THE GALE OF DEFECTIONS – A WORRISOME DEVELOPMENT

The presidential and national assembly elections have come and gone. I was relieved (and I think many Nigerians felt the same way) when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the PDP was reported to have called the APC candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, on phone to concede defeat.

I thought that it would be nice to have the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in opposition at the centre for a change.

However, barely a week after those elections, I am beginning to wonder whether there will be a virile opposition at the centre this time around. My worry is predicated on the wave of defections that has hit the PDP. I can no longer count on my finger tips the number of high-profile personalities that have left the party in just one week. The personae range from the party’s former governorship candidates in some states. Perhaps the icing so far is the reported defection of Joshua Dariye and Jeremiah Useni both senators-elect in the just-concluded National Assembly elections. That they didn’t even wait for the new National Assembly to be constituted introduces a new and worrisome form of audacious defection.

I have always known that politicians have no scruples. Like they say, what matters in politics is permanent interest. But what they don’t say is whose interest it is. So, I ask, if what matters in politics is permanent interest, whose “permanent interest” is it? By the time we are done lifting the veil on the “interest”, we would discover that the interest is usually “personal”.

For many who abuse, insult, maim and kill others on behalf of some politicians, you really do not understand the game. When their personal interest is served, you can be sure that these same politicians would unite against you. By the time political gladiators decide to put political differences aside to enhance their personal interests, many of recently-emerged class of social media vuvuzelas will not be in the permutations.

With regards to the wave of defections, irrespective of the reasons behind it, it is worrisome. Democracy thrives when there is a viable opposition to keep the government on its toes. The All Progressive Congress (APC) and by extension, its legacy parties (the CAN, the CPC and the APP) did this successfully for the period it was in opposition. In fact, many Nigerians waited expectantly for the opposition parties’ perspectives every time there was a policy pronouncement by the PDP-led central government.

Those who are currently defecting to the APC soon after the presidential elections are guaranteed freedom of association by the constitution. It would also be impossible for the APC to start rejecting defectors lest it be accused of operating like a secret society. However, those who are currently defecting en masse presumably just because the APC will for the government at the centre come May 29, 2015, are enemies of democracy. Nigerians should watch them for they seek to turn the country into a one-party state. That, my friends, is not healthy.

You can follow the author on twitter @ehissman

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