The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Wednesday said any ruling political party required a strong opposition to keep it on its toes for the benefit of the populace.
Oyegun said this while receiving the former President of Niger Republic, Alhaji Mamman Usman, who led a delegation to pay the APC chairman a congratulatory visit at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja.
The APC chairman, who commended the former Nigerien leader for the visit, said democracy was “not just about periodic conduct of elections but a commitment to a cause of giving a choice to the people in a free and fair manner.”
He said the political party in power in the past had frustrated several efforts by the Nigerian opposition to form coalitions and alliances.
According to him, the political parties that merged to form the APC were not given any chance to survive let alone win elections.
He said the APC survived several attempts to scuttle its formation and operations until the elections, noting that the situation got so bad that the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party resorted to smear campaigns and intimidation in a bid to frustrate the opposition’s presidential candidate and the leaders.
Usman had earlier said that his visit to the party secretariat was to among other things congratulate the APC leaders for their victory in the 2015 elections.
He said he was part of election observer missions to Nigeria in 1999 and 2011, but that he was not privileged to be part of those who participated in the 2015 elections.
Usman, however, said that he monitored the elections until the results were announced.
According to him, Nigeria’s neighbours always follow the country’s elections with a lot of apprehension because the situation in Nigeria always has ripple effects for the West African sub-region and the entire African continent.