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The decline of ideology politics

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Of late, Nigerian politicians in their majority appear to be assiduously working to diminish the relevance of the democratic system and the need to achieve good governance in the country. Therefore, there is need for serious concern given the spate of the rampant defections which has besieged the opposition party(ies) in recent times. Of course, by the relentless enthusiasm with which the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party has been claiming the ‘backyard victory’, one would not be surprised if these unnecessary shouts of triumph would further derail and deny the people the dividends of democracy. Consequently, the ignoble practice of decamping should raise eyebrows and cause wariness among the opposition parties, the intellectual Left and well meaning Nigerians because, it is a matter of evidently weighty consequence in the near future.

The way and manner politics is being played nowadays is not only devastatingly surprising but shocking to learn from an elderly friend, the other day, of a time in the history of the country, when Nigerians took great pride and an unwavering stance in their ideological political parties.

A period when a political party’s manifesto gave the voter a clear understanding of the party’s ideology. A time, when the electorate’s votes count and when political power actually belonged to the people. Of course, an era when politicians are seen as servants not masters. Sadly, it is the exact opposite today. Politics now lack the ideology that propelled many among farmers, students, market women and associations to be card carrying members of political parties of old. Regrettably, today’s politicians and political parties are a collection of so many selfish individuals whose only agenda is to exploit and impoverish the masses. I would not at all be surprised if the candid minority among politicians in the country are themselves quite irritated by the fetish and insidious comments coming from both the defectors and the welcoming political party. One is mystified by the way in which defection is now being used to justify good governance and achievements.

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A fortnight ago, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina while glorifying defectors governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state and his counterpart from Zamfara state, Bello Mohammed (Matawalle Maradum) both duly elected as governors by the masses under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said: “…this is one of the happiest times for us in this party.

For you to have the courage to leave your constituencies speak a lot. I wish Nigerians will reflect about it…” Yes. Nigerians are indeed reflecting about the manipulations of political power and warped sentiments for personal gains. Amid the orgy of congratulations, the defectors claim their action is in the interest of the people, but in reality, they are merely looking for exclusive domain to continue the exploitation and impoverishment of the people.

This is not only dangerous but destructive as hate speech and fake news. Nigerians know too well the effect of such shady acts and comments in our political and national life. Shall we wait for a political war of words that could be translated into some colourations of religious or tribal stir to teach us to avoid whipping up political power or sentiments for personal gains? It is disheartening that Nigeria’s politicians continue to betray and is betraying the people’s trust, both in their pretension of being true democrats, to broken promises and their indulgence in jumping from one political party to the other in the name of the people.    

With the incessant decamping of key politicians to the ruling party across the country, the political class seems to be working to destroy the relevance of opposition in party politics. Indeed, the decline of ideology politics is evident in the continued defection of politicians from the opposition to the ruling party.  Currently, in the Green Chambers, the difference is not only clear, but very stark as APC members grew from 211 in 2019 elections to 236 last week due to defections.

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This means the APC members in the House are just 4 members shy of the required two-thirds (240) to control overwhelming influence on every legislative matter on the floor of the House.  One very disturbing nature of these defections is that unlike previous occasions when leaders of the party in the House (both the minority leadership and the House PDP caucus leadership) put up some form of protest, but in this case, not even a whisper was heard or a hand raised against the decamping politicians in the House. It is important to remind our political leaders, especially those in the opposition and a passionate appeal to civil society organisations, not to sit back and watch in silence while our democracy is taken down a path that undermines the rule of law and moral consciousness.

Time is of the essence to stop this ugly trend. Notwithstanding the decamping politician’s propaganda taking a populist turn, the onus to demonstrate good faith rests on the ruling government to show good leadership example and encourage the on-going electoral reforms to have a human face. This would create an order to prevent a political earthquake that could lead the nation, as earlier noted, becoming a one party state. Without electoral reform, the disorderliness among politicians will not only continue but worsen.

No doubt, politicians are supposed to be distinguished persons who ought to keep faith with the people that elected them into offices and having been elected into their esteemed positions, they do not need decamping to justify the confidence the people reposed on them to perform creditably. However, it is unfortunate that, the laxity in the system is partly responsible for the selfish interest that determines the need for defection. To save our democracy, this phenomenon must stop, as Nigeria cannot afford to be playing banana politics. In a larger sense, we cannot continue to treat defectors as hallow, Nigerians may not remember what the defectors said, but they can never forget the picture democracy is being painted by their (defectors’) action.  

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