Party Defection Is About Conscience and Interests

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                               Gov.Matawalle is Like Gov.JimJustice.



Gov. BelloMatawalleGov. Jim Justice

Bello Muhammad Matawalle is the current Governor of Zamfara State, Nigeria. He contested under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to become a governor. He recently defected to the All-Progressives Congress (APC), and now the PDP is asking the court tothrow him outhis seat over the defection.

Let us lookat the same sorts of issues in America especially when we know that the Nigerian constitution borrowed from the constitution of United States of America, at least in spirit.

Governor Jim Justice ofthe State of West Virginiabegan his political career as a Democrat, he switched to the Republican Party a few months after taking office in 2017 as a Democrat Governor, and declared his support for President Donald Trump, a Republican.

Switching political parties, changing from one political party to another party—is to some extent a breach of faith for one’s original party but fundamentally it about one’sconscience, conviction, and interests of one’selectorate.

I still recall vividly in the United States when the West Virginia Governor Justice announced a party switch in a surprise rally appearance with former President Donald Trump in Huntington, West Virginia.

He said, “Today, I will tell you, with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”  He remains the Governor.( ).

In fact, the West Virginia Republicans were caught totally off-guard, and he made the public announcement while the State Republican Chairman was out of the country on his honeymoon when the Democrat party learned of Justice’s decision.

In 2009, an immensely popular and powerful Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched after 40 years in the Republican party to the Democratic Party during the Barack Obama presidency.

In all progressive constitutional nations, voters and politicians periodically switch party affiliations when the individual thinks their beliefs are no longer at par with their original party, after coming to a personal decision that their thinking, emotions, and beliefs are becoming more deeply entrenched with an opposite part. Switching party affiliations occurs in situations for example, when politicians are more divided than ever in national politics, and their beliefs are more deeply entrenched in new interests. While switching can be due to thoughts of personal advancement, inner satisfaction, and motivational opportunity, it is solely about the alienable right of expression, association, and movement. Opening one’s mind to different points of views which might give the person a purpose and changed their lives for the better is not a crime. And should not amount to lets ‘crucify him’.

In line with these fundamental rights Matawalle who contested under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to win the governorship has the right to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other party, in his role as a partisan public figure in an elected office.

Psychologically, partisanship is a deep-seated identity which involves attitudes and ideologies, and no legislature or court can change that mindset.

Governor Matawalle holds no ultimate loyalty to any leader of any party anddoes not need the permission of a caretaker committee of any party or blessings of any political leader of both major parties to experience his right of movement, right to association and right of expression.

Certainly, party switching among political leaders may sometimes make one party experience new kind of life and depress the influence and power of the affected party, especially during political seasons. In such environment, just continue to compete.

It appears now thatthere is going to be a legal battle over this cross-carpeting in court, as the PDP is warning the governor that he will losehis seat because he changed parties, but never in the history of America who birthed our current system or in Nigeria has any governor previously lost his seat because he changed parties. It is a force narrative for any party to reason that way.

The power to determine who is elected to political office or keep a political seat ought to be decided by the voter, and not the judiciary.

In a markedly, open, and functional democracy the courts have absolutely no basis to take a case of personal choice, interest, and rights. Both the courts and the parties should learn that issues of balance, partisan or ideological control should be left in the hands of voters, especially when that is the only way Nigeria as a society can steadily realize that vision called functional republic. Is a highly time that this ugly history of the Nigeria courts repeatedly meddling in electoral matters stop. Such judicial misbehavioris bad for democracy.




Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi, an American-based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings especially. In 2011, he introduced the State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and the Nasarawa State University where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi is the founderof the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien University Of Values And Ethics, a mainly E-learning educational environment (TEU). Author of over 36 academic publications/creations, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books.

Prof. Oshodi was born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria to parents with almost 40 years of police/corrections service, respectively. Periodically visits home for scholastic and humanitarian works.