FFK and the politics of incessant party defection in Nigeria

By Momoh, Emmanuel Omeiza
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It is obvious and unarguable that defection isn't to be regarded as a new word in Nigeria's political lexicon diction. This is apparent in the news which emanate from the political scene of the country, most especially in the recent times. This may be attributed to the general electoral polls which are scheduled for year 2023 and which are like heavy clouds hanging on the sky which is most times a precursor to rainfall.

The incessant nature of party defection which has been regarded as an ugly phenomena and bad omen has undoubtedly undermined the essence of democracy, rule of law and strict adherence to the constitution. It will not be an assumption to conclude that party defection has been the bane of the country's development.

Barely a week ago, former minister of aviation and foremost political observer, Femi Fani-Kayode, gained another popularity after announcing his decision to come back to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This was after shifting grounds some moments before the elections held in 2015.

His decision to switch camps politically has been the subject of discourse. This has generated series of questions and controversies as to what motivated his decision and what he had in mind with respect to contesting for elections in 2023.

The obnoxious culture of defecting or switching camps has not been limited to Femi Fani-Kayode's case alone as examples abound of individuals who have also made similar moves. This aptly proves the fact that nothing I mean nothing seems to be new in Nigeria. And one single move by a person could have a ripple effect on the decision of others.

Just towards the end of last year, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, in a show of solidarity publicly announced his decision to switch party from the People's Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress. Some others that have made similar moves are the current Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; erstwhile governors of Oyo State, Christopher Alao Akala; a former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva and current Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

Thus, if one should take cognizance of the summative profiles of the defections and the defectors, it is not gainsaying that defection has always been an avenue to cling to the top to escape punishment for heinous financial crimes from anti- graft agencies such as the economic and financial crimes commission. How sad this can be that a crooked way has now been the moral justification and most fast avenue to escape prosection for crimes. That is, you can eat national resources away once you can switch camps.

The wave of party defections has forced many into believing that Nigeria's electoral/ political process as well as the nation's democracy is still at the early stages and cannot be said to have matured when placed side by side with countries in the Western world.

Why then do Nigerian leaders keep feeding the citizens with lies that our democracy is exceptional and has been modelled after America's. While I am not saying that America which has the origin of democracy hasn't experienced defections. What is being emphasised is the fact that defection in America and other advanced countries is basically on the grounds of political incongruence and not an avenue for escaping punishments. That is, defections happen seldomly.

In a recent report by electoral mirror, statistics of defections in the last 50 years was put between the rangeof 15-25, and the reasons for this was solely on conflict of interest. This most times wasn't based on hatred or animosity .

What then has this ugly phenomena resulted to?
Large scale corruption, siphoning state funds inter alia. Thus, defection is a means of accessing the national cake without having to go through much hassles or stress. This is what a classical political observer referred to as "you rub my back, I rub yours" or pay the price and win the prize.

It is almost a reality that defections are almost being enshrined in the constitution. All these apparently could be happening in Nigeria. After all it is believed that anything goes and you can have your way if you want to.

I think Nigeria still have to go to the scoreboard and redesign her plans especially with respect to political administration. We cannot continue to do things the same way for donkey years and experience different results. It is absurdity.

It is both expedient and necessary to abate this trend lby implementing a political process that carries the interest of citizens at heart. Apart from this, it is the necessity of inculcating a valuable political orientation into the mental system of the nation's leaders. After all, what leaders do is what followers follow after.

it is advisable that the principles of equity, morality and democracy be upheld as against elevating bad inimical issues such as defection as the moral way of life. This will serve as a catalyst in boosting our rate of development in the long run.

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