Subscribe Now

* You will receive the latest news and updates on your favorite celebrities!

Trending News

Global News Update

Godfatherism on Nigerian Politics and Administration

Godfatherism on Nigerian Politics and Administration 

-Patrick Osatohanmwen Oviasuyi

The conflict arising from godfatherism has become one of the greatest problems facing the Nigerian political system. The holder of the political position becomes a stooge to his godfather because he that pays the piper dictates the tune. By the time the godson refuses to meet their (godfather) demand, he is eventually impeached from political office.

In Nigeria fourth republic dispensation (1999 till date), the Saraki-Lawal face off, Nwobodo Nnamani quagmire, Adedibu Ladoja crisis, Uba-Ngige saga and all other godfathers crises in Nigeria do not only portray great danger to our democratic experiments, but also on the very essence and validity of our existence as a nation. The billions of naira expended by Nigerian godfathers for bankrolling the elections of their godsons have totally monetized elections in Nigeria which automatically disqualifies men of honour, character and integrity from holding elected public positions. The issue of godfatherism in Nigeria politics is as a result of societal decay, which has encroached into spheres of the Nigerian polity. It is therefore suggested that godfatherism should not be treated as a party affair, but should be offered political, social and legal treatment by the government and the stakeholders in Nigeria.

There has been a lot of crises in Nigerian politics and Administration–a crisis of confidence in our elected officials, a lost of faith in our democratic government and an increasing frustration at government, and more also, an increasing frustration at the irrelevance of individual’s vote in our political process. All these crises are crises caused by the unholy alliance of godfatherism (Ikejiani, 2006). This study is an appraisal of godfatherism in Nigerian politics and administration with reference to the problems which includes–creating a political process in which vested interest predominate, and the public interest is forgotten and influencing the outcome of public policies to the interest of few (godfathers) and to the detriment of the Nigerian populace. This study recommends that if godfatherism must be stamped out of our political and administrative systems, corruptive tendencies which increases the financial base of the godfathers by creating a wide range of problems in our politics and administration must be tackled head-on because they use such moneys to place their godsons and proteges in various positions of government. The study concluded that there is the need for an increased confidence in the duly elected officials and also increase faith in the democratization process. Electorates should be allowed to vote for their preferred candidates during elections without intimidation by political thugs who are part of the instruments of godfatherism.

In Nigeria today, the activities of godfathers have been on the increase and it is a very sad, irony that a country like Nigeria through which trillions of petroleum dollars have passed since, the 70’s have the most miserable infrastructures, medical services, educational system and standards. The worst are unemployment, deplorable roads and non-existent transportation system.

The living standard of the average Nigerians does not reflect the oil wealth of the country. The country is quite below in the world’s poverty marginal index because as at 2005, 70.8 percent of the population was estimated to be living below poverty line of $1 per day. (UN Human Development Report, 1990-2005).
The above-mentioned crises and the problems of confidence in our political system offer an opportunity for advocates of new ideas. The barriers to true democratic participation in the political process are serious, landscaping and deeply ingrained. To the extent that our system of political democracy “works” in most instances it works, only for a very small group of the citizenry the “godfathers” (Ikejiani: 2006). Godfather in this sense means, that man who has enormous resources at his disposal with little or no credibility, while godfatherism is the process by which an individual establishes links with a given institutional hierarchy in the expectation of favoured treatment.

In Nigeria today, money has become the medium of political participation. A group of wealthy individuals (otherwise known as godfathers) has taken hold of our politics and administration and as a result, we are faced with what can be described as money-based politics and administration, thereby resulting to money -biased policies. It is the individuals and interest groups with money that invest in political office holders and use their money to gain access to elected officials who wield so much power in our politics and administration today. Over the years, while attention was diverted to the power and influence of the elected officials, the role played by individuals, group sponsors, and godfathers have received insufficient attention until recently.

It should be noted that the primary aim of godfathers is the development of self and not the electorate, community or nation. The godfather maintains a parasitic and selfish relationship with his godson and community, not only is the interests of the godson and community abandoned in fulfillment of those of the godfather but the godson and community are coerced to work and make sacrifices toward the realization of the supreme interest of the godfather.

(Onwuzuruigbo: 2007). This form of godfatherism is oppressive malevolent and has found expression in the realm of modern politics, governance and administration in Nigeria. Thus, the emergent notion of godfatherism in politics, administration and elections portrayed the political godfather as a mercenary politician who is willing to provide mentorship to his godson to the extent that the latter could be used to expand and consolidate the power base of the godfather as well as entrench the parasitic relationship the godfather maintains with the state.

The above category of godfathers are the likes of Chris Uba, the caucus leader in Anambra State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the man who has reduced godfatherism to an metaphor for capital investment in Anambra State. In his words “it is not just the governor and his deputy, there are also three senators, 10 members of House of Representatives and 30 members of the House of Assembly of the State, I sponsored them, I put them there”. This is the
first time in the history of Anambra State that one single individual would be putting every
political office holder in the state in power.
The experiences of godfatherism in both states have resulted in wanton destruction of goods and properties worth millions of Naira. In Anambra in particular, Uba hired and mobilized thugs and some members of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NAURTO) to cause pandemonium and insecurity in the state. In the process, government buildings and properties in Awka and Onitsha were destroyed. The Government House, Deputy Governor’s Office, Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission’s office etc were all looted and burnt by thugs (Odivwri:p2).

In Oyo State, Adedibu had stormed the NUJ press centre and supervised the beating of anti-Adedibu’s politicians and journalists.

Related posts