HISTORY of Democracy in Nigeria has shown that it has not been easy for opposition parties since the second Republic to form strong mega party to tame activities of the leading party in power.
Since 1999 when democracy returned to the country, opposition parties has failed to form a formidable party, and this has given more momentum to the leading party producing a second class leadership which can hardly differentiate between right and wrong.
The opposition started from APP in 1998. It was made of a coalition of associations which received full support under the regime of late General Sani Abacha.
PDP under the candidacy of Olusegun Obasanjo won the presidential elections in 1999. APP and AD then formed a coalition to contest the presidential election. Olu falae of the AD became the presidential flag bearer while Umoru Shinkafi of the APP was nominated as running mate. But lost the election.
Governorship elections in 1999, APP won nine governorship seats in the North. Since then, their political sagacity kept deminishing. To resurrect the party from its constant declining, the name of the party was changed to ANPP and in 2003 general elections, Muhammadu Buhari was invited as the party’s candidate, late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo as running mate to face Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP and it became the battle of the generals.
General Buhari remained ANPP presidential candidate in 2003 and 2007 elections which returned late Umoru Musa Yar’Adua of the ruling party as the winner. Buhari took his brother to court for election fraud but lost as usual!
General Buhari not satisfied with the support received from ANPP, formed his own party and in December 2009, he got INEC’s registration and CPC became another force. Lost presidential elections to Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, winning governorship seat in Nassarawa state.
ACN on the other hand, was a faction of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and by September 9, 1998, AD was registered, won 34 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives, claimed 6 senatorial seats and 6 states in the west. And the party’s downward slop performance continued until the faction ACN strongly came to limelight in 2006 when they succeeded using their emblem broom to sweep the whole south west from the domineering party PDP.
Again, ACN not done with their political calculations to dismantle the PDP at the central level, came up with merger solution. But to cross the INEC’s hurdle was another brick wall and the pressure continued until history was made few days ago. And by this victory, APC is the name. Nigeria in the history of democracy now have two solid political party competing to share power at the centre level.
Analytically, PDP now controls 23 states, 75 Senators with 204 House members while APC shot up to 11 states, 30 Senators and 135 House of Representatives. The 2015 political atmosphere is now set and very interesting indeed!
It was a jubilation galore across the nation especially among the opposition party members when INEC pronounced the registration of the mega party. The jinx seems broken, sky looks clearer, but not yet uhuru. A mere merger constituting members from all different political party is not enough.
The agitation or desperation to win 2015 presidential election after the merger still not the best way out of our mess. If the new party is out to meet the aspirations of the Nigerian people, there is urgent need to work on their manifestos, modalities to overrun where PDP has failed, internal democracy and politics of imposition, then convince Nigerians that the new party can make the difference. There are still bridges to cross.
What do we say about the clash of Interest among party leaders in the past that has led to failure and death of some political parties? For a successful taming and annihilation of a party that controls the government at the centre, opposition party must unity. Individual or personal interest should not be mentioned at all.
The lingering and heart-breaking issue in the land is no longer the name of your party. It is not the acronyms or how popular the party is across the globe. Nigerians right from the second Republic till date have been victims of big party. Nigerians are clamouring for quality of leadership and who cares whichever political party produces this qality leadership.
Mr. SUNDAY ALIFIA, a political analyst,wrote from Ibadan, Oyo State.