Tuesday 24th October, 2017
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A gale of defection and the growth of democracy

A gale of defection and the growth of democracy

Today, there is one general agreement among the Nige­rian writers and commen­tators on the issue of democracy in our country. That the Nigerian de­mocracy is still evolving. That is to say that it is in its infancy. In fact, there are still many Nigerians who have not yet believed that we are practicing democracy. The rationale for this perception is simple. A good number of Nigerians don’t think that we are practicing democracy as it is formally known in the lexicon of po­litical phraseology.
However, irrespective of one’s perception about the practice of de­mocracy in Nigeria, one thin is ob­vious. Democracy in Nigeria is dif­ferent.
Recently, there has been a gale of defections from one particular par­ty to the ruling party. This gale of de­fections has been more noticed and dramatized in the South East geo­political zone. It included Jim Nwo­bodo first civilian governor of old Anambara State, Kenneth Nnama­li, formal Senate president and many other big names in the political zone.
The critical question is this, why do people defect from their original party to join other parties? There may be numerous reasons for that. However, Maurice Duverger, Amer­ican French renowned author on party in one of his books, “Politi­cal parties “he has identified some reasons why people joined a par­ticular party in the first place. And that is ideology. According to him, ideology is the main driving force which one considers before mak­ing a choice of which party one is to join. Of course, that is in those po­litical environments where politics is played from ideological percep­tions and considerations.
But in many developing coun­tries, particularly in Nigeria, polit­ical ideology plays perhaps the lest importance in motivating entry into a particular party.
Another factor which could mo­tive a person to join a political party is “self interest”. Self interest has been identified by Robert Dahl that fac­tor which enables one weigh possi­ble option of self actualization which could be described as “weigh the op­tion of benefits.” Without doubt, self interest plays a lot of driving force to join a political party. Particular­ly, in our own political circumstanc­es. Self interest is key to that gale of defection which we have witnessed in the political environment in the recent past.
Another factor which could influ­ence one to make a choice is what Cynthia Enloe in her thesis de­scribed as ethnic consideration or what Michael Haas terms as “eth­nic nationalism”. In the Nigerian political context, ethnic national­ism as a factor could interplay on a wider scale hence many Igbos are in PDP but more so more in APGA or at least tend to have sympathy for APGA.
Thus what could be the moti­vation for those who have recent­ly joined APC from PDP? It could not be ideology or ethnic national­ism as the motivating factor. No ab­solutely no.
It is very clear that the main rea­son why many top members of PDP are joining it is self interest which could equally mean several things which border on self interest. Of course these would include greed, acquisition of power and desire to have access to power distribution. Some people have been said that some of those who have jumped ship to join APC are hungry. This is too simplistic because none of those people could actually be said to be indeed hungry. They may be in want but not hungry . There is a differ­ence between being hungry and in want. It is because of excessive de­sire for accumulation that drive peo­ple into behaving as if they are hun­gry. This is consistent with Nigerian politicians.
Painfully enough, most of those who have jumped ship were those who had in the past used PDP plat­form to a political ascendancy and growth. In fact, if the have politi­cal conscious; they should not have abruptly left their party of yester year which gave them foundation for their national political fame. This of course, generally speaking, political gladiators often don’t have conscience. They are usually driven by one consideration “ Self interest “. That is why we have been observ­ing acts of rascality in our politics.
It is important to ask one critical question How much do those de­campees political relevance or elec­toral value do they have? Without question, most of them don’t have grassroots base. They are those who are riding on the past popularity. Er­roneously, they think that they still have grassroots support in their in­dividual wards and Local Govern­ment. Therefore, assumed politi­cal value which they are bringing to their newfound land will after all be a russ. Sooner or latter, their ef­fectiveness in terms of political and electoral value will be exposed to their chagrin.
Finally, it is very certain that some of these would retrace their steps back to the original party if some­thing happens to change the politi­cal landscape in this country. They would then realize what crab has re­alize long time ago that “all waters are not the same, hence she could swim in the sea, river and ocean but could not swim in a woman’s soup pot.

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