Nigeria’s Political Godfathers: Another Time Bomb

It is a fact that this present democracy that started in 1999 appears to have produced more negative results than the opposite. After the first four years of 1999-2003, the politicians suddenly realized that the nation belongs to them and their family political cronies which took them four years to plant all over the place. As most of the governors that served for eight years were quitting the stage their stooges were planted in their office and most of them later back fired. The only person that was able to manage his own successfully was Chief Onanefe Ibori of Delta State. On leaving the stage he personally handed the state to his cousin in person of Eweta Uduaghan and for the eight years that he was in the saddle there was hardly any case of reported rivalry between the duos. The reason was not because Ibori was not in the country but probably due to some unforeseen forces which only Ibori and Uduaghan are privy to. How Ibori was able to manage his cousin to the extent that both did not go to war is what political scientist are trying to unravel so that such model could be recommended to stakeholders nationwide. If this model is adopted and accepted generally it will help to reduce the incessant in-house fighting not only on the field of political party but in other areas of specialization.

The case of Anambra was not different. It was Chris Uba that installed his political son in person of Dr. Ngige as the governor of the state. Out of all the associates that queue in front of Uba, the only decent and highly loyal ‘boy’ he was seeing was Ngige. All efforts to convince Uba to drop Ngige, a medical doctor and elderly to Uba by age fell on deaf ear. It was widely reported then that some initiations were done in some shrines but there were no evidence to back all those claims. Having won and sworn into office, it did not took Ngige two months to realize that he cannot be fooled by and is not ready to be a stooge of any man. With the allocation flowing and timely released to the states, Ngige’s problem was not money but how to manage the money and his political father. Having settled himself into the office former governor Ngige took squarely on his ‘father’. To him what matters was the welfare of the people and not godfathers’. When the state allocation started arriving Ngige decided to increase the tempo of projects. It was highly surprising to Uba, who saw Ngige as a sheep in the midst of goats and hand to him the pulse of the state so that he can dictate the tune. When Uba noticed that Ngige is now five steps ahead of him the police were brought in to do the dirty job but to the Glory of God Ngige survived to tell the story.

Anambra State has a rich culture in this democracy. When the tribunal sacked Dr. Ngige, Mr. Peter Obi if APGA party took over having contested in the governorship election. His spent eight years as a governor. A year to his exit, several suitors queued behind Obi to take over from him. The list was endless but Obi will not hear any of that. Himself being a banker and board room guru, he went for his friend in the board room named Obiano. Immediately Obiano took over the marriage between him and his predecessor was like honey. They are always together until one morning when Nigerians woke up to the reality of life. The sweet relationship that existed between Obi and his political son, Obiano has given way and as Things Fall Apart would put it, ‘’the center can no longer hold’’. The fight is so tense to the extent that some elderly citizens of the state waded into the matter but as usual the quite was is still ranging. For more than four years now, Obi and his political son has not sat together in a function neither were they seen together. Obi has virtually relocated to Lagos and Abuja probably for fear of security. What actually gave rise to their misunderstanding have been given different interpretation by various stakeholders. Some observers believed that the failure of the son to take instruction from his father may be one of the key reasons while the second is not recognition of Obi as his master may have done more havoc to their relationship.

Bayelsa State is another place that should not escape my attention. The former governor of the state, Mr. Silver will have cause to celebrate his goodness towards him and family. As he was aiming for the second term, governor Dickson and his friends in the PDP went to Abuja to tell former president Jonathan that Silver must not come back as his coming will be a disaster to the entire Ijaw nations. Without wasting time, Abuja went to work immediately and lo, Dickson was picked ahead of Silver having prevented him from participating in the primaries. Although Silver has decamped to the APC, his battle with his brother, Dickson has defied all mathematical solutions. There is no day in the state that one or two persons were murdered all due to the ambition of two men. To put it straight forward, governor Dickson is a boy to Sylver and his was brought up by Silver both politically and socially. He so have a place in Silver’s heart due to their long term relationship of father and son. Having left pdp Silver criticism became fierce despite the fact that his kin’s man was the president of the country. At a time Silver was facing not less than five court cases in Abuja but it appears he has won all of them. His criticism of Jonathan presidency could be justified on the recent statement by governor Dickson of Bayelsa State that Ijaws wasted six years in the presidency without achieving anything and I quite agree with governor Dickson.

In Zafara State, the war between the current governor and his political father, Senator Yerima has refused to die down. From the troublesome northeast of the country to the south south and back to the west it was all one war or the other most prominent is that of departing governors and successors. Some of the reasons adduced for the constant war may not be far from the truth. In the first place the outgone governor wants to see themselves as king makers and without them no governor can emerge. Also the incumbent governor having solidified himself in office wants to build his own political dynasty knowing too well that power is good in the hands of the beholder. While Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State was able to manage it there are instances when he and Fashola almost dance naked in the market square. Presently the governor of Edo State is operating with free hands because the former governor in person of Comrade Oshiomhole has told the ward that he has no reason to fight his political son while out of office and he has shown that strong desire to stay away and allowed Obaseki run the state to the benefit of all.

According to Michael M. Ogbeidi, an Associate Professor at the University of Lagos, said ‘’Nigeria, a country richly endowed with natural resources and high quality human capital is yet to find its rightful place among the comity of nations. A major reason that has been responsible for her socioeconomic stagnation is the phenomenon of corruption. The kernel of the piece rest on the fact that political leadership and corruption were interwoven and it is against this background that it explored the corrupt tendencies of the political leadership class in Nigeria since 1960 and its implication for socioeconomic development. The paper concludes that for Nigeria to experience sustainable socio-economic development, responsible and credible leaders must emerge to implant the act of good and selfless governance in the country’’. Whereas Robert L. Tignor (1993) in his work examined and discussed extensively political corruption in Nigeria from a historical point of view with heavy concentration on political developments in the country before independence and the activities of Nigerian nationalists vis-à-vis the colonial masters, this paper seeks to discuss the role of the political leadership class in the entrenchment of corruption in Nigeria from a historical-socio-economic perspective. The paper argues that the political leadership class in Nigeria cannot exonerate itself from the current travails of socio-economic underdevelopment in the country.

It explores from a historical perspective the pernicious effect of corruption on public policy decisions, actions, and the management of collapsed infrastructure and the nation’s resources as well as its socio-economic implications to development. Attempt is made to assess the impact of the phenomenon of corruption on the social and economic wellbeing of the country as a whole. It must be mentioned here that the perspective offered in this paper does not exhaust all that there is to be discussed concerning corruption and political leadership in Nigeria. It will only approach the subject matter from the perspective of its contributions to public policy failure and its implications for socio-economic development. It is a fact that during the first republic the issue of god fatherism was not heard likewise the second and third republic. Probably the political awareness at that time was how to win an election, govern and exit the scene. With this so called republic which was once described as a child of necessity the tempo of godfathers will be difficult to erase due to imposition of candidates by the god fathers who are willing to plant their children in all positions of authority. Nigerian politicians lacked character and integrity. Once they are in a position they can appoint all their family members into positions in the government like the Pentecostal Churches where the founder is the General Oversea, the wife is the deputy General Oversea, the first son is the Vice President, World Wide and his first daughter is the treasurer. The rest children are appointed as internal auditor, deputy treasurer, spokesman, youth president, girls president, women leader to mention but a few. The earlier we eliminate the concept of Grandfather, Father, Son from the politics, the better for us.

Joseph Esivwenughwu