Mar 16, 2019 | 12:50 am | 22
1.1 Background to the Study
The movement of political actors from one political party to another poses a serious concern as to what relationship exist between the act of carpet crossing and political parties ideology. Political parties as makers of democracy have been so romanticized that scholars claim that neither democratic nor non-democratic society are thinkable without them (Omotola, 2009). The strength of character of politicians reflects the strength and effectiveness of political parties which invariably is directly proportional to the degree of resilience democracy enjoys (Agudiegun, et al, 2015). The cases of defection in Nigeria politics, most especially the Fourth Republic tends to forsake the assumed role of political parties in the society which is according to Baofo- Arthur (2003) interest articulation and aggregation.
It has always been the practice of Nigerias democracy for people to defect to other parties with the intention to secure nominations from the party, and for a good number of them to return after election to join the winning party to vie for position in the government. The practice of carpet- crossing or defection appears to have become an undying attribute of party politics in Nigeria. Carpet crossing by Nigeria politician is dated back to the First Republic particularly in 1957, in the defunct Western Regional House of Assembly (Adejuwon, 2013). For over a decade now since the country returned to democratic governance (1999), party defection is one of the challenges confronting Nigeria democracy.
The usual practice in the past has being for politicians to defect to other parties with promise of election tickets if they fail to secure party nominations during their own party primaries. Some who felt disenchanted or denied of a level playing ground, defect to participate in the election, with some still having the intention of returning to their parties. Essentially, parties are formed by individuals that share the same political ideology, that hold a common vision and mission (Ojukwu and Olaifa, 2011). The ideologies of a political party are put down in writing called party manifesto. The manifesto is a statement of the goals and principles the party promises to pursue if voted into power (Ojukwu and Olaifa, 2011). As a contract with voters, the manifesto spells out the partys perception of the countrys problems and states how the party proposes to address problems and help achieve the collective aspirations of the nation if elected. Hence, members of parties should be able to shape the ideology and policies of their parties (Webb et al, 2002).
However, since the inception of the present democratic rule in 1999, political party organizations and its ideology have been rendered less significant according to Elaigwu cited in Albert (2003) many politicians neither had understood the rules of the game nor had they accepted them. The development which is generally referred to as party defection, cross carpeting, floor cross etc (Mbah, 2001, Malthora, 2005) has become so popular that the average Nigerian sees it not only as a tradition but an indispensable feature of democracy.
The situation has become worrisome because political parties on their own encourage defection based on the philosophy of the more, the merrier which is posing a serious threat to democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The deprivation that opposition politics might engender often seems unwise for politicians to remain in opposition parties. This is perhaps so because the party in power often discriminate against the opposition. Thus, political opponents usually had to choose between crossing the carpet to join the ruling party or suffer exclusion, repression and lack of access to resources. Also, cross-carpeting from opposition party to the ruling party emphasizes the primacy of political power. This is because the possession of state power leads directly to economic power and who holds position in the power structure determines the location and distribution of economics and political rewards. Thereby placing the mandate of the electorate at the mercy of political sycophants (IDEA reports, 2000).
It has affected the defectors themselves in the pursuance of their political career. In a political system where importance is attached to patronage, politicians will probably switch parties in the direction of the dispenser of the patronage. This has in turn affected the political career of the defectors, either negatively or positively. Some have been able to secure offices in their new parties while some found themselves shut out of the game. The leaders of the parties usually have much saying in the decision making regarding nominations from within the party. Hence, political aspirants from the party must dance to their tune before getting recognition. Therefore, it is even possible for a politicians ambition to be jeopardized if he/she does not act according to the will of the party leaders. (IDEA reports, 2000).
Cross-carpeting has reduced political support that can be generated from the electorates. The political supporters from the party defected from are often demoralized and might a times leading to political apathy. Many political supporter are thrown into confusion on which candidate or political parties to support in the election period. Thereby, the polarization of the new party defected from is a matter of importance as a reduction and decline in the numerical strength of a party is of major concern to the progress and development of such party which has an indelible impact on the partys performance (Nooken, T. & Poole, K. 2002).
Many scholars have established that decamping into another political party is an act of political malpractice, a negative perspective giving it a total political condemnation. This ugly menace has eaten the good value out of the Nigerian politics and democratic development thus leading to lowering the performance of political parties as the major agent of political process (Adejuwon, L. 2013)
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The Objectives of this study are;
To examine the cases of cross-carpeting into ruling party or opposition party.
To interrogate the effects of political defection and cross-carpeting on the effective delivery of party programmes and maintenance of stability in the political system.
To evaluate effects of carpet- crossing on democratic consolidation.
1.4 Research Questions
The questions examined by this study are:
To what extent do party leaders and representatives cross from one party to another?
To what extent does political defection provide stability to the political system?
What impacts does carpet crossing have on consolidating democracy?
The study will as well serves as the starting point for further deliberations and discussions on defection, cross-carpeting and parties ideology especially in search for their convergences. Political partys ideology affects the economy of every nation. This study will be useful to the economists and governments administrators to know the direction of the economy regarding the serving party ideology
Nongovernmental organizations, cooperate bodies and individuals will find the study helpful to know the prospect of the country democracy.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research activity is relevant and important to be carried out in order to contribute to the body of knowledge in the fields of social sciences. The study will be helpful to all politicians, political scientists, stakeholders, researchers, sociologists and all government officials. It will increase the knowledge of the stakeholder on the rationale behind the political defection, how it affects their mandates in relation with the quest for democratic consolidation.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study covers the cases of carpet crossing in Nigerias Fourth Republic (1999 - 2017). This time frame is to show carpet - crossing as exhibited by politicians to indicate the existence of relative political parties ideology in Nigeria party politics.
The major limitation of the study is due to lack of adequate time available in carrying the research work as time was lost to leisure and reading since I had to undertake the research alongside my normal academic activities. This challenge was overcome as I had to dedicate most of my time to carrying out the research.
1.7 Conceptual Clarifications
For better and robust understanding of the study, attempt is made to define key words which are central to this research for the sake of semantics. This keywords are;
Politics: This is the allocation of the available or scarce resources in the society by a legal authority and it also involves the process by which people, group of people or individual acquire political power.
Political party: It refers to a group of persons with the same ideology coming together in support of a general political cause which seeks to elect candidates to public offices by supplying them with a label by which they are known to the electorates.
Defection: This is refers to the movement of people, or individual from one political party to another.
Democracy: This is a political system which gives equal right to everyone in the participation of politics in the society i.e. rights to vote and be voted for, rights to express their views without restriction and victimization.
1.8 Organization of the Study
Chapter one of this study comprises of the introduction, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, significant of the study, scope and limitation of the study, research hypothesis, research methodology and organization of the work. Chapter two discuss the review of relevant literature, conceptual clarification and theoretical framework adopted for this study. Chapter three explain the methodology adopted in carrying out this research, it further explain types of research and as well stated the importance and significance of the research method adopted. Chapter four is about presentation of evidence of facts from existing literatures on the relationship between carpet-crossing and political parties ideology. Chapter five is about the summary of the whole discussions, conclusion and recommendation.