Defection is a pastime, game and hobby of politicians in Nigeria. They do it with crass impunity without any moral, conscienable and ideological consideration. Most often, they do it for self-serving aggrandisement without considering the over-riding interest of the people they represent. They give deceptive reasons and excuses for defecting. Only very few defections are well-intentioned.

Defection and deception are now commonplace in Nigerian politics.

Defection and deception are not peculiar to a single political party or a single individual in Nigeria. All political parties and most politicians are guilty of them. Worst of all are the two major political parties in Nigeria: the APC and PDP. Inter-defections between these two Parties and deception are so routinely practiced that the difference between them is just in nomenclature only and no more.

Both parties are so subsumed together in the art of defection and deception that, on a lighter note, what we have today is neither “APC” nor “PDP”, but “APDPC”.

But, are the politicians to be blamed for all these?

Politicians do not vote themselves into power. People vote them into power. The main problem of a typical Nigerian electorate/voter is his gullibility. And this has made him vulnerable to deception; and a willing tool in the hands of the politicians.

Nigerian politicians are more of business men than the ideal politician that they are supposed to be. Just the way a typical Nigerian business man would want to maximise his profit by any means, a typical Nigerian politician would also want to maximise his votes in like manner. Also, the same way a business man targets the people as his market, the politician also targets the people as his voters. Central to this business-political game, in any event, are the people.

When PDP was preparing to win elections and take over power in 1999, the political commodity sold to the electorates was “Power to the People”. In their gullibility, they bought it without asking questions as how this power would be theirs. After 16 years of expecting this power, the rest is now history.

In order to wrestle power and governance from the PDP in the 2015 elections, the APC sold another political commodity to the people called “Change”. To actualise this, politicians, in droves, defected from the PDP to the APC; and made all sorts of fairy tale promises of change to them. They also subjected the PDP to opprobrium and odium in the eyes of the electorates; and made it unmerchantable.

Again, the same way as in 1999, the electorates allowed gullibility to take the better part of them. They bought the “Change” commodity blindly without comprehending and dissecting its agents and constituents, or what it really meant and stood for.

Almost two and a half years after buying this “Change” commodity from the APC, the electorates have now realised that the agents and constituents of the “Change” are counterfeit and not real.

Let me repeat it loud and clear: the major problem of the Nigerian electorates is gullibility. Bad leaders do not produce themselves. Gullibility of the electorates produces bad leaders. The electorates allow religion, ethnicity, regionalism and greed to make them gullible. And, the politicians and political leaders cash into this to get their votes from them.

The 2019 elections are around the corner once again. The politicians are working hard to sell another commodity to the people. They have now begun, expectedly, with defections from one political party to another.

My worry is that the Nigerian electorates may never learn their lessons from the politics of defection and deception being played by politicians over and over again. They are enslaved by gullibility.

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War said:

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves.”

This is true of the Nigerian electorates. They are gullible without even knowing it. How then can they be freed from the shackles of politicians?

Until the electorates free themselves from the chains of their gullibility, they will continue to produce bad leaders that will further enslave them.

And, if the electorates continue in this way, good governance will remain a mirage in Nigeria.