From Princely Onyenwe
Holders of the peoples mandate must subject themselves to criticism, constructive or otherwise, because you have placed yourselves accountable for the welfare and wellbeing of many.
The Nigerian democratic system is based on the party system of government. It is a government by criticism and exposition and therefore, it has to be governed by three players – a party in power, independent critics and a party or parties in Opposition.
The major role of an opposition party is that it helps to check the activities of the party in power with a view to pointing out where they are retrogressing in error or going against the aspirations of the people. They are not your friends and will only ever support you to the extent that you are blameless, not employing the use of irritating showmanship or doing the right things they find difficult to criticise.
Without opposition, ruling partys will certainly not follow due process and constitutionally laid down principles in running a government.
The existence of opposition brings to life the natural existence of opposing forces in all aspects of life.
The recognition of opposition constructive or otherwise should usually make the party in power to be serious and mindful of possible opponents in the running of state affairs. The fear of the opposition party is always the beginning of serious constructive government business.
The challenge of the opposition makes it possible for the party in power to respond constructively, in order to hold its power or to maintain power already held.
The opposition through criticisms constructive or otherwise or pointing out the defects of programmes of the party in power helps to alert the government and keep them on their toes.
Parties in opposition prepare themselves for alternative government where the party in power has failed to achieve the aspirations of the people or is mediocre in its delivery.
The existence of opposition is recognition of the inherent virtue and usefulness of criticism in the conduct of public affairs.
The work of the opposition is as important as the party in power because the opposition does not only act as a check on the party in power but helps the party to understand the working of its programmes, the feelings of the masses and the alternative options available.
A government that expects the opposition to praise and commend its percieved right actions must be in a pimpers paradise. Attacking the opposition is also not wise as it is distracting and counter productive. The only antidote for opposition is more quality work and more creativity and innovation in governance.
In saner climes, the views of independent critics of government are in most cases sought on serious issues of state importance.
Many party followers who could not capture power or get appointed, either declare support to the party in power and become sycophants and paid e-rats in the process or join the opposition against the government or simply stand out apolitically and independently for good governance.
In third world countries, due to a dearth of partisan ideology and stomach infrastructure, they join the party in power. This usually occurs with individual party followers who have fragile principles or none at all.
Once a leader is kowtowed to and adoringly worshiped by his followers, he becomes blind and deaf to genuine criticism. In this kind of scenario, sycophancy is equated with team spirit and elevated to the level of loyalty. To maintain their status and privileges, sycophants, always desperately insecure, try to outdo each other in stroking the leader’s ego. They would never disagree with the leader, no matter how misguided his ideas may be.
No Governor, no matter how powerful, should be considered greater or more important than a whole state. Nothing kills a government faster than surrounding itself with a very large horde of attacking unthinking sycophants far drunk in the highly poisonous wine of bottom-less blind partisanship.
I hope this kind of politicking will come to an end and we can hopefully see some more service delivery… let’s be objective and not let sycophancy cloud our judgment.
Duruebube Nnadi writes from ABUJA Nigeria.
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