Of politicians and godfathers
Sir: Nigerian political system basically has been designed in a way that it is somewhat difficult to contest an election without some persons being ahead of you to showcase your loyalty and indicate their interest in you. The existing structures in parties say it all. Fighting or even trying to bite the finger that feeds one, figuratively speaking, is near impossible because the individual, before rising to the position of being a godfather would have been well established, experienced and structured. Without going far, the present case of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State would flash through the mind having made efforts to ‘‘destroy the finger that ate corn with him.’’ Obaseki in 2016 was the anointed candidate, amidst vast majority of others, of the former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole.
Did I just say anointed? Yes anointed, coupled with the interest of many other top members of the party and the then governor’s interest in him and roles played prior and during the election. The whole of the Edo North senatorial district was delivered to spur him to the seat he presently occupies. Crisis loomed and was well fuelled amongst the duo of godfather and godson and it was that point Obaseki knew he wanted to abolish godfatherism in the state which he is a beneficiary? This needs to be gotten straight and clear, ‘‘You can’t destroy a system that made you’’ not to talk of ‘‘you establishing yourself as one.’’ The same system and principle he bids to abolish is what he is indirectly and consciously erecting. Once the reach, power and influence wielded by Oshiomhole is subdued, who becomes the leader in the state?
How can you claim to abolish godfatherism in your state by reliving all appointees loyal to the erstwhile governor and bringing on board your loyalists if you are not aiming to be the sole commander of the state and state party affairs. Just as the political irrelevance that have become of the Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko man who did not even go to this extreme against the powers that be, same is obvious for the ‘‘Go Further Together’’ man in Edo State who knew no boundaries in speech, writing and action. An attempt to destroy one’s godfather would obviously take some time and the failure shows one’s end politically is looming and near. As we have Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, so there exist Politically Displaced Persons who eventually become politically irrelevant and silenced.
Shotonwa Waheed is a journalist in Lagos.