PBT @1: SDP and Constructive Criticisms

PBT @1: SDP and Constructive Criticisms

By Silas John

Opposition political parties play critical roles in determining the level of accountability by governing parties and governments, the effectiveness of public service delivery and the overall quality of a country’s democracy. They provide alternative visions, policies, and leaders to the governing party. They scrutinised government decisions, policies,actions and play oversight over the the ruling party.

A democracy without opposition is like making an omelette without breaking eggs; or, a bird flying with one wing or one clapping with one hand. Yet, the fact is there is no opposition in the nation’s democracy before the resurrection of the Social Democratic Party. In Nigeria, Opposition political parties simply exist as platforms for power grabbers to contest and capture power and there it ends till another election season comes.

The Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDP) is a centre-left political party in Nigeria. It was created alongside the National Republican Convention by former military president Ibrahim Babangida, as part of a democracy project meant to form two detribalized political parties – one slightly to the left and one to the right. During the Nigerian Third Republic it was seen as a moderate party attractive to young radical intellectuals and socialists. In its manifesto, it called for concerted efforts to improve welfare and fight for social justice.

The reverse is now the case in SDP, the party has changed the thoughts and perceptions that ,they are not only capable to win elections but also has the capacity to give the rulling a running battle in ensuring that ,promised made are kept and policies with inhuman face are reverse. The party has shown this capacity in different ways and has consistently spoken against the ill-fated Government policies of the present administration from the Federal Government down to the state Governments.

As an opposition party ,they have the ability to show the electorate they are credible alternative to successive governments and are crucial to the credibility in sustaining the democratic system. A democratic system is significantly undermined if the opposition does not offer any credible alternatives to the governing party, is invisible in the public debate or does not have a public profile beyond during elections.

The SDP seem to be an alternatives as their constructive debates on policy options, the direction of the country and the future is redirecting the current administration of President Bola Ahmad Tinubu to rethink. In fact, the strength, effectiveness, and quality of service offered by this administration largely depend on the SDP constructive criticisms.

Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam as the National Chairman of SDP has placed the party in a strategic position, winning significant National Assembly and State Assembly seats during the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections. Apart from the chances of the party in the next elections, SDP followership has increased significantly across the board and beyond tribal and party lines. The reason is due to the SDP dogmatic courage and Constructive criticisms of the current administration of President Tinubu.

From his early years to his ascent to the position of SDP National Chairman, Gabam’s political career demonstrates his vision and leadership, which have been crucial to the party’s expansion. Unlike other Political opposition parties, SDP seem to be efficient, relevance, and their social contract with the common man under the current political dispensation of the party’s ability to credibly to govern the country. This means the strength of the opposition in a country play a key role in the quality of democracy, effectiveness of the state and the levels of corruption as well.

It is not a political discourse that SDP is characterised by a number of calculated actions and devoted work that ultimately brought it to prominence. Gabam beyond been Party Chairman has continue to played active roles in stabilising Nigerian democracy that has been under sieged of corruption,abuse of constitutional process and abuse of power by those in the helm of affairs for decades.

The Chairman has consistently and has been adamant on the need to strengthen the local Governments in order to restore back power to the grassroots. Glad that President Tinubu through the Minister and AGF are reawakening this long awaited three tiers of Government through the supreme court. Gabam has been outspoken in most of his interviews and Press statements on the need for the President to revisit the idea of fuel subsidy removal and urgently address the increase prices of commodities in the market as a result of hyper inflation.

The SDP and the National Chairman has maintained it position as a political party that is dedicated towards improving the nation Security through uncountable concerns regarding the plight of the nation insecurity especially the kidnapping for ransom by armed gunmen predominantly in Northern Nigeria. In the last one year, the party has never shy way from drawing and calling the attention of President Tinubu on the need to strengthen its capacity towards addressing the hardships, unemployment, ensure critical investment into Agriculture and put an end to increasing hunger and poverty in Nigeria through constitutive criticisms.

However, Many have been asking questions if opposition political parties exists in Nigeria. The answer is not far fetch, before now ,all other opposition Political parties including the PDP has proven to be weak and lack capacity to stand high and challenge of the programs of the current administration due to acquittance.
Today, SDP is gradually becoming a norm and a veil that an average Nigerian use to cover themselves in the face of uncertainty. This is may be attributed to Gabam local and international relations which is greatly assisting the party to have a deep grasp of the grassroots.

Recently, The Central Bank of Nigeria announced their intention to introduce cyber Security levy at the time an average Nigerian feeding from hand to mouth. Only SDP through the National stood up against this ill-fated Government policy which force the Federal Government to suspend the program. His dedication to the democratic principles and aptitude for communicating the people’s goals struck a chord with the party’s leadership and general membership, triggering a vote of confidence in his leadership.

The conviction that politics should serve as a vehicle for constructive change is a clear mandate of the opposition political parties but surprised of an average Nigerian only SDP is exhibiting and living to this expectations. One may not be ask why ,if he I said, SDP may be such vehicle that is driving Nigerians to ensure that ,their plights are communicated. The party’s consistency in tackling the government and supporting them where necessary is an example of political excellence in Nigeria with a ray of optimism.

The opposition has changed dramatically under the social Democratic Party and above all Gabam leadership is the cornerstone that is driven a vision for a Nigeria that is more progressive and inclusive. He has made a great deal of effort to establish the SDP as a serious contender against the political heavyweights in Nigeria. In the last one year of the administration of Bola Ahmad Tinubu, Only SDP has proven to be an opposition that is guided not by selfish or personal gains but by it consience.

Nigeria is at a crucial juncture. Its democracy is in peril due to two main factors: a faltering economy and an worsening insecurity. Amidst these difficulties, there is a growing mistrust of institutions and the government, which has influenced political discourse significantly. The is navigating a challenging environment in which public opinion is becoming more erratic and voters have more expectations than before. The SDP inclusive growth and sustainable development policy framework might very well become the standard for the country’s political discourse in the years to come especially now that ,it is the voice that speaks for the oppressed Nigerians.

Nigeria has a history of fractured opposition that has been unable to mount a serious challenge to the ruling party. A strong opposition is crucial for any functioning democracy; SDP is currently enhancing accountability and transparency in governance. Beyond mere political representation, there has been robust opposition which has been critical in providing a healthy check and balance to the actions of the Tinubu’s administration. However, Nigeria’s political landscape has long been plagued by power struggles and a lack of genuine opposition until recently when SDP assumed full responsibility of changing the narratives.

The party as an opposition has done tremendously well by providing a credible counterweight to the ruling party All Progressive Congresss which has been hurting Nigerians and governance, leading to a lack of accountability, wide-scale corruption, weak institutions, and inefficiency. It is an unarguable discussion that SDP is now the only viable and the strong opposition political party which always ensure public officials remain accountable to the electorate.This is where, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam,the SDP National Chairman deserves an accolades and support in his quest to rekindle the lost hope of the common man in the future elections.

Silas , A Concern Nigerian citizen writes from Bogoro , Bauchi State.

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