Godfatherism (Nigeria) is a form of political corruption in which an influential member of a party assists another person in the climb to leadership. Godfatherism has been in existence in time immemorial tracing back to the first republic and days of military dictatorship. It wasn’t as worse as this then because there were coup plotters.
Godfatherism as at today have become Agbada and Fila in Nigeria political atmosphere. Since 1999, it has become part and parcel of all politicians in Nigeria. Each political parties has their own godfather as back up during election. These are the people they run to in order to convince the electorates or to promote their interest. The two major gladiators of godfatherism in Nigeria are ; Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (The Ebora of Owu) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (The Jagaban Borgu).
These two godfathers can singlehandedly decide or choose whom to rule the electorates and this will leave others political will and right subdue. Though, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is not as active in politics as his counterpart but he is still a force to reckon with in Nigeria’s politics. Other gladiators include Bukola Saraki, Chris Uba, Tony Anenih and so on.
Godfatherism has become an embodiment in Nigeria politics in such a way that only few politicians can achieve success without the stalwart support of godfathers. Political leadership have been sold to the highest bidders, as whopping sums of money are required for electoral manipulation. Do or die politicians who want to win election embraces the service of the mafias (Godfathers).
CAUSES OF GODFATHERISM
The concept of godfatherism is synonymous to intermediary, mentoring, benevolence, support and sponsoring. Any political aspirants who want to vye for a political office needs to run to them because they possess considerably means to unilaterally determine who get a party’s ticket to run for an election and who wins in electoral contest. Godfathers are like kingmakers, coach, mentor, and principal of any political offices in
Godfatherism has become a cankerworm that has eaten deeply into the roots of Nigeria’s politics. Aspirants can no longer successfully run for a public offices without the help of godfathers. Election can only be won base on the political gladiators or mafias supporting the aspirants. Godfatherism in Nigeria is a new version of “Aristocracy” whereby few elites decide the fate of Nigerian politics.
DEMERITS OF GODFATHERISM
From my own perspective, godfatherism is a political assassination. Due to the overbearing influence of the political godfathers on political office aspirants, they are been robbed or deprive of their political independence. They will totally become subservient to their godfathers. Godfatherism will influence the socioeconomic and political affairs of a nation. It will not bring any development economically, politically and socially.
Corrupt practices will be the order of the day because the godfathers will want their godson to listen to whatever they say or want. They will make sure they accrue the total money spent on their godsons. They will be the one to appoints ministers, commissioners in any bureaucracy and whom to be given highest position. Should the protege of these godfathers fail to fulfil their promises to them or if there is any schism between both parties, impeachment follows suit because they will find a way to manipulate and sabotage the efforts of their protege.
In the late 90’s to early 2000’s the political conflictin Anambra between Chris Uba – Chris Ngige, Oyo state; Lamidi Adedibu – Rasheed Ladoja, the one between Tony Anenih – Lucky Igbinedion are examples of godfathers and godsons riff. Lest I forget, the power tussle in Lagos state is the trending issue. The incumbent governor of Lagos state Excellency Akinwunmi Ambode has lost favor in the sight of his godfather Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Permit me to use this statements ‘Collect and give’ because sold will be an understatement. His political right has been given to the favored Jide Sanyaolu Sanwo-olu.
Why is this done? He reshuffle his cabinet and fails to follow the legacy of the Asiwaju. The governor also went as far to sell his political right by saying ‘Who am I to speak when Jagaban has spoken’. This statement degrade the reputation of the governor.
Godfatherism kills the desire of those who have the mind to work in the state because professionals, ideas driven minded and others who don’t have access to godfathers are not given the chance to develop the state through their ideas.
In conclusion, godfatherism can only end when the desire to attain or run for political offices is not a do or die affairs.