Saturday, December 23, 2023



Opposition has always served a crucial role in a democratic system by providing checks and balances. But that is only in sane climes where politics is not a do-or-die affair.

Constructive criticism is an essential component of government, offering alternative perspectives and ensuring that those in power are held accountable. Positive criticism of government policies is something that keeps the true essence of democracy alive in a country. 

In a democratic dispensation, keeping track of government activities, being vigilant about them, and highlighting loopholes in policies are conditions to keep the government in power on its toes to ensure improvement and adequate leadership delivery.

In Nigeria, it is evident that we have people with different ideologies — some criticise government policies and some support them, while others remain at the top of it, appreciating the good policies and highlighting the drawbacks to improving governance. It’s common nowadays to see society divided into segments each with a different perspective about the policies undertaken by their governments; it is something that keeps the true essence of democracy alive. 

There are many instances in the past where governance and the welfare of society improved because of positive criticism by some people or groups. These examples give democracies around the world a chance to improve the quality of governance and hence create a better society.

Positive criticism aims at highlighting flaws constructively, suggesting improvements for the benefit of governance. After all, “the final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment”, Elbert Hubbard writes. 

Unfortunately, in recent times in Abia state, the opposition seems to have lost sight of the true essence of opposition and criticism; the opposition has now turned to enmity and war. 

The evolution of opposition into enmity and the shift from positive to destructive criticism within the Abia political landscape presents a case of heightened tensions and escalating rhetoric. This moral intellectual degeneration reflects the dynamics of a political environment where grievances and rivalries have taken precedence over constructive dialogue.

The shift from opposition to enmity often occurs when political rivalries intensify, and personal animosities take centre stage – where reason and objectivity have been crucified on the altar of acrimony and pride. This transformation may result from electoral disappointments, perceived injustices, or a sheer desire to gain a competitive advantage. 

Enmity fosters a toxic environment, hindering collaboration for the collective good of all.

The most worrisome part of the whole situation is that when there is a shift to destructive criticism, the focus turns to undermining opponents rather than offering solutions and constructive feedback. Hence, destructive criticism often manifests in personal attacks, misinformation, and an intentional deviation from the major subject matter at hand.

The transition from opposition to enmity and positive to destructive criticism may pose severe implications for governance. It fosters an atmosphere of hostility, and hinders effective communication and collaboration. Hence, the original purpose of opposition – which is to ensure accountability and transparency – gets lost in personal vendettas.

Initiating open dialogue and mediation processes can help de-escalate tensions, and facilitate discussions that may provide a platform for opposing parties to express concerns and seek common ground. Silencing criticism completely is as good as silencing freedom.

Shifting the focus back to policy issues rather than personal attacks can redirect the narrative. Moreso, emphasising constructive criticism that addresses governance challenges fosters a more productive political environment.

Engaging with the community can remind political actors of their responsibility to serve the public while encouraging a commitment to the welfare of constituents may redirect attention to the issues that truly matter.

However, political leaders must play a crucial role in setting the tone. Demonstrating a commitment to respectful discourse and collaborative problem-solving can influence supporters and opponents alike. The government in power must encourage healthy and constructive feedback from the led, as they work to improve on their deliverables.

The degeneration of opposition into enmity and positive criticism into destructive criticism in Abia reflects the complexities of political dynamics. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort to restore constructive dialogue, prioritise policy issues, and foster a political environment that serves the best interests of the community. Criticism, therefore, must be gentle enough, as rain, to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots, according to Frank A. Clark.

Written by Anokwuru, C. U. Ph.D

Political Analyst

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