Defection, infection and Nigerian ‘politricians’


A friend rang me up the other day and asked if I had read about the return of yet another prodigal politician to the fold of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). My response was yes, but I was not surprised. This is because no one paid particular attention to the bacterial infection that defection has become in Nigeria’s political parties signature in recent time. Indeed, the dynamics of defection within political parties in the country is so laughable that with the slightest inclination that a politician could be a subject to probe for lack of transparency, or for corruption, or that there is an ill feelings for having no prospect to contest an upcoming election in a particular party among other personal traits may trigger defection. Once any of the above is perceived, the next best thing is move to another party irrespective of political ideology just to satisfy self interest. Indeed, cross-carpeting is not a new phenomenon in party politics because politics they say does not entertain permanent enemy but permanent interest.

However, the defection bandwagon in Nigeria has taken an ugly momentum in recent time. In Edo state the sitting APC governor Godwin Obaseki sorted a safe landing in the opposition party without any consideration of principle or ideology of both parties. Of course, what was at stake was his personal interest to secure a second term chance that has became slimmer by the day as a result of the then APC’s National chairman, Adams Oshiomole’s unhealthy indoctrinations. In a similar scenario the brouhaha in Ondo state caused the deputy governor to seek refuge with the opposition causing bad blood in the polity. And in far away Bauchi state former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara chose to brandish undemocratic practice as reason to quit the PDP. According to him, his intension now as APC member once again is to bring issues of governance failure in Bauchi to the front burner and fight to instill decent and egalitarian government in the state.

However in a response from the governor through his special assistance on news media, Lawal Muazu Bauchi tried to link Dogara’s return to the current Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) probe. Hear him: “…with the current NDDC’s financial scandal, one may be right to say the guilty ones are afraid and the only escape route is to return to the old fold to cover up their past misdeeds”. From all these scenarios and more, it is plain truth that our present day politicians practice politics as profit-making business as their main objective is always built on personal interest.

In fact, nothing counts for politicians but power to meet their own desires and to exploit the people. This is because politicians defection serves no useful purpose either to the people they claim to represent or the country they pledge to be faithful and loyal to. Therefore, the time has come for Nigerians to decide whether it makes sense to expect the tax payers to keep them going especially in these days of pinching coronavirus pandemic. No doubt, Nigerian politicians must be a queer set of people. More often than not, when an election season is approaching you see many among politicians switching political parties like a careless driver changing lanes on the expressway without considering the safety of other road users.

Politicians crossing from one political party to the other in no small measure divide the country and people into warring factions who loathe each other to the pleasure of the selfish politicians. The combination of the rise in political defection and the rise of identity politics encourages politicians to confuse criticism of their arguments with criticism of their person. It would be unwise to claim that abandoning one political platform to another will unite the people or instill decent and egalitarian government. Therefore, Dogara’s crafted defection reasons from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) back to APC alluded to failure or breakdown of governance in his home state of Bauchi which is currently under the administration of a PDP governor, Bala Mohammed may cause more confusion than good in the state.

How can Nigeria’s political arena be saved from the ongoing destruction from lack of ideological politics? It is not enough to frustrate critics by calling them enemies of democracy and wave off constructive criticism as opposition’s arm chair to destabilise government. In the case of Dogara’s defection, it is surprising to hear him say that, he could not successfully ask questions about bad leadership without being accused of disloyalty if he were to remain in the PDP. Therefore, to be one of the most responsible and principled politician in Bauchi and by extension the country, he resigned his membership of the PDP to enable him keep faith and fight for good governance.

It is disheartening to note that Nigeria’s precious democracy is mindlessly dissipated by politicians through the act of unnecessary defection just to achieve personal goal. This ostensibly explains the pervasiveness of conflict and crisis within political parties and the seeming ineffectiveness of political leadership to bring about real change that will positively affect the lives of the people. Indeed, if one may ask, does the dynamic of defection and competition within political parties provide any leadership quality or reveal a good example of how politicians might go about improving the lives of the masses? The question is raised to interrogate between cheap publicity and politician’s argument that their defection is to bring about good governance and better life for the people.

By now, the obnoxious politics of selfish interest has reached a point where Nigerians must admit that enough is enough and be wiser to the mischievous intentions of present day politicians. Therefore, any sordid politics should not be allowed to take root but be thrown out bag and baggage come 2023 elections. This is not only necessary a duty that must be done, it is for the citizens interest and for the good of the country.

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