Gale Of Post-election Defections

The displacement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) exposed the hypocrisy of the average Nigerian politician. It not only blew the lid off their claim to ideology, it also put a lie to their avowed loyalty to their political parties. While courts are yet to settle the issue of the propriety or otherwise of politicians jumping party lines once elected on the platform of another party, many PDP top notch members are already ditching the party for the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).

Unlike the other centrifugal and centripetal forces in the nation, the defections have no ethnic or religious colouration. From Jigawa to Ondo, Imo, Edo, Kwara and Adamawa, the latest exodus has become a trend for politicians across the country. PDP stalwarts did not move in dozens, they cross-carpeted in hundreds and in extreme cases thousands. The defections have aggravated fears that the PDP will collapse and Nigeria will become essentially a one-party state, after years of lacking a viable opposition in the political landscape that was controlled by the PDP and with many joining it under the spell of stomach infrastructure, a nebulous term that denotes corruption. The APC was formed in 2013 by four opposition parties that merged to end the PDP’s 16-year rule.

While many top ranking officials of the government will not succumb to the argument of being in the mainstream of the power equation, it is reassuring that Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, have vowed to remain the “last men standing” in the PDP. Niger State governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said the PDP defectors lack political fortitude. “I would rather resign from politics than defect,” Aliyu said. Although, they have spoken and put their views in the public space, not many agree that when push comes to shove, they will all still be there standing. It is sad that those who put themselves up for public service can jettison all rules of engagement in party politics and jump at the lucre of appointive positions when rejected at the polls. Those defecting from the PDP based on the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections simply lack principles, integrity and morality. They are indeed “stomach politicians” who will jump at any offer, once the price is right.

Many said they took the decision in the spirit of the wind of change blowing across the political landscape. But the question is, were they not the promoters of the failed transformation agenda of President Jonathan and apostles of the “fresh air” that suffocated the populace? Coming just a few days after the ruling party lost out in the historic March 28 polls, the character of the opposition to provide alternative policies and stimulate democratic goals under the Muhammadu Buhari presidency remains to be seen. And this does not augur well for democracy and good governance

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