Politics Nigeria: Political godfatherism is an enduring phenomenon in Nigerian politics. It is now a recurring trend for highly placed individuals to sponsor their loyalists to a political position. This is done under some terms and conditions that includes both financial and non-financial settlements.
These godfathers are highly influential in Nigerian politics to the extent that their loyalists on taking over office will ignore the interest of the masses. Their sole aim is usually to impress their sponsors. Majority of the decisions, contracts and expenditure are dictated by their godfathers. This has not been too beneficial to the growth of the country. It has bedeviled politics in Nigeria as key decisions in the government have been subjugated to the dictates of the influential personality or a group of influential people around him. Better candidates are usually ignored for loyalists of which these godfathers believe are easily controllable. Some of the serving Governors, senators, House of representative members and ministers were handpicked by political gladiators in their states. In most cases, elections are only arranged to legitimize the whole procedure. As 2019 is fast approaching, the job of handpicking individuals for different positions have already been contracted to these godfathers. The following are some of the political bigwigs who will have huge influence on the emergence of many political office holders.
#1 President Mohammadu Buhari
The trend of political godfatherism changed its course in 2015 when the APC took power from PDP, many new political godfathers in Nigeria emerged while many were swept away with the PDP. Many of the key APC members who contributed to the success of the party quickly became very influential. The incumbent president is our number one pick. He will become more influential in the 2019 general elections. He had since declared his ambition to seek for reelection and he will exert his influence in some other key positions in order to reshape his cabinet and take more control of the party. There are lots of divided mindsets and grumbling parties in the APC, so Buhari must stamp his authority and hold series of meetings in order not to have a divided party by 2019.
#2 Goodluck Jonathan
PDP is now the opposition party and former president Goodluck Jonathan is the only former President of Nigeria who is still in the PDP. He has become one of the political godfathers in Nigeria We can recall that former president Olusegun Obasanjo tore his PDP membership card and publicly denounced his membership in the party. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is bound to be very influential in the PDP arrangements. PDP is warming up and strategizing to snatch power from the APC. The APC has performed below the expectations of many Nigerians, so the PDP is very hopeful of returning to power. A lot of PDP aspirants will definitely flock to the former president to seek for support and endorsement.
#3 Bola Tinubu
The former Governor of Lagos state has risen to become very influential in Nigerian politics especially in the APC. He is a godfather to the two Lagos state Governors that came after him. His influence has extended to the Southwest geopolitical zone. He has massive followership and can easily determine who the southwest will support come 2019. His political influence has paved way for many law makers and ministers from the south west and even Governors of other States in the southwest. He has the trust of the President and he has huge influence in the presidency and the national assembly. He will surely be among the political godfathers in Nigeria who will decide the direction of politics in Nigeria during the 2019 general elections.
#4 Dr. Bukola Saraki
Having served as Governor of Kwara state for two terms and currently serving as the Senate president, Saraki is a political godfather to many. He is very influential not only in his state, but also in the upper chambers of the national assembly. 2019 general elections will not be an exception. The manner in which he emerged as the senate president endeared him to many of his colleagues. He has apparently inherited his Father’s position as the ”godfather” of kwara state politics. At 54, he still has many years ahead of him. President Buhari during Saraki’s 54th birthday celebration confirmed Dr. Bukola Saraki’s quick rising political influence by stating that he is one of the political godfathers in Nigeria. It is very certain that many of his ‘political boys’ will rally around him for political direction during the forth coming 2019 general elections.
#5 Chief Olusegun Obasanjo:
Many thought that he quit politics when he openly tore his PDP membership card and has since not declared being a member of any political party. The truth of the matter is that OBJ is not apolitical. He still expresses his views about the political direction of the country. He is the longest serving political godfathers in Nigeria on this list. A lot of Nigerians are still influenced by his views. He will have great influence in 2019 general elections. He was very influential in the emergence of president Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
He is fondly known for writing letters to serving presidents. Recently, he wrote letters to President Buhari telling him to step down for not performing up to expectations. He also advised Buhari not to contest for 2nd term, else he will be disgraced by losing the elections woefully. He is the longest ever serving president in the country having served as Head of state and as a two-term democratically elected president. He still has a lot of “political boys” who are always ready to throw their supports behind him or support whoever he endorses.