The silence has been deafening. It is what some philosophers will describe as conspiracy of silence. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition camp, has been worryingly silent over critical issues affecting the nation.
One is the nagging fuel crisis that has bedeviled the nation for some three weeks. The PDP, quite surprisingly, has not said anything on the matter that affects every Nigerian. There have been no punches for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which clearly miscalculated in the months before the crisis.
Nigerians have continued to queue in filling stations without a comforting word from the opposition party. One expected the PDP to have sympathised with the masses as a positive way of warming itself back to their psyche.
The party should have also descended on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for inflicting the hardship on Nigerians. That should have afforded the opposition the opportunity to point out that the change mantra of the APC was becoming a mirage after all.
Then, the PDP should have gone ahead to gloat about how it ensured constant availability of the single most important commodity in the nation, at least in the last administration except for a few occasions.
The criticism of Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, by the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, should have further armed the PDP with greater ammunition to tear the current administration apart. To rub it in on the APC, the PDP would have provided alternatives to the clearly faltering policies of the current administration that created the fuel crisis, one of the biggest and longest in the nation’s history.
But the party kept quiet. It was not there when many Nigerians looked up for its views. It criminally refused to capitalise on the missteps of the APC that hit the masses so hard. Were it alive to its opposition role, the PDP should have convinced Nigerians it would have handled the fuel crisis much better and quicker.
The disturbing silence of the party on power outage across the nation, which has condemned Nigerians to untold hardships, is a big wonder to stakeholders. It is a big surprise that the PDP, which left office last May with over 2,000 megawatts, is saying nothing when the APC cannot even guarantee 1,000 megawatts.
Before the power generation dipped, the current administration had introduced increased tariffs contrary to its promise to tackle the problem of metering first. The PDP looked away as Nigerians complained and groaned. The APC got away with the increment without as much as a whimper from the main opposition party.
By refusing to offer opposition views, the PDP is failing its teeming members across the nation. It is helping doubting members to move on to the APC or become apathetic. It is allowing the current administration to get off monumental missteps that would have been used to convince Nigerians the switch to change last year was a big mistake. Admittedly, the party is new to its new role as an opposition mouthpiece. But it had the APC to learn from.
The APC did a fantastic job, putting the PDP on its toes throughout the Jonathan’s years. Every policy was dissected with alternative views offered. Every mistake was magnified in the eyes of Nigerians in a way that presented the PDP as misfits. With the alternative views presented, Nigerians started embracing the APC as a party with the winning formula. That impression made them switch over effortlessly last April.
Now, that the APC is finding the seat of power too hot to handle, it is up to the PDP to play its part. It can either stay quiet and go into oblivion or play the opposition role very smartly until it is back on the seat of power.