From the foregoing, it can safely be inferred that Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) might be suffering from Stockholm syndrome. They are inordinately getting used to taking comfort on the sideline and feigning ignorance of our corporate ordeals. The masses who hoped on them to lead a march against some unpopular policies of government harvest disappointment.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition in which a hostage emotionally bonds to his or her captor. This was a Swedish Norrmalmstorgssyndromet, named after the robbery of Kreditbanken at the Norrmalmstorg Square in Stockholm, Sweden in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23-28, 1973. And when rescuers broke in to free them and arrest the captors, the hostages started defending their captors.
In layman’s understanding, Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response, that occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse.
A prototype of that condition is currently happening to us as a people. A fraction of the suffering masses still defend the government covertly, even with rescuers not in sight. In the last two years, as it became glaring that the federal government is out to strangulate life out of the masses, a large percentage of Nigerians began to diss the national chairman of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, for his betrayal of the thrust of his mandate to fight for the common good of the average Nigerian worker.
In this space, last September, when the federal government hiked fuel price to N162/liter, and Ayuba absconded from condemning it, we discussed his position under the topic: “Effeminate NLC: Is Ayuba Wabba an accomplice or a victim?” Six months after, and going by both antecedents and precedents it can be extrapolated that he is an accomplice to the problems we suffer and not just a victim of emotional blackmail.
Be that as it may, we have not paused to ask ourselves what has become of the supposed opposition force to government – the PDP. But here we are, gaping at a tactless, spineless and cowed PDP, that is comfortably sleeping on a cowardly mattress. Its national and state executive officers put on defeatist garbs and their agitation does not span beyond press statements.
Never in our national history did we have such double coincidence of tragedies in opposition politics. A rare situation where the main opposition party maintains cemetery silence over government’s bad policies while labour is awkwardly partisan ostensibly having soft spot for the party in power. The issue is not just that Nigerians are suffering. The real problem is that the end to affliction is not in sight, since all camps of hopeful resistance and liberation are pliant and broken.
PDP under Prince Uche Secondus has achieved nothing aside wresting the party from its undertaker, former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, and increasing the number of states controlled by the party from 11 to 16. But of what value is the numerical strength in states controlled by the party if they could not translate into viable suppliant adjuration for the welfare of the masses.
Nigeria’s economy was gasping for breath under PDP with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala leading a potent economic team that administered effective therapy to keep it stable. Yet, in 2015, following a spell of an acidic opposition force, the APC grabbed power and the economy slipped into coma immediately. With further poor management under the amateurish handling of the finance ministers, it was referred to ICU and with the naira exchanging at N500 to a dollar, fiscal pundits were bold to declare it dead.
At such woeful outing by the ruling party, everyone thought PDP will seize the opportunity to repackage and re-market themselves and save the nation from socio-economic hardship. But the predictors of such hope were forlorn by the reality on ground.
With unmitigated and heightened incidences in banditry, kidnapping, insurgency and gross abuse of human rights, it would be an easy ride for any opposition party that worth the name to chase APC out of Aso Rock in 2023. But since losing out in Supreme Court on the 2019 presidential election, PDP its lowered their tail in-between its legs.
When last did you hear from PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate Alh. Atiku Abubakar? Bukola Saraki has gone on sabbatical. Nyesom Wike has taken a vow of solemn silence. Ayodele Fayose is gaming. Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state is canvassing for herders to be wielding AK-47 riffles. Senator Ike Ekweremadu is sitting on the fence. Former President Goodluck Jonathan is in clandestine romance with APC, etc.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state is the only one adorning the warrior’s garb and speaking out against brazen injustice in the land. Charly Boy’s “#Our mumu don do” protest march, Omoyele Sowore’s #revolutionnow and the recent #EndSARS protests presented fertile grounds for PDP and NLC to cash in. But instead, they chose to look the other way.
From 7:45am to 3:00pm oenultimate Friday, Nigerians experienced untold traumatic quip of their lives. The day broke to the news that the federal government has increased fuel price to N212/liter. Panic turned the day’s breakfast sour. Knowing that both PDP and NLC are non-existent when it comes to mobilizing mass protest, cities around the country were thrown into chaos until government deleted the notice on the PPPRA website; and in their characteristic style denied it in the media.
A day before, our national security adviser Babagana Mungono levelled a heart-rending allegation against the government when he said that funds meant for the purchases of weapons to prosecute the war against terrorism got missing under the erstwhile service chiefs. These are the same people President Muhammadu Buhari decorated with ambassadorial posts. PDP received the news just like every other Nigerian and we went to bed.
After Olisa Metu’s incarceration, no one dared to talk again in the party. Kola Ologbondiyan is the tamest opposition party spokesperson ever. He was so lily-liverred in utterances that the young Ikenga Ugochinyere of CUPP overtook him in earning more admiration for challenging the government.
To be fair to Prince Secondus, he once mobilized a mass protest against the government in the close of its first term. But they were abused and teargassed. Hence, they retreated to their shelves. His media adviser, Ike Abonyi, has been the lone voice in the wilderness of organized silence, criuticising government. And so deductively, one can say that Secondus as a person is trying his best. But more is needed.
If NLC goes defunct, the way it is currently under Wabba, and PDP keeps snoring in comfort zone, then 2023 will be “good night Nigeria.”
Ogechukwu writes via [email protected]