Elections and the Politics of Party Defection in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: Implications on Democratic Consolidation                                                                                                                   

1YUSUFU Ahmed Audu, 2OGAJI Tijani Adamu & 3 IDREES Mahmud Gana

1,2 &3 Department of Political Science

Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State

Corresponding Author’s E-Mail:aauduyusuf@gmail.com

Abstract

This paper examined the politics of party defection in Nigeria’s fourth republic from 1999 to 2022 and its implications on democratic consolidation in the country. To achieve this broad objective, the paper employed secondary method of data collection and analysis, which entails collecting data from books, journals and web-based materials among others. Theoretically, the paper adopted the eclectic approach anchored on Elite Theory and Rational Choice theory. The paper posits that the rate at which Nigerian politicians defect from one party to another makes mockery of the country’s democracy, negates the values of opposition parties in a democratic system, invalidates opposing views and reduces the efficacy of alternative democratic choices. The results of this analytical discourse reveal factors ranging from lack of party ideology, economic interest, lack of internal democracy, constitutional vagueness to fear of persecution as responsible for incessant party defections in party politics in Nigeria in recent years. The paper concludes that the incidences of party defection in Nigerian party politics if not checked, could move the country into a political system without viable opposition to serve as watchdog to the ruling party. The paper therefore recommends among others that political parties in Nigeria should be grounded in and founded on strong political ideology as practiced in developed countries of Europe and America to avoid frequent defections by politicians from one political party to another at any slightest provocation.

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