Bayelsa’s Defection: Deceit Or Reality?

by Jacob Ogunseye

The recent mass exodus of dissenting members of the ruling party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State to the new bride All Progressives Congress (APC) is worrisome. As expected, a number of them made allegations of bad governance against their former party while some declared the party dead in the state. APC in its usual colourful celebration laid red carpet for the defectors most of which have benefited immensely from the goodies of the recent past government. Though there is nothing wrong with their loyalty changing as this will definitely strengthen the democratic ideologies, encourage good governance and sustain credibility in our system.

Crediting the mass exodus of more than seven hundred key members with mere leaps will be disastrous. The feat is capable of negatively impacting the performances of the ruling party in the coming pool; it is demeaning how our politicians jettison democratic ideologies for frivolities and personal gains. It is obvious that these defectors acted possibly for perceived being outweighed in the power game or for their endless search for safe havens to freely expend their loot. Their over dependence on state resources for their existence and thought resistance from the state governor played a major role in this soccer.

Though the government and party leaders at the state level did little to stem the ugly occurrence since they bent on expelling some of them, the bulk of the blame is passed unto the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan who should have learnt from his defeat that expelling party members in Nigeria politics is never a good way to manage issues. With his position as a national leader and father-figure in the state, it appears Dr Jonathan has lost his political connection in the party at the state level and doubt what he stand for at the national level.

With this massive defection, it is apparent that the fate of the incumbent administration in the State is hanging in the balance, those who fought the battle for him seems to have shifted base, his main battle axes are now down to his developmental and progressive stint in the state with the hope that it will be enough to convince and massively woo supports of the state electorates. But being Nigeria where money plays pivotal roles in our politics, it is too close to call.

APC as a party need to watch their back with these strange fellows, it has been argued that most of the defectors changed their party loyalty because of threat of war against corruption of the incumbent president or probably for them to have a grip of the economy of their state and save haven. Whatever the reason, vigilance is the key for operational success of the party. Nigeria should not be controlled by single party, accepting of defectors on daily basis to gain popularity is diminishing; changing of party loyalty for frivolities is also absurd. 

As a stakeholder, strengthening our democratic institutions is of great concern. Democracy survive when people from different perspectives formed different groups to achieve a common goal through different strategies. It ensures that there are different choices in the political marketplace – not only in terms of candidates but also in terms of ideas. One party cannot produce any other system other than dictatorial power. APC should rise against this unnecessary show. If APC truly has a manifesto, how come everyone is fitted? Where are the liberal and conservative ideologies? As a ruling party, they should be cautious and be ready to play according to the tenets of democracy.