Cross Carpeting by Politicians ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Matters Arising! -Ishola Adebayo

February 9, 2018

Political observers have begin to raise some questions on the motives and implications of some political heavyweights joining the ruling party less than one year to the 2019 general elections. The dominant questions here are: will their decision to join the ruling party take them to their promised land? Will the influx of these people into the APC not cause crisis within the ruling party ahead of the 2019 general elections?

Although, over the year’s politicians in Nigeria have been seen decamping from one political party to another as a tool for expressing dissatisfaction at intra-party matters and also when they lose party nominations for elective or appointive posts.

The current defection by various categories of politicians in the country has again confirmed their vulnerability to changing platforms even under questionable circumstances. Like the Biblical Moses leading Israelites on mass exodus out of their land of captivity, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo state led scores of members of opposition parties to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, at a carnival – like political rally that took place in Ibadan.

Majority of the decampees, which included Alao-Akala, former Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja; former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Asimiyu Alarape; former Secretary to the State Government, Ayodele Adigun and Senator Brimoh Yussuf, were of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) origin.

For the avoidance of doubt, the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) recognizes the right of politicians to change platforms but this has to be done within the province of the law.Accordingly, sections 68(1) (g) and 109 (1) (g) of the constitution copiously guaranteed the right to decamp in event of factions or crisis. Unfortunately, many politicians have exploited this constitutional provision by wittingly and unwittingly precipitating intra-party crisis to pave way for incessant cross-carpeting.

It is a truism that “in politics there is no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but permanent interests”. One veritable instrument by which politicians give eloquent expression to this concept of permanent interests as against permanent friends is through cross-carpeting from one political platform to another whenever the politician’s interest is threatened or appears no longer protected by the party.

Citizens beware; it’s another season of electioneering period in Nigeria. The politician you die for today may join the opposition party tomorrow. #VoteNotFight and ultimately, Shine Your Eye!!!