THEWILL Editorial: Of Defections, Political Party Ideologies And National Interest

SAN FRANCISCO, September 20, (THEWILL) – The orgy of defections by politicians from across major political parties have presented an interesting angle to Nigeria’s democracy ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Though individuals have the right to choice of party, the timing of these evolving realignments have created undue tension and uncertainties in the polity.

As we draw nearer to the upcoming elections, it is imperative that stakeholders collaborate and manage the situation properly.

It has also become clear that these defections have assumed new dimensions, as non political actors like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Police and Department of State Services, DSS have become interested parties.

This stems from the perceived inordinate way that they have chosen to go after those who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

THEWILL cautions that these defections, which are not based on ideological leanings, but more as a tool for politicians to achieve personal ambitions, must be halted to bring purposeful value to the electorate.

THEWILL further canvasses for a two party system with clear philosophical inclinations, so that it would be uneasy for politicians who had identified with a particular party to defect back and front, without their morality and integrity being questioned.

We implore our leaders to embrace political practices in advanced republics like the U.S.A and Germany, for instance, where parties exist on sustained principles, rather than as mere platforms for politicians to ascend to political power.

For our democracy to grow to the level of other climes, we must also borrow a leaf from India, which in 1973, 1985 and 2003, enacted and have been enforcing the laws against defection.

Under the Indian law, a person could be disqualified from serving in parliament, if he withdraws membership of his original political party.

In the same vein, Nigeria must strengthen its existing laws, as enshrined in sections 68 and 109 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended).

Relevant authorities must rise up to apply the law, which states that the seat of elected officials would be declared vacant, if they decamp when there is no division in the party on which they were elected.

While creed is a system that justifies a chosen political order, as well as shared beliefs regarding the proper order of a society, the manner of defections in Nigeria today, has shown that they are clearly at variance with defined standards.

If not checked, quality governance, peace and stability would continue to elude the people, which reiterates the need for relevant authorities to implement its laws as applicable.

It has become imperative too, for individuals and groups to sponsor and support bills before the National Assembly, for the strengthening and/or amendment of the constitution and electoral laws so that politicians will think twice before dumping their parties.

THEWILL urges the media and civil society groups to sensitize the people so that they are not fooled by this trend in Nigerian politics. This is even as we urge governments at all levels to perform so that no worthwhile reasons could be advanced for defections.

Going forward, the electorate must task defectors on what value they are bringing to their new parties, and reject them, if such moves are not in their own interests