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Political Osmosis: An ill wind that blows nobody any good.
By Sly Edaghese

Published April 18th, 2015


The sweeping victory of General Buhari and his party in the polls has brought in its wake an obnoxious phenomenon known as political osmosis.

As we have osmosis in biology so we have it in politics. Biologically, the term osmosis means a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semi-permeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one. The process ends up equalising the solute concentrations on the the two sides.

Political osmosis, in conceptual terms, is not so much different from biological osmosis. However in practical application and usefulness to man, both are poles apart. While osmosis in the scientific sense could be very useful to man, like in kidney dialysis, political osmosis, for instant, is an affront to true democracy.

I will come to that but let me first of all try to explain what political osmosis is all about.

Loosely defined, political osmosis is a process by which avaricious, fair-weathered, unprincipled politicians,  like jellyfish floating through the pond, move unashamedly from one party to the other, usually from a loosing party to the winning party, in search of 'buttered bread.' What a definition!

Unfortunately, that's the scenario we are  witnessing in the country right now, with politicians all abandoning their parties to pitch their tents with the winning APC!

Surely as I said, fusion of political parties does not augur well for the practice of true democracy. Rather it muzzles it and, in extreme cases, results in a one-party state. And one bad thing with such one-part government is the absence of veritable competition. It is similar to pure monopoly in the market economy, where one company has control over the entire market for the supply of a given product. Such company usually turns docile, uninnovative, uncreative and unmindful to the well-being of the customers. Apart from all this, a one-party system is usually a prelude to the the emergence of a maximum ruler, another word for a dictator.


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Now, is it really to the advantage of the APC that they continue to welcome all these desperate and spineless  political jobbers into their fold, as they are busy doing presently? I doubt. For the country most especially, operating a one-party system, as I'm sure the ongoing fusion is leading us to, is going to be a serious setback in our march to full democratic practice. I think the incoming government should be able to find a way of shutting their doors against these 'flying insects.' If they cannot have the patience to stay back to develop their parties and prepare for future elections, let them resign from politics. We are tired of unprincipled, impatient politicians who behave like the butterflies that hop from flowers to flowers looking for sweet nectar. A good politician shouldn't cheapen himself  this way. He shouldn't  because he lost in one single election(let it even be in 20 elections!) then ditch his party and turn himself into a butterfly! No. A politician worth his salt should be able to take defeat, stand by his party and plan for a better outing the next time around. This helps to deepen party politics.  

I know it's said that victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is an orphan. But that doesn't mean our politicians should all lose their souls and abandon the PDP, just because the party has run into troubled waters this time around.

All this goes to show that we still have much to learn in the operation of party politics. I think the major problem we have is the lack of ideological differences between the major parties. This makes cross-carpeting quite easy since most of the parties are more or less like the two sides of a coin.

In any case, whether or not there are ideological differences between the parties, we all know that there's nothing anyone can do to a politician bent on changing his party. But then I think a law can be made to at least make anyone thinking towards that direction to sit down  and think twice. But I thought there was a law that says that any elected representative who unilaterally left his party that sponsored him into office to join another party automatically would forfeit  his position? I wonder whatever has happened to that provision! I think a law like that would be resuscitated to bring in some sanity to the near madness we are seeing now of politicians hoping from party to party at every drop of the hat!

Last word: We are coming to set an agenda for for the president-elect shortly. Running Nigeria is not for the rockies. That's why the out-going Jonathan administration couldn't fly.


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