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National Assembly And The Issue Of Party Defection In Nigeria’s Fourth Republic


Title page

Approval page




Table of content




1.1        Background of the study

1.2        Statement of problem

1.3        Objective of the study

1.4        Research Hypotheses

1.5        Significance of the study

1.6        Scope and limitation of the study

1.7       Definition of terms

1.8       Organization of the study







3.0        Research methodology

3.1    sources of data collection

3.3        Population of the study

3.4        Sampling and sampling distribution

3.5        Validation of research instrument

3.6        Method of data analysis



4.1 Introductions

4.2 Data analysis


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Summary

5.3 Conclusion

5.4 Recommendation




This study was on the national assembly and the issue of party defection in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Politicians in Nigeria have continued to lay claims to their fundamental rights to freedom of association  as a means  of  moving in  and  out of  political groups  at will,  a development, though not  alien to  the nation’s  political system,  which  is however  gradually assuming  a frivolous  status,  thus  raising  concerns  in  the  build-up  to  the  2019  general  elections. Provisions were made  in the 2010 Electoral Act  as safeguard against indiscriminate cross-carpeting  from one  political  party  to another,  which  spelt  out conditions  under which an elected officer can defect, but the inherent loopholes in the safeguards were today still being exploited  by politicians. The  sixth National  Assembly also made  attempts at stopping the distasteful practice through Constitution amendment, but the particular clause which sought to  strip  members  of  the  National  Assembly  and  House  of  Assembly  of  their  seats  on defection could not get the required two-third backing from the states.  A similar move was made  in 2012  when  two members  of  the  House of  Representatives,  Eddy Mbadiwe  and Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Albet  Sam-Tsokwa, re-introduced the bill. But it did not even scale second reading on the floor. Is the trend healthy for the political development  of  Nigeria?  Does  it  portend  stability  for  a  political  party?  Does  the  law regulating political parties activities allow such defection?  What actually is the position of the law on the subject matter? These questions are begging for answer and this study seeks to provide answers to them


Chapter one


1.1Background of the study

Political parties represent a vital element of the contemporary democratic tradition. This is so because in the absence of political parties, “democracy that is based on the liberal model of majority rule would be practically impossible.” One of the foremost definitions of a political party was advanced by Edmund Burke, who described a political party as “a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest upon some particular principles in which they all agreed.” The Nigerian Constitution, in recognition of the significant role a political party plays in the overall growth and welfare of a nation as well as in the “construction of a stable and participatory political order” in democratic society, boldly prohibits political activities and the canvassing for votes by any association except a registered political party.

With the return to democracy on May 29, 1999 after 16 years of military rule, Nigerians had had high expectations on the state system and politicians based on a multi-party democracy. By the year 2018, Nigeria has had 184 political parties and associations since her independence in 1960. From the 1979 to the 1999 military transitions, many critical issues have clouded the political atmosphere from the return in 1999 such as dominance of the old and retired generals in the politics, leadership instability in the National Assembly, poor performance by most of the politicians and the political system, increased electoral crises and use of money manipulating state policies and national interest among others. Then emerged the issues of intra-party conflicts, especially in the then ruling party, the People’s Democratic  Party  (PDP) over  struggle for access and consolidation of Nigerian  state political  and economic  powers;  proliferation  of the  number  of political parties from 3  in 1999  to 91  by the year 2019;  there also arouse the inter-party defections, which in wholesome cannot be discerned from the prime interest in acquisition and consolidation of state political and economic powers by the politicians. Although that was not the first time that politicians, especially at  the  higher-level  defected  from  one  party to  another,  the  Fourth  Republic, especially  between  2006  and  2018  has  marked  the  peak  of  both  intra-party conflicts and inter party defections. At the initial stage, the scene was dominated by intra-party fractions mostly associated with inability to observe the  internal democratic  principles but  grew to  inter-party defections  and mostly  from the opposition to the ruling party.

The wave of defection from one party to another in the National Assembly has been that of different strokes for different folks. In the House of Representatives, members have been defecting from one political party to another at will and unhindered by the leadership.  This has become a regular event in the house since the five PDP governors defected to All Progressives Congress (APC) at the peak of the intra -party crisis that rocked PDP.   Even, five APC members defected to PDP amidst allegation by the APC leadership that they were induced with  hard currency by the PDP amidst allegation by the APC leadership that they were induced with hard currency by the PDP leadership to do so, which PDP has since dismissed, describing APC as a party suffering diminishing returns.   The House leadership has set up a committee to investigate the allegation, but many are doubtful of the outcome of the probe, considering events of the past. In the Senate, the defection move by former senate president Bukola Saraki and 10 others from PDP to APC continued to hit the wall following the refusal of the Senate  leadership to  read their letters  on the  excuse that the matter is before the court. This was despite argument by the defecting senators that the matter in court is not on defection, but on the attempt to declare their seats vacant.

In the most recent, however, the development  involves inter-party  defections from and to both the ruling and opposition parties. It has transcended beyond the intra  party  factions  such  as  the  new-PDP  and  reformed-APC,  i.e.  Nigerian politicians’ defect from all the parties to others. This study explored the national assembly and the issue of party defection in Nigeria’s fourth Republic

1.2 Statement of the problem

Nigerian politics  since  the  early  years  of  the  First  Republic  has  been characterized  by both  intra  and inter  party  heats  –  tension, rivalry,  violence, electoral malpractice, elite manipulation, and character and lives assassinations. Recently, the Nigerian politicians have more than any other period of its police history become embroiled in inter-party defections and that poses a dilemma as to  why  do  such  politicians  defect  from  one  party  to  the  other.  There  are increasing concerns that these politicians are really defecting in the interest of the Nigerian state or the electorate, but for other selfish gains. Some of the defections have in  the recent  been more  like studio  produced in  the National Assembly. There  are  visible  hands  of  patron-clientelism  which  has  continued  to  hold Nigerian politics to ransom since independence (Ojo, 2016; Draper & Ramsay, 2008:256; Richard, 1987). Key  issues such as those of political ideologies and party manifesto have been given little or no attention, despite the occasional tags of conservatives, progressives, liberals, socialists and populists among others and at  the  expense  of  other  roles  the  parties  play  as  interest  aggregation  and articulation  (Agudiegwu,  Moses  Ogbonna  &  Ezeani,  2015;  Boafo-Arthur  in Salih, 2003). The over  184 political parties and  associations established in 58 years  of  post-independence  Nigeria  have  remained  mere  stooges  for  the attainment of  power and selfish interests of  the politicians having devised  and used the politics and the parties as machines to ride and access state political and economic power  and resources (Rodee, 1980). Nigerian  politicians now defect from one political party to the other at will in order to protect and or consolidate their hold of political and economic power and resources of the Nigerian state. This comes with a lot of devastating factors or problems and  implications for democracy and party politics in the nation. This trend of inter-party defections does  not  only  ridicule  the  country’s  democratic  development,  but  also undermines the Nigerian political orientation, culture and socialization (Colomer, 2005)

1.3 Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain why Nigerian politicians defect from one political party to another
  2. To ascertain the effects of political party defections on Nigeria democracy
  3. To make recommendations on ways to check inter-party defections
  4. To ascertain the effect of party defection on national assembly

1.4 Research question

  1. why Nigerian politicians defect from one political party to another?
  2. Are there effects of political party defections on Nigeria democracy?
  3. What are the recommendations ways to check inter-party defections?
  4. Is there any effect of party defection on national assembly?

1.5 Significance of the study

The study will be very significant to students, political parties, politicians and policy makers. The study will very give a clear insight on the national assembly and the issue of party defection in Nigeria’s fourth republic. The study gives an insight on the effect of party defection on Nigeria democracy. The study will also serve as a reference to other researchers that embark on the related topic

1.5 Scope of the study

The scope of the study covers national assembly and the issue of party defection. The study will be limited to APC and PDP

1.7 limitation of the study

The researcher encounters some constraints which limit the scope of the study namely:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.8 Definition of terms

National assembly: The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a bicameral legislature established under section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution. It consists of a Senate with 109 members and a 360-member House of Representatives

Party defection: In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state in exchange for allegiance to another, in a way which is considered illegitimate by the first state


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