Towards The End Of Godfatherism In Nigerian Government And Politics.A Study Of Edo State Governorship Election 2020

322

An Investigation Into The End Of Godfatherism In Nigerian Government And Politics. A Study Of Edo State Governorship Election 2020

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Godfatherism is a cankerworms that have eaten deep into the born marrow of Nigerian  politics, tearing apart the hard earned dividend of democracy of the nation.This work will not be complete without first defining the basic principle and concept underlying the study.

Godfatherism has multiplicity of definitions by different scholars. According to Gambo (2006) Godfatherism in a broad sense is an ideology which is constructed on the belief that certain individuals possess considerable means to unilaterally determine who gets party ticket to run for an election and who wins in the electoral contest. In other words, they are men who have the „power‟ and influence to decide both who gets nominated to contest election and who wins in the election. Similarly, Gabriel (2005) posits that Godfatherism is the practice of political office seekers getting connected to an individual who is believed to have the ability to deliver desired outcome in an electoral contest.

1999 marked the beginning of Nigeria’s fourth republic and a return to civilian rule. The activities of Godfathers during the fourth republic cannot be over emphasized. Unlike the first republic where the activities of Godfathers were geared towards developing the nation, Godfatherism in Nigeria’s fourth republic was geared towards winning elections for theirrespective godson. God fathers during this era go as far using their financial muscle to see to it that their candidates emerged victorious. Aside this fact Godfathers appoint their godson to political offices who bow to their whims and caprice. Hence, it is safe to said that  elections in the fourth republic is between Godfathers in different political parties rather than between competent candidates. How influential and powerful your God father is determines the chances of victory at the polls

A study by Ohiole & Ojo (2016:11), disclosed that democracy in Nigeria has not been fully established and the phenomenon of godfatherism has endangered democratic process and the socio-economic lives of the citizenry. Political godfathers is a condition in Nigerian political process influencing against the democratic establishment in order to satisfy their selfish interest they are even ready to manipulate the democratic body and its mode of operations, by overpowering public office holders like the governor and council chairman to dance to their tone. The activities of these political fighters have deprived the people of voting for their ideal applicants as their leader. This has directly affected the political arrangement

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Edo State is a state in Southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. The 2014 estimated population of the Edo state is 5 million people.It is made up of 4 major ethnic groups; namely the Bini, Esan, Owan, and Etsako.

Edo State consists of eighteen (18) Local Government Areas. They are: Akoko-Edo, Egor Esan Central ,Esan North-East, Esan South-East, Esan West, Etsako Central Etsako, East Etsako, West Igueben ,Ikpoba-Okha ,Oredo, Orhionmwon ,Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Owan East, Owan West, and  Uhunmwonde

The area of study is politically known as AC  dominated State previously under Adams A. Oshiomhole who became a governor in November 2008 before AC later merged with some other political parties to become APC in 2016 . The APC was the ruling party for straight 4 years at the state and national level since 2016 until its defeat in 20th September  2020.

Before the built-up of the 2020 governorship election in Edo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was already split into two factions, following the crisis pundits say erupted over who gets the party ticket for the 2020 gubernatorial election. The splintering of the party was as a result of the proxy war between a godson   Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor  Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is his godfather.One faction is loyal to Oshiomhole, while the other is loyal to Obaseki  Ebonyi Tv (2020)

The cold war between the godfather and his godson  was  traced to Oshiomhole loyalists who are said to have been protesting against alleged unfair treatment by the current governor after the departure of Oshiomhole from Government House, Benin. Vanguard (2019)

Interestingly, Obaseki was the head of Oshiomhole’s economic team during his tenure. The incumbent governor, who was not in the group of those fighting for the party ticket in the build-up to 2016, was single-handedly made the flagbearer of the party by the godfatherism of Oshiomhole against many odds.

The governor faced serious challenges at the primary election from the former deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, Osarodion Ogie, former minister of works, Engr. Chris Ogienwonyi, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, and Kenneth Imasuagbon, among others.

Many party chieftains also rejected Obaseki because he was said to be perceived as someone who might bend to their whim and caprices.

But Oshiomhole, it was gathered, used his power as the state governor and his oratory skill to arm-twist party chieftains. Some of the contestants eventually stepped down and supported his preferred and ‘anointed’ candidate- Obaseki.

In line with Oshiomhole’s permutation, Obaseki emerged the candidate of the APC and defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the poll.

Strikingly, as soon as Obaseki was sworn-in as the governor, he introduced new rules and regulations on access to Government House.The new rules banned politicians who have no business at the Osadebe House, making a place that hitherto became a Mecca of sorts for politicians during Oshiomole’s administration to suddenly turn to a no-go area.

Obaseki was said to have told the party chieftains and foot soldiers of his godfather Oshiomhole that he remained a technocrat who believed that the allocation to the state and its internally-generated revenue were meant for the development of the state, and not for sharing among politicians.

Among the politicians and foot soldiers of Oshiomhole who fell to the new order, is ex-youth leader of the party, Osakpamwan Eriyo, who was remanded in prison for three months, Tony Kabaka, who was seen as the leader of the youths in the state, was not spared in the new order, as he was removed as revenue collector on behalf of the state government, Osakpamwan, who was also a revenue collector on behalf of the state government and the state chairman of the Road Transport Employee Association of Nigerian (RTEAN), lost his chairmanship position and the job as revenue collector.

The development was said to have angered  the godfatherism of Oshiomhole, as most of the party chieftains have continued to flood his house to seek assistance instead of meeting the governor to take care of them.

According to DailyTrust (2019) The governor’s alleged refusal to put the newly-commissioned Central Hospital to use almost three years after commissioning is one of his sins. The situation was said to have prompted the former governor to ask some of his associates, including Odubu, retired general Airhiavbere, and Ogiewonyi to be warming up for the primary election as possible replacement.

Despite Obaseki’s unhappiness that Oshiomhole still dictates the pace, he maintained silence with the hope that when his master became the APC national chairman, he would face national politics.Based on this belief, Obaseki is said to have supported Oshiomhole against his tribal man, John Odigie-Oyegun, who was seeking a second term.

At this stage, the duo is still denying the report of a frosty relationship, but the ice looked solid during the 2019 national and the state house of assembly elections.

While Obaseki wanted to have his loyalists at the Assembly to secure his second term bid, Oshiomhole is said to have preferred his loyalists. Insiders say the former governor’s move was seen as a plot to stop Obaseki from getting the party’s ticket for a second term.

The tussle over who will produce candidates in the state assembly resulted in the cancellation of the initial primary election organised by the national body of the party. A fresh one was conducted.

A clear example of the cold war unfolded in Akoko-Edo federal constituency, where the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kabir Adjoto, hails from. The former governor wanted Peter Akpatason, while Governor Obaseki was favourably disposed to the assembly speaker. But in the end, Akpatason got the ticket.

The same scenario played out in Oredo federal constituency, where Oshiomhole wanted Osaro Obazee, while Obaseki preferred Osaigbovo Iyokha. In the end, Iyokha secured the ticket, while Obazee got the state assembly ticket.

The removal of former speaker of Edo State Assembly, Alhaji Adjoto, and his replacement with Victor Edoro, who was his deputy, was linked to the raging war between the two political titans. Interestingly, Edoro was also impeached and suspended by some of his loyalists from attending the plenary before the expiration of the last legislature.

Prior to the 2020 gubernatorial election, the intrigues and fracas between  the former governor Adams A. Oshiomhole who was the godfather of Edo politics and his godson Mr Godwin Obaseki deepened.

The protracted quarrel between Oshiomhole and Obaseki nearly thwart Obaseki ’s second term ambition after his godfather connived with APC and denied him ticked, this prompted Obaseki to decamp immediately to PDP where he fought all political gladiators and defeated his former godfather Adams Oshionhole and his contender Osagie Ize-Iyamu-Iyamu in 2020. Obaseki polled a total of 307, 955 votes to defeat All Progressives Congress’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu-Iyamu who got 223, 619 votes.

Obaseki’s victory finally prevented the APC from winning the 2020 governorship election in Edo state while also destroying the mayhem of political godfatherism in Edo.

It is against this crystal background that the present study tends to know whether  Obaseki’s  victory will be the end of Godfatherism in Nigerian government and politics.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Politics of godfatherism has become part and parcel of the political condition of actualizing the political dreams of many contestants in Nigeria. Politics of godfatherism has eaten deep into the political movements of many nations Nigeria inclusive. Politics of godfatherism has affected the political and economic development of Nigeria. Several issues were observed as a cause of politics of Godfatherism. The central argument is that in the Nigerian politics.Godfatherism has become the major problem to many candidates to win or fail in an election. Godfatherism is extensively practicing in all parts of the country, it is observed that to contest for any political post it has become necessary to have strong political godfather before considering and run for any elective offices or even political appointment. This is because many contenders cannot win an election without the support and influence of the godfather. So also, many individuals cannot get appointed without the support and influence of the godfathers that decide the faith of the state. But with the support and influence of godfathers, many aspirants contest and win the election. because of the power of the godfathers and incumbency.

The power, influence, and incumbency have created a serious problem between the contestants and the electorates, and by extension has affected the socio-economic development of the nation. This is because most of the candidates dance to the tone of their godfathers not the general populous. And it is the godfathers that are dictating the candidates what to do and not to do. This problem of the dictatorship of the political fathers has created a wide gap between the contestants and the electorates. It is understood that all the positions won or appointed because of the influence of godfathers cannot yield positive development. Because the political godfathers asked contestants or appointee to sign a treaty to ensure that they agree with all the promises that they had entered with the godfathers. However, (Gideons, 2010; Ohiole & Ojo, 2016:2) noted that the contestant makes sure that all the money spends on he/she during the election were paid fully with interests. This led to a political crisis between the aspirants and the godfathers, by extension between the citizens in the states. This political crisis has created a wide vacuum between the godsons and the godfather. Based on this, the paper merit to examine The effect of godfatherism  on leadership selection in Nigeria during the fourth republic, a case study of Edo state

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The general objective of the study is to Investigate Into The End Of Godfatherism In Nigerian Government And Politics. A Study Of Edo State Governorship Election 2020

. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. to examine the relationship that exist between godfatherism on leadership selection in Edo state
  2. to analyze the effect of godfatherism on the democratic process in the Nigeria fourth republic, a special attention in Edo state
  3. to proffer policy options that will address the challenges of godfatherism on leadership selection in Edo state.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This study seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the relationship that exist between godfatherism on leadership selection in Edo state?
  2. What is the impact of godfatherism on the democratic process and governance in Edo state
  3. What policy measures are necessary to combat the effects of godfatherism on leadership selection in Edo state

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

This study aims to contribute to studies on godfatherism on leadership selection in the Nigeria fourth republic with specific focus on Edo state. Such a study will proffer viable recommendations that will address the issues of political godfatherism which continues to undermine Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Indeed, it is hardly contentious that the phenomenon of godfatherism constitute a dire threat to Nigeria’s democratic process, national stability and security. Therefore, the study is not only timely, but crucial at the opportune period where Nigeria democratic process is still fragile and all efforts must be geared towards strengthening and consolidating democracy in Nigeria.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The study focuses on The End Of Godfatherism In Nigerian Government And Politics. A Study Of Edo State Governorship Election 2020. The chosen time frame for the study is from 2008  to the 2020 elections which were permeated with the practice of godfatherism in Edo state and its resultant effect on the democratic process.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Godfatherism; According to Kolawole (2004), godfatherism is an institution of political king making through which certain political office holders of tenuous political clout come into power.

Democracy; Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens, participate equally-either directly or indirectly through elected representatives in the proposal, development and creation of laws.

______________________________________