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Effects of Decamping by Politicians on Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria since 1999

Olisah, Christopher Ikem, Nwokah, Imere Lordmizer,


This paper examines the effects of decamping by politicians on democratic consolidation in Nigeria since 1999.Most political and electoral crises witnessed in Nigeria are by-products of the inability of political parties to midwife a viable and workable internal democracy with recourse to candidate selection for various political offices. This paper argues that the political history of Nigeria is replete with cases of parallel party leadership structures, factions, monopolistic and over bearing attitude of political incumbents, party leaders and self-serving godfathers. This intra-party power-play had pushed aggrieved politicians to make U-turn directly or indirectly from one party to another. Using qualitative descriptive method and zero-sum game as its theoretical underpinning, this paper posits that acts of decamping tend to circumvent the credibility of the Nigeria political process, thereby inhibiting democratic consolidation. This paper further argues thatpolitical decamping in Nigeria which is almost becoming a culture is a product of collapsed political values and norms, lack of principles based on shared beliefs and the selfish interest of Nigerian politicians. The paper concludes that,the party system in Nigeria is weak and vulnerable; its future remains precarious and endangered by politicians who through their whims and caprices have become greedy, selfish, dubious, thoughtless and irrational. It recommends among others,that political parties need to be re-engineered from mere institutions for acquiring political power to effective institutions that are capable of structuring, mediating and reconciling societal interests and conflicts. Keywords:Decamping, Democratic consolidation, Zero-sum game, Party politics, Politicians.

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