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GODFARTHERISM IN NIGERIA POLITICS KWARA STATE AS A CASE STUDY (1999-2013)
Godfatherism based on a patron-client relationship has emerged as a phenomenon hindering participation, political security and peace as it torpedoes the consolidation of democracy since Nigeria’s fourth republic commenced in 1999. Widespread political violence created insecurity whenever the godsons failed to fulfil pledges made to their godfathers especially on the allotment of appointments and sometimes sharing of state resources amongst others in many states of the country. It made politics violent and extractive rather than being peaceful and productive. In Oyo-State, Chief Lamidi Adedibu, an Ibadan based octogenarian was the godfather of politics in the State because of his ability to ensure victory for many seekers of elective offices in the State. From 2003 to 2007, violence and political insecurity pervaded the political space especially in Ibadan consequent upon the broken relationship between Chief Adedibu and Senator Rashidi Ladoja after the latter reneged on promises made to his godfather on becoming the governor of Oyo State in 2003.
This paper examines Chief Adedibu as political godfather and the variables that sustained him within the context of the theory of economy of affection espoused by Goran Hyden. The study was carried out in three out of the five Local Governhment Areas in Ibadan metropolis using mainly qualitative methods of indepth interviews with purposively selected respondents considered germane to the objectives of the study including late Chief Lamidi Adedibu. This paper concludes that Adedibu’s patronage system of politics was pyramidal with him on the top; while the poor, lumpens and thugs, members of the transport union and local politicians constituted the core of his dependants and vectors of violence. The conflict arising from godfatherism has become one of the greatestproblems facing the Nigerian political system. The holder of the politicalposition 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 s) demand, he is eventually impeached from political office. In Nigeria s fourth republic dispensation (1999 till date), the Saraki-Lawal face off, Nwobodo Nnamani quagmire, Adedibu Ladoja crisis, Uba-Ngige saga and all other godfathers prot g 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 inNigeria politics is as a result of societal decay, which has encroached intospheres 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. The discourse of godfatherism had so much influenced the socio-economic and political life of the nation especially in the fourth republic. It had gained much attention at the present time as a result of its need forms of articulation. It has become almost impossible for an individual to hold political office either by appointment or election without patronizing a godfather because of their power and influence. In the light of this, this long essay critically examined how poverty, ignorance and corruption contributed to the emergence of godfatherism and the role of the godfathers in carrying out their biding such as, arson, maiming, bribing, abduction and all kings of corrupt styles in other to win elections for their selfish enrich. The study also examined the consequences of this in the fourth republic.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Politicians in Nigeria should wear a human face in pursuing their political ambition. Politics in Nigeria has become an investment where the investors are set to make profit at all cost, as a result, political brutality is pervading the society. This set of politicians has been in their usual status quo since our democratic dispensation. The mirage is a holocaust that is grinding our political system; their political diagnosis is imperative. When in recent times, In turning up the political computer of politicians; I browse through their profiles, I saw infected files which cannot be diagnosed, the corrupt nature of these files is not responding to anti-virus, I tried scanning the computer, yet the computer is neither ready for scanning nor want to crash. We need a political virologist to scan our political computer. The quest to hold on to power by these politicians as our foremost leaders is on the increase; their enthusiasm is as constant as K is constant in Mathematical Variables. Their political bruhaha, political gbagha, political oppression and political victimization are on a high frequency. Every politician wants to become a political godfather. Godfather, is as old as politics itself, godfather is even in the church, in the case of Christian dom, the godfather assists the godson to attain the level of a responsible person in the society. In other words, he teaches the godson the norms and values of the society and inculcates in him a better character.
Meanwhile, political godfather is another ball game all together; it is the opposite. The political godfather usually brings the political godson to the lime light of politics. He (godfather) introduces him (godson) to the people that matters. However, the godson having successfully clinched the seat with the support of their godfather, quietly wants to sideline their political godfather. This maybe, as a result of over lordship, by their godfather, wanting to dominate the Government; giving directives and controlling the administration.
The Fourth Republic in Nigeria has witnessed these ugly trends from inception soon after the Governors were swear-in in 1999. The political actors and their estrange political godfather were in the verge of contending who is who in their state. Prominent among the warlords in the states are Senator Modu Ali Sheriff vs Governor Mala Kachalla of Borno; Dr. Olusola Saraki vs Governor Mohammed Lawal (Kwara State); Senator Jim Nwobodo vs Governor Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State); Chief Emeka Offor vs Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Anambra State); and Alhaji Abubakar Rimi vs Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State. These are various political godfatherism syndrome in most states in Nigeria, while other states are reconvening, settling their differences and reshaping their polity in a democratic direction, Anambra State actors and boss are bent on saddling the people with a truncating government. Indeed the people of Anambra state have not reap from democracy.
The political tussle in Anambra state started with Governor Mbadinuju and Emeka Offor. What appeared to be a minor disagreement between Governor Chinwoke Mbadunuju and Chief Emeka Offor who reportedly bankrolled Mbadinuju’s governorship ambition, later turned out to be a major face-off, which threatened the soul of the state. The crises eventually hamstrung the governor and in the process, he incurred the wrath of other segments of the state.
The situation was worsened by his inability to regularly pay civil servants and teachers who were owed for nearly a year. This led to a strike action by the workers. As a result, the Anambra State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) became critical of the governor and gave him an ultimatum to pay salary arrears or resign forthwith. In the process of the agitation, the chairman of Anambra NBA was assassinated along with his wife.
Governor Mbadinuju made the people of Anambra state to experience demonstration of craze instead of democracy. The education system was a mess, social life and basic amenities were not met for the people of the state, the street of Onitsha was littered with rubbish and abject neglect, Mbadinuju did not put the people to heart rather he concentrated on his political godfather. Mbadinuju should not think of vying for any political position for now. What fathom Mbadunuju and Offor have to give in destroying the future of some youths during his administration; youths that were involved in making cheap money by hawking on the streets when they where supposed to be in school. Mbadinuju and Offor should apologise to the people of Anambra state for hijacking the democratic process during his (Mbadinuju) regime and beg for forgiveness like Chris Uba for rigging election.
The vicious circle has being on the foist since the inception of Governor Chris Ngige and is estranged political godfather Chris Uba, Why is it that Anambra state don’t want to learn from its past mistakes, there is a saying; “ it is better to learn from your mistake” mistake is bound to happen, the ability to learn out of the mistake and act positively makes it productive.
The tussle between Gov. Chris Ngige and Chris Uba has cost the state a lot of destruction of Government property, that were built with taxpayer’s money, the scenario was clear as the people behind the scene were known and nothing has been done. The crisis has caused a lot in the polity of the nation and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in particular. The said crisis led to the resignation of the party former chairman Audu Ogbeh that led to the appointment of the current chairman Ahmadu Ali. The first assignment by the current chairman was the expulsion of the duo from the party, could this solve the problem? Chris Uba is pitching tent with the party elders to remove Ngige from Government house. While the embattled Governor is trying to impress the people of Anambra state with developmental projects that will better the life of the people. In a discussion, I had with one “Anambarian”, he said “ Ngige has tried, continuing, successive government has not been able to do what Ngige has done, the embattled Governor has tarred the road to our village, schools are in section and to compliment issues, salaries are paid promptly amidst the crisis” with this statement, one will be convinced, that the people do not have any grudge against the governor (Ngige).
Anambra State, which happens to be an industrial state, has been perturbed with godfatherism syndrome, a canker warm that has eaten deep into the polity and economic situation of the state. I enjoined the “Anambarian” to watchout carefully ahead 2007 to rid the polity of the state from claws of godfatherism. Godfatherism is one of the pandemic that is endangering our polity. It compels elected official to siphone funds made for public infrastructural development to private accounts, thereby jeopardizing and mortgaging the future of the citizens; Nigerians should resist this ugly trend.
As Nigerians, we are saddled with the collective responsibility of effecting change in the politics of our nation. We believe in change that is inevitable. Some school of taught, sees politics as a dirty game, while others believe politics in Nigeria as a dirty. Idealist believe that, in as much as Nigeria politics is dirty or what ever it’s being called; envelop with greed, and self aggrandizement, there will always be a positive change and a better future for our country, Nigeria. Why is it that, in Nigeria, politics is called dirty game? Can’t we change it with all urgency? We should suggest and make a forum to liberalize the political ingrate and kleptomania from the state of political alsoran. Nigerians are ambitious to seeing a resurrected economy that will define the truthfulness and oneness of our bedeviled society. We have been patience, ambivalent in response to issues, politically, socially and economically. Our amity in the face of this stress, travail and anguish will redeem us from the evil geniuses (Dubious politicians). The concept of godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigeria politics. Godfathers are generally defined as men who have the power personally to determine both who gets nominated to contest elections and who wins in the election.
In the past, Nigerian society had fewer criminals that the judicial systems attempted to contend with in recent times, our judicial systems cannot contend with such because Nigerian society is building criminals at rapid pales in the late 20th and early 21st centuries through democratization and militarization practices, when the governing systems failed to deliver the other takes over. In democracy one way that regime is breeding criminals is through godfather’s, godfatherims is old fashion enterprise that circulates around nation with different names or headings for centuries. Godfathers in Nigeria is a topic that has not been given enough attention until recent coup that exposed Chief Chris Uba, estranged political Godfather of Chief Dr. Chris Ngige among political criminals that is behind elections or selection of most of our state governors and other law makers. Apparently it appears majority of our state governors are financed by such caliber of person and for those financed by their godfathers get into offices now have huge power in respective states. They assigned civil services and or political positions to who are not of the people but people of the privates.
The role of education in politics cannot be over emphasized. To be effective, civil education must be realistic, it must address the central truth about political life. The American Political Science Association (A.P.S.A) recently formed a task force on Civil Education. Its statement of purpose calls for more realistic teaching about the nature of political life and a better understanding of “the complex elements of the art of the possible”. The A.P.S.A. reports faults existing civil education because all too often it seems unable to counter the belief that in politics, one either wins or loses, and to win; means getting everything at once, now. The sense that politics can always bring another chance to be heard to persuade and perhaps to gain part of what one wants, is lost, political education today seems unable to teach the civil engagement the slow patient building of first coalitions and then majorities can generate social change (Carter & Elshtan, 1997).
A message of importance therefore is not politics need not, indeed must not, be a zero, sum game. The idea that “winner takes all” has no place in a democracy because if losers lose all they will opt out of the democratic game. Sharing is essential in a democratic society, the sharing of power, of resources and of responsibilities. Those skills and the will or necessary trait of private and public characters are the products of a good civil election.
1.2 PROBLEM OF THE STUDY
Should money and influence be the only determinant of an election in Nigeria political content?
Must politician join any confraternity or go into feeble and illegal agreement with powerful rich mobile Nigeria before they could contest for an elections?
God fatherism and politics will not bring about significant growth/development economically, socially and politically.
The doctrine of separation of power and the theory of rule of law is not best assured.
The fundamental human right is well protested as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were raised to guide the study.
What patterns do godfatherism take in Nigeria political system?
What factors promote godfatherism in Nigerian political system?
What are the general effects of god fatherism in politics in Nigeria?
How does education influence Nigerian politics and politicians in relation to godfatherism?
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate the concept of God fatherism, how it influences Nigeria politics and politician and the role of education in Nigeria. How godfatherism is firmly and deeply principle in contemporary Nigeria policies.
This study also examined the role of education in Nigeria politics. How civic education in a democracy is educating government. This study is to look at political godfatherism and its implication on the Nigerian political process looking at some states. How political office holders are elected into public offices will be considered and to know why they do not perform particularly as they enjoy the support of their political mentors.
I would try to mention why these godfathers are very powerful to extent that they circumvent political and legal process to suit their interest or that of their candidate using the police and judiciary and other illegitimate means.
The study will also try to let us know why political godfathers and their godsons often fight themselves embarrassing citizens of this country, especially as they use undemocratic and crude means to settle their political differences.
How much do women get supported by political godfather and if not, do they not enjoy their support and what does godfatherism portends for the democrat process in Nigeria. It shall also try to make recommendation to preserving and protecting the political process from the over bearing influence of political godfathers.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: godfatherism has no patterns/ forms it take in Nigeria political system.
H1: godfatherism patterns/ forms it take in Nigeria political system.
H0: There are no factors that promote godfatherism in Nigerian political system especially in Kwara ststae.
H1: There are factors that promote godfatherism in Nigerian political system especially in Kwara ststae.
H0: god fatherism has no general effects in politics in Nigeria.
H1: god fatherism has no general effects in politics in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Significance of this study is to investigate the concept (God fatherism) how it influences Nigeria politics and politicians and the role of education in Nigeria politic e.g.
1. Law makers
2. Policy formulators
3. The judiciary
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study will be focused mainly on the impact of godfatherism in Nigeria and politics in the fourth republic. The role of education basically.
1.9 DEFINTION OF TERMS
It is at a point imperative to look at the meaning of godfather or godfatherism, political and process as the case may be for the understanding of the question.
Godfather is a man who promises to help a child and teach him or her Christian values. And in another definition godfathers is said to be the head of a criminal organization or mafia group. [Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Third Edition pg.611]
Political:- Connected with the government or public affairs of a country and its relation with other country.[I bid pg. 1089]
Process: A series of natural developments or events that produce gradual change or a series of actions that someone takes in order to achieve a particular result. [I bid pg. 1124]
Godson: – A boy that a godparent promises to help and to teach Christian values [I bid pg.611]
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