Probe Threat Drowns Opposition In Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Probe Threat Drowns Opposition In Nigeria

President Buhari
Posted: Apr 27, 2016 at 4:59 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


…Stakeholders Fear Emergence Of One Party Democracy


Augustine Adah & Ejikeme Omenazu



Stakeholders and the general polity are apprehensive that ongoing anti-corruption campaign by the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), which has seen the arrest, trial and investigations of public officers, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan, may have drowned the opposition parties.

They adduce the non-protest from the opposition and civil rights organisations on the over 13 weeks of fuel scarcity and power outage as a sign that the nation is left for one party to have its say since most prominent figures in the opposition are afraid of being penciled down for probe.

Independent gathered that the opposition has gone to sleep as their voices seem drowned as a result of the threats of the on-going probes by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and other security agencies.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the opposition in the country, seems to have gone silent, giving the impression that the Nigerian democracy is one-sided,” a concerned observer told Independent.

Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, former Minister of Works and PDP chieftain, admitted that the ruling APC has used probes to weaken the opposition politicians, but stressed that there is a limit to its action.

He said: “They cannot continue with the action. I believe there is a limit. I believe they will be tired with the whole thing,” stressing that PDP, as a party, would not allow itself to be distracted with the action of the ruling party.

Similarly, Sunday Kudehinbu, PDP state coordinator, National Youth Vanguard, maintained that both the PDP members and other Nigerians are not against the war against corruption, but that the style of deliberately doing it to weaken opposition was wrong.

According to him, “Our National Publicity Secretary and Senate President are undergoing trials, but we insist that everything must be done with good intention.”

He promised that PDP would not be frustrated by the action of the ruling party, adding, “We are determined to work towards regaining power come 2019.”

Chief Ifeanyichukwu Akata, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) state chairman in Lagos, who spoke to Independent on this disturbing silence of the opposition, when they should be spitting fire over the ongoing fuel crisis and the poor state of the nation’s economy.

Akata stresses: “Look at Femi Fani-Kayode and Olisa Metuh. They were talking on almost everything. But, now they are very careful because they have one case or the other. So, they are now afraid.”

The APGA chief stressed that with this new culture of silence, the quality of opposition in the country is so low and the opposition is almost dead, although few of them are trying to find their tongues now due to the current fuel crisis and the state of the economy.

He maintained that the disgraceful defeat of PDP in the last general elections silenced the opposition because their hands are not clean.

Akata also cited former Anambra State governor, Chief Jim Nwobodo, a former PDP chieftain, who recently decamped to APC and since then, the government seems to have forgotten about the N500 million he allegedly collected from the Dasukigate scam.

He also insinuated that the former Bauchi State governor, Yuguda, dumped the PDP and may soon embrace APC so to save himself from probe threats. He, however, stated that the development should not be held against President Muhammadu Buhari because he is concerned with the state of the economy and how to save Nigeria.

Professor John Ebhomien, an APC chieftain also in Lagos, stressed that “the fear of probes is the beginning of wisdom for politicians in view of the anti-graft posture of President Buhari.

Ebhomien, a former United Nations consultant and economist, cited PDP spokesperson, Metuh, Olabode George, Tony Anenih, Ali Modu-Sheriff (PDP national chairman) and Bamanga Tukur (former PDP national chairman) as among those who have gone silent, alleging “they have skeletons in their cupboards.”

He, however, stressed that “the likes Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, is not wise like the others and has taken up the job of the PDP’s mega mouthpiece as he has taken his rascality too far,” adding that his recent utterances that the abducted Chibok girls were not missing and his letter to the Chinese president against President Buhari were national embarrassments and sheer blackmail, depicting him as insensitive to the plight of the downtrodden.

He, however, stressed that the silence of the opposition is not a good omen for the nation as it has created a vacuum in the nation’s democracy and may give the impression that Nigeria is running a one-party government.

He, however, urged both the ruling APC and the opposition parties to put their houses in order and go back to the drawing board to ensure that they put in place plans to make their platforms vibrant once more to save the nation’s fledgling democracy.

He also counseled the smaller parties to develop ideologies and good manifestoes that are sellable to enable them become real alternatives to the major parties, APC and PDP, as their lifelessness has emboldened the two major parties, thereby giving the impression that they do not exist.

President Jonathan’s former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and several PDP chieftains are undergoing trials and probes following alleged sharing of $2.1 billion meant for the procurement of arms for the prosecution of the Boko Haram war.

Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP national publicity secretary, whose attacks against the government could only be equaled by that of the current Information Minister, Lai Mohammed of APC, has also suddenly gone silent following his arrest and trial by the EFCC as one of those through whom NSA Dasuki shared the $2.1 billion arms deal money.

PDP stalwarts like Chief Olabode George and Chief Tony Anenih, among others, who were very influential and spoke against the APC government one time or the other are now a shadow of their old selves as they are now very careful whenever they speak in the media and public fora.

Also, PDP bigwigs like Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, known for his outspokenness against Buhari during the campaign days has suddenly gone silent following the arrest and probe of other party chiefs who served under Jonathan. He headed Jonathan’s media campaign outfit.

Buruji Kashmu, one of the PDP chieftains, has gone silent following his pre-deportation trials by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which had planned to take him to United States of America for trial against alleged drug offences committed there in the past.

Former Minister of State for Education under President Jonathan and now Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has since ceased speaking against President Buhari administration even though like his colleague, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, he now enjoys immunity.

At the National Assembly, where the opposition should have utilized their parliamentary immunity to speak out against any perceived ills of the government, the lawmakers there are also silent, only shouting “Ayes’ or ‘Nay’ when the Senate President or House of Representatives’ speaker ask them to do so.

The nation’s national lawmakers rarely bring up issues which during debates which will bring the government in bad light as they fear that they could be spotted out for ‘persecution’ through investigations and possible arrests.

Most of the lawmakers who were state governors or ministers during the past administration fear that speaking out during sessions or in the media can draw the ire of Buhari, the anti-graft czar, hence they have gone silent.