Godfatherism: The Bane Of Nigerian Politics
Demola Akinjo is a philanthropist whose fame has risen beyond the shores of his community.
He has become quite popular at home and abroad.
He has put smiles on the faces of many families by sponsoring the education of their children.
Demola has done so much for his community in the area of providing basic amenities including: building clinics, sinking boreholes and fixing bad roads.
So it is only natural for him to aspire to become the chairman of his local government in order to do more.
Ordinarily, one would think for someone whose has made a lot of personal and financial sacrifices for the community, his political ambition would be an easy peasy but Demola got the shock of his life.
He was told by the leaders of his political party that he needs the endorsement of a godfather to have a shot.
Sadly, Demola's good intentions proved inadequate to get him to the starting line.
This is the situation many aspiring political office holders have found themselves in Nigeria and they have been compelled to forget their ambition.
Concept of Godfatherism
The culture of political godfatherism which pervades the political landscape throughout the six geopolitical zones is the bane of Nigeria’s democracy.
This culture has resulted in the fall of aspirants who would have been great leaders in many states across the country.
The idea that an aspiring candidate’s popularity, acceptability and public goodwill can never take him to victory until he’s anointed has dealt a fatal blow to the concept of good governance.
One of the consequences which is borne out of an incurable desire for all-time relevance in the affairs of a particular domain is that it denies people the right to elect people of their collective choice.
Secondly, those so anointed can never have the political will to subscribe to the whims and caprices of the masses in flagrant violation of the selfish interests of their political godfathers.
So they must perpetually remain subservient to their bosses sometimes for 8 years.
Thirdly, this evil culture obstructs credible electoral process which eventually produces puppets who add no value to the nation’s socio-economically.
The general elections in 2015 could be excused to some extent due to the uncontrollable Buhari Tsunami that swept away the then ruling party, PDP.
But despite that, imposition of unpopular candidates has aided tremendously to the fall of PDP and internal wranglings in the APC.
'Godfather Knows Best'
Godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigeria politics.
These cabal leaders are generally defined as men who have the power to highhandedly determine who gets nominated and who wins.
Godfatherism in Nigeria is an issue that has not been given enough attention until 1999 when Chris Uba, estranged political Godfather of Anambra State Governor Dr. Chris Ngige almost succeeded in making Ngige's deputy Okechukwu Ude the governor by allegedly kidnapping the incumbent.
Chris Uba claimed that he had a gentleman's agreement with Chris Ngige that after some months he would relinquish power to his deputy. Anambra was thrown into a state of turmoil throughout the period it lasted.
Another example that comes to mind is when late strong man of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu had a go with his political son and former governor of Oyo State Rasheed Ladoja.
Ladoja had barely settled down into office when he fell out with Adedibu. It was rumoured that Adedibu, who was greatly instrumental to the emergence of Ladoja as governor wanted the state security vote, a demand Ladoja did not accede to.
Ladoja's unyielding attitude eventually cost him his office as he was 'systematically' impeached by a minority in the state house of assembly. His deputy Adebayo Alao Akala became the biggest beneficiary as he was sworn in as governor.
Even though the Supreme Court intervened and Ladoja was returned as governor, the time and resources wasted during this period were never recovered and the citizens were mostly affected.
It is hoped that the bigwigs in both APC and PDP will come to the realisation that Nigerians are becoming wiser and more politically sophisticated.
They will no longer remain in that tagged docility to allow self-appointed godfathers of certain individuals to impose on them candidates who do not appeal to their choice in 2019.
This is ample warning to those thinking they will forever continue to install their stooges on the corridors of power. Game Over!
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