Who is Nigeria’s Opposition Leader? – Ugo Nwagwu

Who is Nigeria’s Opposition Leader?

The opposition leader is traditionally the leader of the primary party in opposition to any current government. Occasionally, it might even be an individual not occupying an official leadership role in that party.

Prior to the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu was seen as the leader of the opposing party, All People’s Congress (APC) and its preceding party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Yet Tinubu wasn’t the chairman of the party nor did he plan to run for office.

The formation of APC via mergers with two other political parties could not have been possible without Tinubu’s leadership. While not as outspoken as other members of the party, the pragmatic former governor engineered the first change of government since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

It could also be argued that the threat of the first credible opposition party since 1999 under Tinubu’s leadership forced the government of then President Goodluck Jonathan to sit up particularly in the run up to the election.

Dearth of Credible Opposition

Nigeria as a country today is facing its biggest challenges of the past two decades. They are but not limited to

  • Boko Haram Insurgency and IDP Relocation
  • Corruption
  • Lack of Economic Diversification
  • Deepening Recession
  • Declination of the value of the Naira
  • Niger Delta Militancy
  • Infrastructure

Many of problems precede the current administration. However a year has gone by since a change in government. Yet most Nigerians feel like things are getting far worse. So much so that the opposition Party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) have a campaign slogan of “Change the Change”.

Ignore for a second that the slogan is at best juvenile. It could also be argued that the opposition party is lacking serious leadership and its current state of affairs can’t be described as anything resembling credible.

As an example, the latest news story featuring PDP is that it has disowned it official twitter handle and reopened a new one. They have also disavowed Prince Deji Adeyanju who was apparently their director of New Media.

Yet as of September 6, 2016, the now former PDP twitter feed continues to be live almost in direct mockery of the entire party.

Needless to say, leadership of PDP is effectively non-existent.

Will Nigeria’s Opposition Leader Stand up

So who is or who should stand up as Nigeria’s opposition leader? Who can the average Nigerian stand behind and ask to speak for them or organize a party, group, front that will ensure that someone is holding the current government accountable?

I don’t know who should. But here are the most outspoken critics of the current government and as such may be in line to carry that mantle.

Ben Murray Bruce – Senator Bruce who represents Bayelsa is perhaps the most outspoken critic of the current administration. His tag line, “I am Ben Murray Bruce and I just want to make common sense,” ends his occasional videos on various social media platform. While he has his detractors like all on this list do, his supporters will point to the attempt of purveying solutions as his biggest strength.

Ben Bruce

Governor Ayodele Fayose – To say that the current Governor of Ekiti state is controversial is an understatement. He has assailed President Buhari consistently since he got into office on everything including his age, capacity, calling hypocrisy on the president’s corruption fight and even going after the President’s wife. Whether Governor Fayose can be accepted as a national voice of the opposition is yet to be seen as his tactics are often seen as not-so-classy.

fayose

Femi Fani Kayode – The former aviation minister was a vocal critic of the party in power. That was until his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission earlier this year alleging fraud and financial misconduct in connection with his time in office. Supporters have called it a witch hunt due to his vocal criticisms. Needless to say, FFK as he is fondly called has been comparably quieter recently.

Femi-Fani-Kayode

Remo Omokiri – A former special advisor and assistant to the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Omokiri quite possible could be the least controversial and political of the lot. A broadcaster and notable Christian minister, Omokiri has the most international appeal and his methods of speaking out are regarded as very sensitive without being too disrespectful. Omokiri is well learned holding multiple university degrees from both home and abroad. He is the founder of a multimedia project, Build Up Nigeria which as the title suggest aims to build up Nigeria.

Reno-Omokri

Conclusion

Without a credible opposition leader, Nigerians might wake up in 2019 clamoring for change but ending up with more of the same. Even if Nigeria decides to “change the change”, if the only other option is going back to party in PDP that is clearly broken at the helm, then we fulfil as a country the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”