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Research Article

EEO. 2020; 19(4): 784-799

Conflicting ideologies and defection of members in nigeria’s multi-party system: implications for democracy

Onofere Princewill OKEREKA, Eseoghene Vincent EFEBEH, Ayegbunam Francis IKENGA, Nduka Lucas OLUKA.


Inter-party defection is now a perturbing political culture among members of political parties in Nigeria. This obnoxious phenomenon also refers to as decamping, cross-carpeting or political harlotry has been perceived to be the result of lack of political ideology and internal democracy on the part of the political parties. This has indisputably affected intra-party politics on the one hand and the polity of the country on the other hand. It has also created a credibility problem on the part of the politicians as well as fear of the sustenance of democratic principles in the country. This study, therefore, is an effort to juxtapose the link between conflicting ideologies and defection of members of the multi-party system in the country. The reasons or politics behind inter- party defection and the consequences or implications on the sustenance of the smaller and less-dominant political parties as well as democracy in Nigeria are also of significance considering the large numbers of the Fourth Republic political parties in the country. The study also examined the historical origin of party politics and relates the same to intra and inter-party conflicts in the country. To achieve these, the study adopted the combination of Historical and Exploratory research designs of data. The study adopted the Frustration-Aggression theory to discuss and explain the phenomenon of conflicting ideologies of politicians and their inexplicable party defections. The study found that lack of internal democracy in the political parties and lack of differences in ideologies among all political parties in Nigeria are among reasons responsible for these defections and dearth of democratic values in Nigeria. Among other things the study recommends that the fourth republic political parties in Nigeria should as a matter of urgency rise up to the expectations of the citizenry through coherent and effective political ideologies, as well as ensures that they emphasize the promotion of internal democratic principles.

Key words: Defection, political ideology, manifesto, conflict, political party, multi-party system, democracy, nigeria.

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