Ordinarily, the role of godfathers in the political process ought not to generate so much fury and consternation. After all, in more civilized climes, mentoring of the younger generation in different fields of human endeavour including politics is an inseparable component of social engineering designed to attain a better society.
Which is to infer that if political mentors popularly referred to in Nigeria as godfathers have enhanced and not endangered the cause of democratic ideals through their ignoble acts, the populace would not be so disdained by their presence.
It is precisely the culture of impunity which has characterised the activities of godfathers in the political sphere since 1999 that has continued to generate a great deal of disaffection towards them.
Thus, we remember it as if it was yesterday when the godfathers in Anambra state during the reign of Dr. Chris Ngige as Governor had to hold the bearded fellow in captivity until he recanted that the budgets of the Light of the Nation state would no longer be used for the good of the people but instead must be disbursed at the whims of the godfathers.
The godfathers then, Chris and Andy Uba also referred to ase Uba brothers who were themselves equally being nudged on in their impudence by the swaggering chicken farmer from Owu, South-West Nigeria, the one and only Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who held sway in Abuja as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ngige, who is now the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, had earlier been dragged to the infamous Okija shrine by the godfathers to swear to an oath to do their bidding or face the wrath of the gods
Reflecting on the entire sordid affair, the venerable eminent playwright, late Professor Chinua Achebe, lamented that his home state had become a “bankrupt and lawless fief
Somewhere in the South-West, specifically in Oyo State, Nigerians were also regaled with another spectacle as the ebullient late Lamidi Adedibu, the fabled strong man of Ibadan politics, was so piqued when it became public knowledge that his political godson, the then Governor of the State, Christopher Alao-Akala, like his fellow State Chief Executives, was carting away humongous sums of money monthly as Security Vote.
Incensed that he was being short-changed by his godson, Adedibu mounted strident campaigns for his own Security Vote because he could not comprehend a situation where in his view the man he “single-handedly installed” as Governor (people’s votes don’t count, remember?) would be smiling to the bank every other day while he, the godfather, would not be so remunerated but remained a helpless spectator.
The fourth Republic particularly has witnessed these ugly trends from inception. Prominent among these cases were 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 Mbadinugu (Anambra; and Alhaji Abubakar Rimi vs Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State among others.
In Kwara State Dr. Olusola Saraki (now late) was the political godfather in that state for several years, installing Governor and other political officer holder into office including his own son, senator Bukola Saraki, whose fight with his predecessor, Alhaji Lawal stalled development in that state for years.
In Edo State, you could not have forgotten so soon that few years ago, our irrepressible Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, went short of hosting a public party for taming the godfathers in Edo State as he announced with glee that no longer shall the heart beat State be held hostage by any godfather.
It is against this background that the burgeoning issue of godfathers in Edo State as we move towards this year’s gubernatorial election should be evaluated. Edo State indigenes and residents should resist any attempt by any godfather in whatever hue to foist a candidate on them.
Incidentally, since we have all seen the negative impacts of indigenous godfathers in Edo State, it would be the height of buffoonery for anyone to be inclined towards importing a an alien godfather from the North West whose sole purpose is primitive accumulation and impoverishment of the citizens.
Beyond all that, it is common knowledge that Edo state people have a credible history of resisting all forms of foreign domination and this generation shall not be an exception. Thus, if by any act of omission or commission, a godfather from the a conservative hegemony is allowed to have a stronghold on Edo land, Edo state citizens would become second-class as all major contracts and other developmental projects would become exclusive preserve of the imperial godfather and a handful of his cronies. This shall not be the portion of the good people of Edo State. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
As Obaseki is nearing the completion of his first tenure, his achievement without doubts resonate through the entire walls of the state and beyond. He has proved himself worthy of the people’s trust. His administration has come up for mention among performing states that are charging the face of the country. The events presaging 2020 polls in the state signpost his growing popularity and the readiness of the people to give him another chance to steer the wheels of government of the state. He truly deserves another chance. Obaseki is a man of the people.