According to Hilke Rebenstorf in his work on “Political Interest: Its Meaning and General Development” in terms of political sociology, political interest is the main component of political motivation, a variable indicating ability in ideological conceptualization, which is essential for participation in the democratic process (Klingemann 1979). Thus, political interest is a necessary precondition for the desired characteristics of a responsible and democratic citizen: critical loyalty, ability, and readiness for political participation.
Political interest leads people to weigh ideological positions, to assess their pros and cons, and finally to make a commitment and achieve political identity. Without political interest, political identity stays diffuse: not knowing what to think, not knowing what to believe, not knowing where one’s own commitments are.
In the Nigerian context,, politicians defect from one political party to another, when their political interest is no longer guaranteed.
The leadership of a political party is also very critical, it either shapes or destabilizes the structure or alliances within the party. It also demoralises the membership. It is always difficult to show complete loyalty in a party, when the leadership cannot be trusted and this is why strategic political parties should be meticulous and conscious of the kind of leaders that are elected to lead a party.
The lack of transparency in the processes of political parties are part of the major reasons why politicians defect. One of the major areas where this is witnessed are in party primaries. It therefore becomes a challenge for some politicians when their aspirations in a particular political party is either scuttled due to the issues of imposition of candidates or structures that will not support them.
I had been a PDP member since 1999 and had fought ferociously even at the risk of appearing fanatic in defence of the parties actions and perceived inactions. Having tried and lost in my bid to clinch the PDP Federal House of Representatives ticket to represent Owerri Federal Constituency, and being unsatisfied with the manner candidates were anointed, i stepped back from joining the race and defected to clinch the ticket of the AA (Action Alliance) to run on my self cognisance since the AA was at then, just a briefcase party without much of an actual structure until Uche Nwosu, Rochas former chief of staff and in-law stormed the party after failing to clinch the APC ticket. His entry into the party threw me off balance as I was a known fierce critic of the Rochas maladministration. I was forced to run election without aligning myself with the Ugwumba campaign organisation/ the Rochas APC faction which quickly populated the party structure. I practically ran election with the support of few marginalised elements of the original AA who were cast aside by the Rochas/Uche Nwosu APC entrants, and other structures across parties in the federal constituency. Before I joined the AA, I made extensive enquiries and i was told clearly by the leadership that Rochas had had nothing to do with the party since 2007. My preference for the party was based on the fact that it was the second party on the ballot paper and very easy for voters to find.
I go on the record to state that i did not receive any support, both material or financial from the AA for my election. The party even denied me the mapped out funds for candidates running under the party. I was treated as an outcast and totally sidelined. On the Election day, APC/AA leaders in the federal constituency were instructed to signal their members not to vote for me.
Having lost election due to the AA/APC Rochas confusion, unpopularity of the party, and mostly it’s affiliation to Rochas and Uche Nwosu, and also having strategically and less sentimentally gauged the political climate in the country and in the state, I have finally decided to pitch my tent with the APC and to join the authentic APC faction in the state, the Senator Hope Uzodinma camp (CAMPHOPE).
In view of current ever-present realities of our national politics, i have schooled myself, not to play opposition politics this dispensation. I have been bashed and berated for taking this decision, but this decision i have taken after due consultation with my army of supporters in the AA and across political parties is final. I call on all my supporters and all those who voted for me and who believe in me, to trust my decision and let’s join Senator Hope Uzodinma to dislodge the dynastic government incumbent in Imo state and to work with the federal government for the betterment of the state. Consider the last 8 years of APC as mediocre as the next 4 years will be better administered and more productive.
Some people wonder why i decided not to go along with the zoning sentiments of the owerri zone, my answer is very simple.
One serious question facing all of us today is whether it is helpful or destructive to zone our state governorship position? It is a salient challenge, yet it presents such enormous implications for our state development and existence that the question must be tackled in a resolute way.
Zoning is an undemocratic formula used by political parties to share power according to loosely-defined geographic ‘zones’ that are neither clearly explained nor sanctioned by the electorates. It is used to goad our citizens and railroad them into perpetual subservience to political elites. Zoning has become so tightly integrated into our political structure that it is being applied to all levels of representation today and it has only led us to mediocrity as we have to accept whoever the zone presents whether acceptable or not.
The periodic restriction of political opportunity to selected groups in a political entity, no matter the intention behind it, is dangerous and divisive. It promotes mediocre performance among the elected, hinders community development and becomes a catalyst for rigging elections. At this point of our democratic development, our focus should be on selecting the best, the most strategic and the best capable, magnanimous, unifying, mild tempered and sagacious hand to run the affairs of our state and lead us through to the path of progress.
My assessment of Senator Hope Uzodinma despite all the false propaganda being bandied around is that he is humane, generous, sagacious, tactical, go getting, magnanimous, mild tempered, strategic, street smart, wise and not overtly materialistic. I call on ndi imo despite all that is currently being done by desperate camps to malign his person to shun propaganda and vote en masse for APC on the 9th of March. God forbid that Imo state should play opposition or zoning politics in 2019. We need to be properly aligned with the federal government for maximum yield of the dividends of democracy.
Thank you and God bless Imo state.
Duruebube Chima “Oblong” Nnadi-Oforgu.