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Title page
Table of contents

1.1       Introduction
1.2       Statement of Research Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Research Assumptions
1.6       Significance of the study
1.7       Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.8       Theoretical Framework
1.9       Research Methodology
1.10 Literature Review
1.11 Party Switching: A Conceptual Framework
1.12 Organisation of Chapters

2.1       Historical Evolution of Party Switching in Nigeria
2.1.1 The Colonial Experience
2.1.2 Party Switching in the First Republic
2.1.3 Party Switching in the Second Republic
2.1.4 Party Switching in the Third Republic
2.1.5 Party Switching in the Fourth Republic

3.1       Introduction
3.2       The Dynamics of Party Switching in Nigeria
3.3       Factors that Promotes Party Switching in Nigeria
3.4       Implications of Party Switching for Democratic Consolidation

4.1       Summary
4.2       Conclusion
4.3       Recommendations





Party  switching  or  defection  has  assumed  a  preposterous  dimension  since

Nigeria  returned  to  democratic  governance  in  1999.  Defection  has  indeed

become a routine and part and parcel of political flesh in Nigeria. The spate of

party defection has not only threatened the country’s fledgling democracy, but

has also rubbished its underlying philosophies. It has further resulted into gross

and acute democratic instability in which the country is currently enmeshed. In

short,  party  switching  in  Nigeria  constitutes  one  of  the  strong  currents  of

reversal  that  the  country  is  contending  with.  The  nation’s  newspapers  are

always inundated with reports on party switchers and how they are celebrated at

the state Houses of Assembly and the National Assemblies. Party switching

aptly described  as  “political  prostitution”  is  fast  becoming  the  hallmark  of

Nigeria’s democracy.

In part, because the political act of changing parties goes by so many different terms, studies of party switching are difficult to track down and are yet to acquire status as a subfield in party politics (Janada, 2009). Despite this, Desposato (2006: 62-63) has pointed out the benefits of studying party switching: switching warrants study for three reasons; First frequent switching makes it clear that parties do matter. Otherwise, politicians would not bother to switch. Second, and more importantly, switching provides a unique window on politicians’ underlying preferences; including their incentives for belonging to political parties... Finally, switching poses a normative problem for representation in mass democracies. Parties are the primary mechanism linking voters and politicians in modern mass democracies.

Apart from the benefits of studying party switching, researchers have demonstrated kin interest in the factors that precipitate defection and the impact of defection on the stability and consolidation of democracy. Other questions that really bogged the minds of researchers are whether defection is democratic, undemocratic or anti-democratic and the workability or effectiveness of anti-defection laws in curbing party switching and its attendant negative consequences.

Traditionally, according to McElroy (2003), party switching is generally viewed as undemocratic behaviour or an “aberration or an indicator of a weak, ill-informed party system, a phenomenon associated with newly emerging democracies or unstable one.

However, the general view or reason for switching seems to suggest an autocratic trend and growing tendency towards a one party system in Nigeria. As a result, the aim of this study is not only to come up with an explanatory framework on party switching in Nigeria, but most importantly to critically analyze and proffer workable solutions to the problems of party switching which has become an increasingly permanent feature in the Nigerian democratic experience......

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