Thursday, 12 September 2013



With the way and manner politicians defect from one political party to another these days, shows that they lack principles and character. Since the country returned to democracy in 1999, politicians have been defecting from one political party to another without remorse for their actions. Nigerian politicians usually defect to other political parties when they are denied their party’s tickets to contest for elective positions, when they no longer wield enormous power in their political parties or feel unsecured. This week, 500 PDP members defected to the APC in Imo State.
It will interest you to know that some politicians have moved round the four major political parties in the country!The main reason why Nigerian politicians are desperate for elective positions at all cost is because politics is the only thriving “business” in Nigeria at the moment. This is so because all other sectors in the country have collapsed. The reason why other sectors of the economy have collapsed is because of lack of electricity. Electricity is the lifeblood of any nation that wants to develop. Since there is no electricity and other businesses have collapsed, politicians now see politics as a big business and will do just anything to access and cling to elective offices. Political offices became so juicy after the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) increased the salaries and allowances of lawmakers astronomically several times. While a professor earns a meager N280,000 per month, a senator earns as much as N15.18 million monthly and a member of the House of Representatives earns N10.59 million monthly. Also, a senator is entitled to N500 million constituency allowance and each member of the House of Representatives receives N450 million annually. A councilor earns N120, 000 per month.
Thus, with these jumbo salaries and allowances, politics has become the most lucrative business in Nigeria today. What kind of a business will one do in Nigeria now that will yield as much as N10.59 million or N15.18 million profit in a month? In other climes where leadership is basically service to humanity, political office holders who wish to make money usually resign their political offices to pursue private businesses in order to make money. In Japan, in the past ten years, about five prime ministers have resigned their political offices for mere accusation of corruption or misconduct. They resigned because politics is not an avenue for making money so why will one be troubled over what is not giving them so much money?
In Nigeria, no politician resigns from office no matter the scandal. Do will have scandals in Nigeria? So, Nigerian politicians throw caution to the wind and engage in all manners of unthinkable things without remorse. They mortify their conscience and engage in unwholesome activities that dent their image (sorry, do they have image to protect?) but they are not bothered as long as there is so much money to be made from politics.
Thus, the three reasons why politicians defect so easily from one political party to another are lack of principles, character and accountability. The word, “principle” has three meanings but I will take the second meaning which applies to what we are discussing in this article. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines principle as “a guiding rule for personal behaviour”. The same dictionary also defines character as “a person’s good reputation”. The word “accountability” is a noun that is derived from the adjective “accountable”. The same dictionary defines accountable as “required or an explanation of one’s action, expenditure.
A man with principles will definitely have a guiding rule that will regulate his personal behaviour. He is known by the particular way he behaves or acts. A man must be stable in his behaviour; not acting as a chameleon. A man should not be inconsistent in his actions and behaviour. But all that the Nigerian politicians are looking for are self aggrandizements. So, they do not bother about the sarcastic statements people make about them. A man without principles cannot be taken seriously and relied upon for public positions. Nigerian politicians lack principles as they change everyday. Since Nigerian Politicians have no principles, they always fit into any available political party. Principles regulate the actions and inactions of man. A man with principles will not fit into just any political party but the political party that satisfied and fulfilled his principles of life.
Another factor that Nigerian Politicians lack is character. Character is defined above as a person’s good reputation. Do Nigerian politicians have good reputation? A good reputation is a positive opinion that people in general have about what somebody is like. Do Nigerians see their Politicians as good people? I do not think so rather, the Nigerian Politicians are seen as corrupt, wasteful and unpatriotic. This is because they earmarked huge sums of money to themselves at the detriment of the masses who elected them into office (were they really elected?). Every year, budgets that run into trillions of naira are passed without commensurate developments. The dilapidated infrastructures the military handed over in 1999 are the only infrastructures on ground as there is nothing new in terms of development.
However, a man of character will not defect from his political party for another that composed dishonest people. He will not like to associate with people of shady character in the name of belonging to a political party simply because he wants to occupy a political office. A good reputation is better than any political office. This is because the tenure of political office is transient but a good reputation stays with a man forever. Even when a man has died, his good reputation continues to go with his children and open great opportunities for them. This is what men of character pursue in life but the Nigerian politicians do not want to play decent politics that will write their names in gold after they might have departed the earth but they gallivant from one political party to another. How many politicians have defected from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in America since its inception? How many politicians have defected from the Labour Party to the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom since 1920? In the 2008 and 2012, presidential primaries of the Democratic Party, Mr. Barrack Obama defeated Mrs. Hilary Clinton in both primaries, yet the former did not defect to another political party as would have been the case in Nigeria. Hilary Clinton served as Secretary of State under President Obama until she resigned recently.     
Accountability is another factor that the Nigerian politicians lack. To be accountable is to give explanation on one’s actions or expenditure. Do Nigerian politicians render explanation on their actions and inactions to the masses? Do they give account of how they spend our money? They do not give account on how they spend public funds that are entrusted to them. But how will they give account of their stewardship to the masses that did not elect them into office in the first place? Till the 2011 general elections, most of the elective offices were occupied by politicians who rigged elections in their favour. How will politicians who rigged their way into elective offices render account of their stewardship to the people who did not vote for them?
But do you blame the politicians for defecting from one political party to the other? Most of the political parties are made up of people of questionable characters. This is why all the political parties are wide open to all manners and shades of people because the people that formed them are like the defectors. If the people that formed the political parties are not political shenanigans, how will they open their political parties to political Mafiosi?
There are three reasons why political parties admit all kinds of people into their folds. The three reasons are: lack of ideology, manifestoes and internal democracy. If you look closely at all the political parties, you will agree with me that they all lack ideology, manifestoes and internal democracy. Ideology is a set of ideas or beliefs that are held by a particular group or person. Do the various political parties have ideology guiding them or their founders only came together just to hijack political power? Do the political parties have manifestoes? If they have manifestoes, why have they not been able to achieve meaningful developments since the country returned to this pseudo democracy in the past 13 years? Political parties in Nigeria also lack internal democracy that is why candidates are imposed on the parties without the mandate of party delegates during party primaries.
Thus, Nigerian politicians are not interested in good reputation or accountability rather they are only interested in what they can get from elective offices. This is why they jump from one political party to another. But this is not healthy for our fledgling democracy as it does not encourage the growth of democracy. Nigerian politicians should adopt ideologies, manifestoes and internal democracy for their parties so as to close their door against unscrupulous politicians.  

Do politicians in your country have principles and character? Do they defect from one political party to another like politicians in Nigeria? Please, leave your comments in the comment section.


  1. Until the citizens stand up for their right, the politicians would continually take us for ride. we are not making them accountable but rather we worship them for pocketing our collective wealth. God help Nigeria.

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