Godfatherism has become an attribute in
modern day Nigerian politics which could either foster democratic
stability or retard democratic progress.
This study hopes to bring to a
clearer understanding, the nature and prevailing characteristics of
godfather/godson relationship, the dimension it has assumed in recent
times and how it has shaped and influenced the adult citizenry in the
In order to achieve this
objective, secondary data was applied to get a concrete information on
the damaging dimension that godfatherism has taken. The problems were
observed and it shows that there is high degree of political apathyism
among the Nigerian people who fell that their vote does not count. Even
those with political interest, now conclude that it is who the godfather
wants that actually gets into office. This has gradually affected
From the study, it is recommended
that the evil of godfatherism need to be greatly tackled by all and
sundry, particularly, the government, and civil society in order to
ensure adequate political participation by Nigerians.
The human race
will never see the end of troubles until political power is entrusted to
the lover of wisdom “Plato Republic”. My first approach to the
challenge of this topic, is that we have no choice but to seed to return
to the basic context in which Nigerians see the godfather or the
conflicts as a segment of the political process as well as the figure,
standing against the intellectual extrapolations originating in, and
also sustained by, the media.
Politics as a concept when
considered against its definition by David Easton, could be said to have
been in existence as early as any grouping or organization of people
which is formal or sometimes when informal. The Eastonian definition
posits that politics is the “authoritative allocation of scare values”.
This definition could also be viewed from the point of struggle for the
political power will to authoritatively allocates these values through
the point of influencing the decisions of who gets what, when and how
and finally climaxing at the contestation for the voice of veto on the
implementation of the decisions taken.
However, from the above brief
overview of the concept of politics would reveal some key factors, the
values of resources available to be shared amongst members of the scarce
and cannot sufficiently satisfy the needs of every member of the group.
This is why there is need for an authority which will decide on the
allocation of these scarce resources supposedly in accordance with
priority of importance. Another factor to be printed out is that since
the decision of ‘what’ anyone would get from the system resides at the
points of who makes up the authority of allocation, there is therefore
clashes and disagreements at these decisions points.
If the two above factors are
aggregated, it would become clear that the political process is one that
can be figuratively termed, WAR. And if all these conflicts cannot be
amicably resolved by way of resolutions, then the system is at a point
The trend of ‘political
godfatherism’ which in turn is derived from the maker or sustainers of
an aspect of reality, a people to whom great importance is attached. We
can then see that there is a relationship between godfather and
god-child; godchild being a child for whom one takes responsibility by
making promises to help grow in a sphere of life, and god-fatherism has
become one of the greatest problem facing the Nigerian political system.
It leads to corruption because you have to make returns (he that soweth
bountifully, reapeth bountifully). 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 refuse to meet their
(godfathers) demand, it is eventually impeachment from political offices
(what a man soweth, that he reap).
In the Nigeria fourth republic
dispensation (1999 till date) in question, Anenih – Igbinedion, the
Sariki – Lawal face-off, Nwobodo –Nnamani quagmire, Adebibu – Ladoja
crisis, Uba – Ngige sage and all other godfather – protégé crisis in
Nigeria do not only portend great danger to our democratic experiment,
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. Without doubt, the
phenomenon has assumed this bizarre from since the enthronement of
Nigeria civil rule on May 29, 1999. it started with the acrimony that
existed between chief Anthony Anenih (godfather) and Lucky Igbinedion
(protégé), the governor of Edo State between May 1999, to May 2003.
Chief A. Anenih was purported to have endorsed the candidate of Lucky
Igbinedion against other contenders as the governor of the state and
also bankrolled his campaign expenses. But Lucky Igbinedion failed to
reciprocate the gesture of Anenih by not giving him adequate government
patronage and by acting in ways as loyal ‘godson’. The episode unfolded
itself between Dr. Jim Nwobodo (godfather) and Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani
(protégé), of Enugu State. Though the godson eventually subdued the
godfather after a fierce struggle for the soul of the state. (Essence
Library, Godfatherism in Nigeria Politics, 2004, p. 64).
However, during the second term
of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the phenomenon of godfatherism becomes
more alarming and dangerous to the survival of Nigeria’s fledging
democracy. In Oyo State, South-West Nigeria, Adebidu (godfather) and
Ladoja (protégé) battle for the soul of Oyo, has affected governance in
the State and has reenacted political violence which it was famous for.
At the long run, Ladoja won the State gubernatorial election, defeating
the incumbent governor, Alhaji Lam Adeshina of the Alliance for
Democracy (AD). He was eventually sworn in on 29th May, 2003.
When Adedibu decided to nominate 80 percent of the new commissioners
and special advisers, Ladoja decided to act fast. He tricked Adedibu to
go on a much – needed rest abroad and he made sure the speaker Moroof
Olawale Atilola – led House of Assembly immediately approved his list of
commissioners that was the end of the pact between Adedibu and Ladoja.
The animosity between Adedibu and Ladoja was put into display during the
electioneering campaign for the March 27, 2004 Local Government
Elections. Ladoja was left to his devices until he was consumed through
“impeachment” by the tiger he mounted in 2003. (Celetine Okafor, The
Ladoja Impeachment, January 14, 2006).
Another important episode that
unfold was that of Chris Uba (godfather) and Chris Ngige (protégé), of
Anambra State. After the Oath –taking at the Okija shrine by the godson,
he refused to play ball as arranged, looting, blood letting,
gubernatorial abduction and judicial ambushes has become common place
activities in Anambra State. Until the 16th March, 2006. The
godson (Ngige) was finally removed from office. (Essence Library
Godfatherism in Nigeria politics, 2004, p.65).
This crisis was very much
reflective of how it has always been in the Nigerian polity as it
concerns the political elites in the society. They are high and mighty
and have the ability to have their way given any situation and almost
every crisis that is observed is an after-effect of the musceflexing
amongst them and amongst themselves.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
proceeding piece of introduction to this work, sufficient and hear
exhaustive description and highlights of the various points and forms of
manifestation political conflicts in Nigeria fourth republic, was
attempted. This was done alongside with the brief overview of the
concept “godfatherism” and “political conflicts” in any system, society
or political grouping while also considering the frequency of these
crisis situations in Nigeria as a nation. Haven looked at the forms of
manifestation of the concept. It is proper that we attempt to state the
problem(s) that created a sustaining environment for these crisis to
blew and thrive.
The first problem could be
spotted from the analysis of the above listed political conflicts saga,
is that of widespread corruption which has a partner in unpatriotism.
Quite consistently, Nigeria has been considered to be among the first
five most corruption, fueled by greed for the concept of patriotism,
that has resulted in the average Nigeria seeing governance and
government as a vehicle for exploitation and self-aggrandizement. So
while the people crave for a leadership of lift maintain mercantilism
as their watchword and do everything in the hope of monetary gains and
kickback. Anambra, Oyo, Enugu, Edo, etc. are still a classic example of
The second problem easily
identifiable in the entire case scenario of the Oyo, Anambra, Kwara,
Edo, Borno, etc political conflicts is “Elitism”. While the
consideration of elitism as a problem would not be universally accepted.
Another problem is one that
could be said to be an offshoot of the proceeding problem concept,
political godfatherism. Political godfatherism is a concept that
although is widely in practice in all parts of the world, have assumed
disturbing and worrying dimensions and proportions in the nation today.
It has become pertinent to have strong political godfathers before
considering running for any elective office and even political
appointments. Unfortunately, as it was in Anambra, Oyo, Edo, etc. most
of these godfathers offer the services of their support only in
anticipation of financial kickbacks that are alarmingly huge and
extravagant and opposed to the expected norm of service to the people.
The following hypothesis will be tested during the course of the work.
1. The more monetized the political system is the more the strength of the god-fathers.
2. The more prominent the activities of the god-fathers, the higher the possibility of political instability.
3. The more elected officers depend on god-fathers, the more impoverished the masses would be.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
(1) To attempt a disclosure of the
Godfatherism and effects of political conflicts by examining the various
identifiable causes and effects of Edo State conflict in Nigeria fourth
(2) To firmly establish the fact that
political conflicts had become Nigeria’s consistent bedfellow, with a
vivid examination of Edo State Government crisis.
(3) And finally, to profer a panacea
to the identified causes of these political conflicts in order to
prevent a continuance of its sporadic frequency in Nigeria.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The essence of
this study is self-explaining in the presentation of the various facts
that constitute the crisis of Edo State in question. This study seeks to
provide us with detailed account of these state crisis and indepth and
exhaustive (as much as possible) analysis of the various factors that
comes into play in the saga. This is in the view to finding a lasting
solution and thus preventing a reoccurrence of the anomaly in the
It is also not in doubt that
other scholars could further explore this area of research, just like a
few others have done before me, using this work/study as a launch pad.
This could be by lending strength and support to some of the ideas or
hypothesis that this work seeks to propagate. If could also be by
improving in some or all of the errors that I may have unavoidably made
in the course of this research. All of these would aid in navigating
observers and future researcher of this topic of study, towards the best
stock of intellectually analytic compilation on the topic. The end of
all these would in no doubt be useful in preventing a future repetition
of the errors that are presently a bane on our development in present
Finally, it is also noted that
this work could be considered as an addition to the bulk of academic and
intellectual endeavours and submissions available on this topic and on
related topics, particularly in Nigeria. In the final analysis, this
work would be seen as another beam of light thrown in the direction of
various political upheavals that has bedevilled the country especially
in recent times.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
problem of political conflicts is one that is universally acknowledged
and pondered upon, the scope of this particular research work would be
limited to Edo State in Nigeria and the time frame of study would be the
fourth republic (1999 – till date).
The reason for this is because
the happenings in the state reflect the trend that being perpetuated
nationally. Moreover, any attempt at proffering a long lasting solution
to the problem, it is hoped, would also have a bearing on the entire
The nature of
this research makes it expedient that a secondary source of data is
undertaken in order to provide relevant data, effort will be made to
collect secondary sources in literature such as book, magazines,
newspapers, journals, internet and other similar materials. The
principal method used will be questionnaires which will be given to
voters in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria – primary
1.8 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
(1). Godfatherism:- Godfatherism is “a male godparent: a sponsor – one who pays the bill. The head of a criminal investigation”.
(2). Politics:- The
struggle for power which itself is the authority to determine or
formulate and execute decisions and policies, which must be accepted by
the society. It is the struggle for power of governance, especially
(3) Elites:- These
are limited number of people who believed that they possessed the
qualities necessary for accession to full social and political powers.
(4) Crisis:- Means an unstable situation, a sudden attack of pain or stress. Violent struggle between two parties over an idea or possession.
(5) Conflict:- Means the disagreement in ideas or over a thing between groups of persons or one person and another.
(6) Bargaining:- Means
the presentation of proposals and counter – proposals by two
disagreeing parties, with the hope of attaining an agreement or an
(7) Godson:- Godson is a male godchild who is put under the supervision of his godfather.
(8) Saga:- Long story of brave deeds
(9) Clog:- become blocked with thick or stricky materials
(10) Clog:- a small figure of a person that can be made to move or a group or person whose actions are controlled by another.
(11) Elastic:- This is something that can be altered, not fixed
(12) Chameleonic:- A person who changes her or his behaviour, opinion etc to suit the situation.