The widely held belief among many Nigerians that politics is a dirty game may not be entirely correct. Politics for all the dilemmas it presents and all its ills is a game of numbers and for everything it is not, it is a game of intrigues. Those who play it find it interesting, intriguing and necessary for the survival of any state. Thus, they ignore the fact that it very easily turns deadly.
The average Nigerian politician is often on the losing side of a career-long battle with political wanderlust – or what could be more accurately described as political prostitution.
The swing is always from one party to the other and from one divide of the argument to the other and usually it traverses seasons. The jump is usually so swift and so sudden that there is scarcely any time to take political stock with supporters always caught cold, and torn between staying put where they are and jumping ship.
The question of defection is indeed a very thorny one in Nigeria`s political circles and each time it happens, many always call for the political heads of elected public officers who defect.
Defection in politics is mostly a product of the need for political survival. Since self-preservation is one of man`s primary instincts and being that politics is largely a game of interests whether it be self-interest or public interest, it makes a load of sense for politicians to jump ship once the ship is breaking up. Indeed, the Nigerian constitution forbids what is commonly known as cross-carpeting except on some grounds clearly prescribed by the constitution.
Indeed, even among politicians, many consider cross-carpeting to be inherently wrong, a sign of betrayal and even cowardice which comes from any lack of ideology whatsoever. Others just shrug and say it is part of the game as change is the only constant thing in life.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, it is obvious that many politicians are already calculating and strategizing on what their next moves will be. For long, the game of politics in Nigeria has always been about survival. So, many politicians are already looking out for the best camps in which to pitch their tents.
Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in many ways a man of destiny. It was destiny that took him from the obscurity of a university tenure to the office of Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State from where he became Governor and then Vice President and eventually President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Something about Mr. Jonathan`s life has always spoken about a man highly favoured by fate.
In 2015, as a wave of discontent roiled over Nigeria about the failures of Mr. Jonathan`s administration, the All Progressives Congress which was then in opposition rode a tidal wave of public anger to power. Mr. Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had no response.
In seven years of the APC-led administration which would be eight by the time the 2023 general elections come around, Nigerians have been to hell and back many times over. It has not had as much to do with Nigerians slurping the soup of grinding poverty as it has had to do with Nigerians skating on extremely thin ice simply because they now have to look over their shoulders every now and then because terrorists now operate freely in many parts of the country.
That many Nigerians look back to the plunder-plagued days of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan with overwhelming nostalgia loudly proclaim just how badly the current administration has bungled a historic opportunity to steer the ship of Nigeria away from stormy waters.
When Mr. Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election, his concession of defeat and the great dignity he showed were hailed by many not just as worthy examples but as important moves which kept the country from disintegration.
So, in the last seven years, Mr. Jonathan has continued to play a role as an elder statesman. However, it now appears he left something at Aso Rock which he is desperate to retrieve. After months of speculation which included frontal denials from Mr. Jonathan himself, the former president recently decamped to the All Progressives Congress finally leaving no one in doubt of his intentions to become President next year.
It would appear a pipe dream, one dead on arrival. But more damning and damaging for Mr. Jonathan is that by moving to the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party with elections so close at hand, he has set himself up for a fall which would see him embarrassingly lose what little goodwill and credibility his actions since leaving office in 2015 garnered for him.
It is also doubtful as to why the former president seeks to return to Aso Rock. His time in office did not especially leave Nigerians with fond memories. It explains why many of the votes cast for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 were not an expression of confidence in what he was coming to do but in protest against Mr. Jonathan for the lurch the country was in then.
It is not clear who is advising Mr. Jonathan just yet. But it would appear that whoever it is wants to ruin his legacy and leave what little is left of his reputation in tatters.As they lead him by the nose towards his political grave, Mr. Jonathan must remember that it is not out of excitement that the spotted hyenas laugh.