Nigerian Politics: The Unrepentant Cross Over Politicians, its consequences on Fourth Republic
January 31, annually, has become ritualistic for men from the pulpits to signpost their beliefs and Convincation of a new beginning with another year that has earned them the popular sobriquet of the word “Cross over”.
For the believers, it’s expected that their old order is dumped for a better year with varying degree of confession of their sins.
Many would vow not to return to a sin they committed and perhaps harp on getting closer to their creator.
By the beginning of a new year, the camenleon nature in them gradually snowball.
The “Cross Over Politicians” are best decribed by their incessant restiveness to chargrining denigrating values.
They are never consistent like their followers who are bewidered and always ready to be thrown to any available direction like a paulvot.
In Nigerians’ Politics,many of the so called high power play political gambits are engrossed in switching from one political platform to another with little importance to a long term idiology.
Although Politicians may switch parties, if they believe their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party.
Richard Shelby of Alabama left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party, arguing that the former party had shifted more towards liberalism
A disaffected incumbent who might not hold a leadership position or feels ignored or mistreated by the majority party might join the minority party with the expectation of holding a leadership position in the minority party and if currently elected, having the complete support of the minority party for re-election, who would certainly want to have more elected officials in their ranks.
Some politicians have also switched parties to improve their chances for reelection.
Arlen Specter, a former US Senator of Pennsylvania, cited his uncertainty of winning a Republican primary as one reason for his move to the Democratic Party.
The concern is that most Politicians in Nigeria only switch party for the greed of it.
They are never honest enough to explain why their untimely decisions to leave a party.
In a recent assessment carried out through a comprehensive resea
This has to a large scale led to a lean political base in the country, that is consistent in the political philosophies, beliefs, values and convictions.
Developed democracies like the United States, Germany, France and United Kingdom have politicians with over 3 decades of experience in politics without wavering in party affiliations and ideologies.
Lack of ideology is applied, often pejoratively, to anyone who switches loyalty to another religion, sports, team, political party, or other rival faction.
In that sense, the defector is often considered a traitor by their original side.
According to Olarenwaju, John Shola in his contribution on “Political Parties and Poverty of Ideology in Nigeria” asserts that “Political ideology is an important vehicle of a political party.
There is no political party without one or two manifestoes during their electioneering campaign.But the Nigerian parties seem to be suffering from ideological barreness unlike what is obtainable in advanced democracy”.
He opined “Unless leaders of political parties form and maintain political ideologies on their stand, cross carpeting from one party to another will continue to exist.
It is only in Nigeria that a certain candidate would work against their parties when they failed to secure Party’s tickets to contest elections”.
This is one of the major reasons why a politician would defect in Nigeria.
Another serious reason is the dearth of political ideologies in parties and the lack of political philosophies also on the part of the politicians; which is leading them to move from one party to another.
The poverty of ideology has continued to affect the fourth republic Nigerian democratic system.
According to Hilke Rebenstorf in his work on “Political Interest: Its Meaning and General Development” in terms of political sociology, political interest is the main component of political motivation, a variable indicating ability in ideological conceptualization, which is essential for participation in the democratic process (Klingemann 1979).
Thus, political interest is a necessary precondition for the desired characteristics of a responsible and democratic citizen: critical loyalty, ability, and readiness for political participation.
Political interest leads people to weigh ideological positions, to assess their pros and cons, and finally to make a commitment and achieve political identity.
Without political interest, political identity stays diffuse: not knowing what to think, not knowing what to believe,not knowing where one’s own commitments are.
In the Nigerian context a politician will defect from one political party to another, when his or her political interest is no longer guaranteed.
The Pursuit of Political Ambition is a bye-product of switching to salvage ones supposed career in Politics
According to the American Political science review, Political ambition or the desire to seek higher office is shown to develop as a product of the investments that politicians make in their political careers, and the investments are shown to be associated with the structural characteristics of community size and electoral competitiveness.
It therefore, becomes a challenge for some politicians when their aspirations in a particular political party is either scuttled due to the issues of imposition of candidates or structures that will not support them.
While keenly contesting political ambition of the warring defector, Political Agenda sets in.
A political agenda is a clear cut policy direction and philosophy that guides the strategies, ideologies and plans of a political party that shapes its governance strategies, when it is in the helm of affairs of a Local Government, State or Nation.
When a political party is not driving a convincing agenda that impacts the socio-economic space, politicians defect to avoid being associated with failures or poorly implemented policies.
Another Strong area to consider has to do with Internal Party Divisions which is part of the major reasons politician defect in Nigeria, and this is manifest in the various factions and executives in a party.
When a particular faction feels sidelined and ostracized from the political activities, they can resort to defection to seek better opportunities.
Political parties that lack the capacity to achieve internal cohesion are the worst hit by defections, and this is always massive because of the aggrieved factions who leave the party.
The lack of transparency in the processes of political parties are part of the major reasons why politicians defect in Nigeria. One of the major areas where this is witnessed in Nigeria are in party primaries or the national convention.
This explains why politicians will leave a party they have contributed in building all because they have lost confidence in the leadership and process of the party.
Lack of Trust in Party Hierarchy has caused total disintegration of a reputable Political force. We have seen in this country where a ruling party losses steam to opposition party
The leadership of a political party is very critical, it either shapes or destabilizes the structure or alliances that are in the party and when there are issues and the hierarchy cannot resolve it, politicians defect.
It is always difficult to show complete loyalty in a party, when the leadership cannot be trusted and this is why strategic political parties are meticulous and conscious of the kind of leaders that are elected to lead the party.
Arguably, for democracy in Nigeria to have a headway, politicians must learn to offer ideology and stick by it not minding an opposition forces that may send a signal to give up his masterstroke ideologies and switch baton for either lagess or his personal benefits.
The “Unrepentant Cross over politicians” offer nothing but ridiculous consequences to democratic four Walls.