Party hopping, cross carpeting, canoe jumping…they all describe the same phenomenon; defection!

One of the key ingredients of any effective democracy is a multiparty system. It gives the voters options and alternatives to choose from. Different parties with different ideologies provide the kind of competition to make each party stay on its toes.

Usually, these political parties differ in terms of ideology and how they hope to serve the people. If these parties then represent different lines of thinking, why has party defection become so common in Nigeria?

In the simplest sense, defection is the act of a politician switching allegiance and membership from one political party to another.

Today, our democracy somewhat resembles a musical chair with the actors hopping on and off seats when the music changes.

The Ondo State governor is a recent example; he began his political adventures as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then defected to the Labour Party (LP) and now he’s back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The latest example of this peculiar political restlessness is the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives; Aminu Tambuwal who recently made the switch from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and if what he said is anything to go by, he’s dancing to the political tunes of Sokoto state.

Not only is this a damning condemnation of Nigerian political parties, it is a condemnation of our politicians and their lack of principles. They simply dance to whatever tune is playing at the moment.

Nigerian political parties have only one ideology; grab political power by hook or by crook and of course sully other political parties while you’re at it. Consequently, these political parties are riddled with the same problems; godfatherism, lack of internal democracy and brutal in fighting.

This means that these politicians realize only after switching parties that they’ve simply traded one demon for another and most prefer to stick with the familiar demon.

Aminu Tambuwal is the latest high profile case of party defection and of course the Presidency is fighting back. His security detail has been pulled and in a rather uncommon move, the Inspector General of Police Suleiman Abba issued a statement justifying the removal of Tambuwal’s security detail;

“The recent defection by Aminu Waziri Tambuwal , the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and having regards to the clear provision of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office”.

For a moment there, I thought we had the Supreme Court Judge and not the Inspector general of Police

Pray, when did it fall to the Nigerian Police Force to interpret the constitution?

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