concept OF GOD-FATHERISM AND influence ON NIGERIAN politics AND politicians
CONCEPT OF GOD-FATHERISM AND INFLUENCE ON NIGERIAN POLITICS AND POLITICIANS
1.1 The Study's Background Godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a driving element in modern Nigerian politics. Godfathers are commonly defined as those who have the personal power to choose who is nominated to vote and who wins the election. Historically, Nigerian society had less crime, which the court systems worked to address.
Recently, our legal systems have been unable to deal with this because Nigerian society rapidly produced criminals in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through processes of democratisation and militarism, and where one system fails to provide, the other takes over.
Godfatherism is one way that the government breeds criminals in a democratic society. Godfathers in nigeria had received little attention until the recent coup that exposed Chief Chris Uba, previous head of the political godfather, Dr. Chris Ngige, and other political criminals as being behind the election or selection of majority of our state governors and other legislators.
Most of our state governors appear to be supported by this calibre of individual, and those funded by their sponsors who join the posts now wield immense authority in their respective states.
In a political context, the notion is an ideology based on the belief that some people have significant resources to unilaterally select who gets a party's ticket to run for election and who wins the election.
According to Gambo (2009), the sponsors are men who have the ‘power' and influence to select who is nominated and who wins elections. In this sense, godfatherism refers to how office seekers associate with someone who is thought to have the power to produce the desired outcome in an election competition.
It is customary to look for a political father to help advance one's political aspirations. Bassey and Enetak (2008) defined godfatherism as the power and influence of politically influential people in determining who is nominated to run in elections and who ultimately wins.
Sponsors have political clout and can sway political support for the political party or candidate behind whom they throw their political weight. Sponsors are those who play godfatherism, while referrals are those who gain from their generosity.
The advent of godfatherism in Nigerian partisan politics dates back to the First Republic, when the leaders of the three major political parties (Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Action Group (AG), and Nigerian Citizens National Congress (NCNC) carefully and meticulously cultivated they believed would improve citizens' welfare.
According to Uzoamaka (2010), Ahmadu Bello NPC, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Obafemi Awolowo of the NCNC AG were encouraged to use recommendations as substitutes to promote people's development ambitions rather than parochial interests.
Unlike today's crop of political godfathers, the initial generation of sponsors were essentially benign and progressive because they abuse their status sponsors by making unreasonable demands on their downline.
In Nigeria, sponsors are viewed as those with the personal capacity to choose both who is selected to participate in elections and who wins in a state. Those employed in the bureaucracy, as well as those who receive challenging tasks and deployments.