By Donu Kogbara
LAST week, the Supreme Court ruled against the Peoples democratic Party, PDP, Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, and handed his seat to Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Heated debates ensued about the legal validity of this judgement; and the controversy was partly fuelled by the fact that there wasn’t a single APC member in the State House of Assembly at the time. How, many commentators (including this columnist) asked, can a party that can’t win even one seat in a local legislative chamber claim to be popular enough to have won the main gubernatorial election?
Uzodinma’s opponents rubbed their hands in glee, hoping against all hope that Hope would be in a hopelessly hopeless position and would be impeached by the PDP majority in the State House of Assembly.
Such prayers came to a sorry nought earlier on this week when nine PDP legislators unceremoniously decamped to APC, thereby giving Uzodinma the upper hand he needs to maintain a grip on power.
Even if these defections were not procured, most would certainly have been undertaken with future financial benefits in mind. By allying with the new governor, the carpet-crossing legislators have increased their chances of collecting big bucks from the governor; and I am, for the umpteenth time, compelled to wonder why so many Nigerian politicians are so utterly shameless.
Even though some of these turncoats are immensely rich, they cannot bear to be excluded from lucrative sources of patronage; and instead of standing tall like men of substance and playing a robust opposition game, they cave in and beg those who were their bitter rivals five minutes ago to allow them to join the gravy train.
There can be good reasons for leaving one club to join another. A friend recently told me that he left his former party because it had treated him like dirt; and he provided some examples that were later corroborated by other people; and I sympathise with him.
I myself have switched my allegiance from one party to another in my home state for reasons that were linked to principle. And I now support candidates rather than parties…which is why I am APC in Ekiti, for example, and PDP in Oyo, for example…because I have a lot of respect for Governors Kayode Fayemi and Seyi Makinde.
Long story short, I don’t think that anyone should feel obliged to stay with one party forever. I just get annoyed when moves are clearly not motivated by altruism or justifiable personal grievances.
Too many Nigerians go into politics purely because they want to make money, not because they want to serve their communities or their states or their country. They have no ideological integrity. And they cannot cope with being in the losing camp. Those Imo decampers are a bunch of jokers, if you ask me!