National Assembly And The Issue Of Party Defection In Nigeria’s Fourth Republic
TABLE OF CONTENT
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
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
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
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.2 Data analysis
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
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;
- To ascertain why Nigerian politicians defect from one political party to another
- To ascertain the effects of political party defections on Nigeria democracy
- To make recommendations on ways to check inter-party defections
- To ascertain the effect of party defection on national assembly
1.4 Research question
- why Nigerian politicians defect from one political party to another?
- Are there effects of political party defections on Nigeria democracy?
- What are the recommendations ways to check inter-party defections?
- 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