The concept of godfatherism originated from Christianity of which Godparents were chosen as surrogates to help biological (or adopted) parents raise a Christian child to become a God-fearing, law-abiding adult (Anakwenze: 2004). The Godfather would make their problems his own and would protect their interests at all costs; he acted as a father would to his children. Today, the original ideology has gradually become a farce and a godfather now goes to any lengths to enrich himself not minding how many backs he has to step on. Godfatherism of today is now the determinant of who, what and how things operate. They are known for never being in the spotlight, always lurking in corridors of power, controlling and dictating.
The issues arising from the concept of “godfatherism” has become one of the greatest problems facing the Nigerian political system. Godfatherism usually involves a “godson” and a “godfather” and their relationship is very similar in more than one way to that of a puppet and a puppeteer. The godfathers’ escapade portrays a great danger to our democratic freedom, and also threatens the very essence of our stand as a democratic nation.
It is rather old news that Nigeria has been considered to be among the first five most corrupt nations of the world. This sad but true fact is rekindled daily by shameless greed rather than selfless patriotism which have resulted in the average Nigerian seeing the government as a free ride for exploitation and self-exaltation instead of an institution embedded in justice and independence. The Nigerian masses crave for leadership that would for once put the interest of the masses at heart instead of making empty promises at manifestos of “making a change” and dealing the masses with a hand of disappointment every single time. We crave for leadership that would uplift us from economic downfall and social doldrums, but instead our political elites just keep their eye on doing everything in hope of monetary gains.
The concept of elitism is practiced all over the world but this has taken a more disturbing toll in Nigeria. It has rather become a tradition for any political client to acquire an elite back-up or in this case political “godfather” before running for any elective offices or even political appointment. Whatever happened to the watch word “free and fair elections”? Now these godfathers dutifully offer their services of support, considering the weight they pull in their political world only in anticipation of monetary returns which should have been in service of the masses in the first place.
This practice is widespread in Nigeria and usually comes to light when these glorious “godfathers” literally handpick their candidates who they feel would be suitable for their dubious agenda and they go to a great length to ensure that their puppets (godsons) win the elections.These godsons also go through some dubious activities to ensure that they are branded “godson” and most involve themselves with fetish works and other ugly societal works. They are aware that if they speak up against their godfathers, they would be invariably impeached and replaced so they work in silence.
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 protégé crises in Nigeria do not only portray great danger to our democratic experiments, but are only but a few examples of the evil reign of “godfatherism” in Nigeria which has threatened the very essence and validity of our existence as a nation.
Godfatherism remains unethical and goes against everything democracy stands for. It’s a virus in the system which will only uphold corruption, retrogression, underdevelopment, mediocrity and backwardness. This should not be treated lightly and all hands should be on deck to eradicate this evil norm. Let us all make a stand towards expelling godfatherism in our beloved nation so that justice can truly be served where due.
REFERENCE: Edigin, Lambert Uyi, “Political Conflicts and Godfatherism in Nigeria: A Focus on the Fourth Republic” An International Multi-Disciplinary Journal, Ethiopia (2010) Vol. 4 (4)
Written, researched and compiled by: Dennisa Dennis (@elexadennis)