I fully subscribe to the democratic tenets of freedom of Speech, Association and Movement. But it must be accepted that each freedom has its limits and must be exercised within the circumference of the law. I have for several years been appalled by the ease with which Nigerian Politicians switch camps. A man belongs to a particular political party in the morning and just because his suggestion was not accepted at a meeting in the afternoon, he announces to us with glee and no feeling of remorse in the evening that he has joined another party, and while we are still trying to understand what that means to us his supporters or electorate,he announces next morning, perhaps after some overnight ' reconciliation' or 'settlement' meeting that he has gone back to the party he left yesterday evening. All in the name of freedom of association! What kind of freedom is this?

Now if you are just a politician seeking relevance or a position or where to stand, I can show empathy, as one may find that one platform may be too crowded and may not allow you a space to actualise your ambition. But then, is politics all about relevance and positions and ambitions?. I had thought that Political parties were organized to espouse certain ideologies that would influence good governance and orderly development of society. And therefore, before you joined one, you would scrutinize their constitution, philosophy and manifesto, so as to determine whether your world or political views or persuasion were in sync with those of the party you were planning to join. And so having joined, you would be expected to join hands with the other members to espouse and promote the political views of your party to influence political, economic and social behavior of society to achieve growth and orderly development. In such circumstances, seeking particular positions( elected or appointed) should not be sufficient reason to become a 'migrant ‘or 'nomadic ' politician as Mr Labarun Maku rightly classified Atiku Abubakar and his cohorts recently.

Now if I have some empathy for Politicians seeking relevance or positions or space to stand, I do not have any for a Politician who has been elected into office under the banner and manifesto of a particular party who recklessly defects or migrates from one party to another. It is morally bankrupt and it is a reckless and unconscionable abuse of the freedom and choice of the electorate. According to the Nigerian Constitution and the extant electoral laws, only Political Parties are allowed to stand for elections and only political parties win elections. If it were not so, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would never have become governor of Rivers State when he did. He never stood for the gubernatorial elections in 2007. His name was not on the ballot, neither did he campaign. But His party PDP went to the election and won. And when the Supreme Court was asked to determine who the rightful candidate of PDP for the election was, it said it was Amaechi and not Celestine Omehia whose name was on the ballot and who campaigned for the seat.

So that settled the issue that the electorate actually and legally votes for Parties. Yes, the individual candidates may influence the outcome, but whom the electorates are voting for are the parties, largely because of their philosophies and manifesto. And so if I have exercised my choice and voted for a party and it's manifesto and it wins and the party's candidate, then for one reason or the other( often selfish ), decides to defect to another party which I did not vote for perhaps because I did not share in their philosophy or like their manifesto, is this not a patent abuse of my freedom and perhaps a fraudulent conversion of my political equity?

This abuse has gone on for so long and I was just hoping some one else would share my distaste for this act of 'political prostitution'. Thank God that this week Justice Adeniji ADEMOLA rose to the task and pronounced that the 37 PDP members of the House of Representatives who turned coat and changed their parties to APC should lose their seats in the house. For me this is a very courageous judgement and carries with it a high moral weight.

We need bold,courageous and fearless Judges like Adeniji ADEMOLA to reign in the politicians and cut down their excesses.

As expected the affected politicians who now belong to the so called progressive party have risen, along with their leaders with one voice to condemn and abuse the courageous Judge for trying to bring order to the conduct of politicians in Nigeria. If Ademola had acted otherwise, they would have hailed him as the greatest and most fearless judge on earth. They would have assailed us with eulogies of how the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. The same party that has benefitted most from judicial pronouncements in the history of Nigeria must not be the one to be insulting a judge because he was courageous to remain faithful to his conviction, without succumbing to the threats and blackmail of the Party's intimidating machinery.

Rather than rubbish the courageous judge, I would suggest that they accept the sobering verdict, then appeal as they have done, or go to the same court to adjudicate on their members who have also defected to PDP. That is the honorable thing to do to help bring sanity to the practice of Nigeria's brand of democratic politics. How I wish that the type of Justice ADEMOLA was in the bench in 1952 when there was inexplicable mass defections of NCNC members to AG overnight in the Western House of Assembly, that prevented Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe from becoming the Leader of the Western Nigeria's Parliament, with its lingering consequences on Nigeria's Politics and unity till date.

Let me be clear that I am not opposed to any politician changing his party. I believe that, there may be very many genuine reasons why this must happen. The constitution and the electoral laws have recognized some of them. But my position is that if any elected political office holder desires for any reason whatsoever to change his party, he should do one simple thing. Resign his position and return to the electorate and re-seek their mandate to return to the position on the platform of the new party. For me that is the only way to respect the wishes of the electorate and bring decorum to the contract between the politician and the people.

If I know Nigeria well, the dethroned representatives who already said they are going nowhere, and have gotten their leaders and the media to drum up support for them may eventually go no where. They may even win the appeal- willy or nilly. For me I am fulfilled that Justice Adeniji ADEMOLA has stood for truth and righteousness and what ever happens thereafter, history will remember him as one Judge who did something to curb political rascality and 'prostitution'in our Country.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa ofr


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