The role of a viable and formidable opposition in any form of government particularly in democracy cannot be over stated. In fact, it is one of the pillars in judging democracy perhaps in the right sense of it, there cannot be democracy in a one-party system. Again, where there is no opposition, it is feared that authoritarianism (autocracy) will rule in the land. Thus, the opposition party most especially performs the role of a watchdog to the ruling party and it also plays the role of the alternative to the government in power by constantly scrutinizing every action or policy.
The benefit of the significant role of the opposition party is that it becomes the ray of hope for the citizens who desire good governance. This is because in every avenue of elections, the people are offered the unique opportunity of making a choice. It is in the event of periodic elections can the people either vote out an inept or non-performing party or cast their votes for such party to continue in government.
In Nigeria, come May 29, 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be transformed in line with its Transformation Agenda from the largest ruling party in Africa to the largest opposition party. How are the mighty fallen! You will recall how in the past the party claimed to be largest party in Africa. And now that it has lost out at the presidency, it is now certainly the biggest political watchdog (opposition party) in Africa if they are still large as acclaimed.
However, the question is; how prepared is the party-PDP, to take the back seat as an opposition party, having ruled the country for 16 years and having gotten itself accustomed to the posture of a ruling party for a long time? By the way, this piece is not to judge whether their years of rule was fruitful or fruitless. Meanwhile, pundits with different views have expressed their opinions on what becomes of the party as it takes up its new role.
Recently, the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed was reported to have cautioned his PDP counterpart, Chief Olisa Metuh to learn how to speak as an opposition spokesman. As if that was not enough, he offered to train him on a crash course! That was the beginning of having PDP being reminded to act as an opposition party. I want to believe this will be the next to advise the PDP to get ready to bark.
The post election events have seen the PDP struggle to live with the reality of losing the presidential seat. The party is in total disarray with accusations and counter accusations of what and who is responsible for its abysmal performance at the polls. Something the spokesperson of the PDP noted was traumatic. Will the PDP stem the tide with rumors flying that some aggrieved members have concluded plans to float a new party.
More worrisome is whether the APC will have a strong opposition in PDP or in a new party? Or will the PDP go into a merger. Although, I do not believe the membership base of a political party is what delivers votes as shown globally but the right policy and programmes of a party.
The twists and turns will sure determine where our democracy berth in the nearest future with the Change train on the saddle and the transformed Transformation Agenda train on the sideline. The world watch with bathed breadth the unfolding events of our nascent democracy. Nigeria the most populous black nation.