By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Former deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George and Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Yinka Olona, Tuesday, disagreed over politicians’ defection from one party to another in the country.
This came barely hours after lawmakers at the National Assembly defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC to Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
While George claimed that defection does not represent the core values Nigeria’s founding father stood for, Olona stressed that any politician could defect to another party when the party fails to uphold the values he believes in.
They spoke, at the 2018 summit of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, themed: “Rebuilding Democratic values in Nigeria,” held in Ikeja, which was also attended by National Conscience Party, NCP Presidential aspirant, Martin Onovo.
George said: “They (founding fathers) were principled and disciplined. They stood for something. And long after they had gone, their followers still pride themselves on the achievement and legacies of these great fathers.
“In our turn, we also must stand and be seen to stand for something. If we do, we will not jump from one party, whose priority is to build a pyramid to another whose priority is to dredge a river.
“We will refuse to sell our birthright for a bowl of yam porridge. We will imbibe discipline and sound principles. We will not sell our conscience and we will not sell our votes,” he added.
Olona, however, stressed that since the constitution approves it, there was nothing wrong for anyone to defect to another party.
He said: “Defection cannot be ruled out of politics in Nigeria. Definitely, if one belongs to a political party and he is not comfortable with the ideology they uphold, you can move to another party. For instance, look at the case of APC which is now a divided party.
“The issue of defection cannot be over emphasised in Nigeria. If anyone feels that he is not comfortable with the party he belongs, he has the right to defect,” the chairman added.