litre. Despite spending more on security, Boko haram attacks has increased, armed bandits and kidnapping has also been added to our current security crisis. The Buhari APC also toppled the Jonathan PDP by adding more of anti-people policies in form of increase in VAT from 5% to 7.5%, bank stamp duty, POS charges and other poverty enabling policies. In the face of all these attack on the masses, the PDP as a main political opposition party could not directly or indirectly influence, call, mobilise or work with the Civil Society Organizations and NGO’s to resist the anti-people policies of the APC despite countless and unprecedented outcry from the Nigerian masses on daily basis.
It should be noted that no opposition party as ever attained power be it at the National or State level without tremendous support of Civil Society Organizations and in this regard, the PDP has failed woefully and continue to show why it does not have the attribute of a serious and genuine opposition party.
However, with the emergence of the Take It Back Movement and the African Action Congress, there is a signal that another political party led by Omoyele Sowore is fast becoming the new main political opposition party that can seriously challenge the ruling APC. The AAC unlike the PDP is very popular and enjoys massive support from CSOs and has a mass base of political activists in it fold that can radically engage the ruling APC in terms of debate and national policies that are capable of uplifting mass of Nigerians from the present abject and multidimensional poverty. The AAC also have the human resources to mobilise Nigerians to resist the anti-people policies of this present administration.
Conversely, since the Buhari administration came to power, the August 5, 2019 #RevolutionNow protest led by Sowore was the first time the ruling APC came under serious pressure from the masses and ever since then, it has been one nightmare or the other. The August 5, 2019 protest in which Sowore was abducted by the SSS before it began has reawakened mass consciousness and has even given life to the sleeping CSOs.
Finally, Nigerians should not expect anything from the PDP come 2023 because the ruling APC have a dossier of all it prominent members and their corrupt file could be opened at any time if they are perceived a political threat. If there is anyone Nigerians must rally round, it is no other person but Omoyele Sowore, as only Sowore’s AAC can stop the APC if properly funded.
Towolawi Jamiu is a writer, social activist and a political commentator. He can be reached through [email protected]