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.