AN EVALUATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF GODFATHERISM IN NIGERIA POLITICS IN THE FOURTH REPUBLIC (THE ROLE OF EDUCATION)
The discourse of godfatherism had so much influenced the socio-economic and political life of the nation especially in the fourth republic. It had gained much attention at the present time as a result of its need forms of articulation. It has become almost impossible for an individual to hold political office either by appointment or election without patronizing a godfather because of their power and influence. In the light of this, this long essay critically examined how poverty, ignorance and corruption contributed to the emergence of godfatherism and the role of the godfathers in carrying out their biding such as, arson, maiming, bribing, abduction and all kings of corrupt styles in other to win elections for their selfish enrich. The study also examined the consequences of this in the fourth republic.
1.1 Background of the Study
Godfatherism establishes itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigerian politics. Godfatherism takes from Judeo-Christian origin to be a relationship that should exist between the spiritual guarantor and his spiritual child. In political environment, it is meant to be a relationship existing between the political guardian who have a long experience of politics and a neophyte aspiring for government job. This concept has been twisted, while the main purpose has also been defeated. This is now a huge challenge to the nascent democracy in Nigeria, which is affecting the life of the masses in Nigeria badly.
In advanced societies, the comfort and happiness of the citizens largely depends on the extent to which thedemocratic institution is empowered and sustained.Democracy in Nigeria has had a chequered history. From the ‘Wild-Wild West’ experience ofthe first republic through prolonged autocratic military regimes and the minisecond and third republics to the present democratic dispensation, democracy has suffered debilitating experiences in the country. The perennial travail of democracy is predicated on a number of factors, including ineffective structures and institutions, the foreboding presence of the military,corruption, money politics and Godfatherism (Adebayo, 2000). However, Godfatherism has become a scary phenomenon in Nigerian politics. As rightly observed by (Omotola2007), Godfatherism in Nigeria, particularly in its current form and character, is distributive. Though it is a longstanding and deeply rooted feature of the cultural values of Nigerian society, where it is purely socio-economic in nature and mutually productive for both parties, its politicization would appear to have contributed to the criminalization of politics. For example, the Hausa have a well-institutionalized system where the godfather is known as “Maigida” (landlord or head of household). Godfathers reign across all spheres of the society: academics, legal, and religion environment. Therefore, the clamour for democracy in Nigeria is to improve both political and socio-economic situation of the country through massive involvement in the policy making, but reverse is the case as those that attained political power in both legislative and executive arms of government got to the seat of powers through the support of some political ‘godfathers’ in various states cum the center, however, the desire of political godfathers is to hold political and socio-economic powers both at the center cum the component units as mechanisms to politically influence the activities of political office holders, that is, the Governors and some Legislators in terms of appointing people into various positions, such as Ministers/Commissioners, Chairmen of the boards, Secretaries to the various Institutions, DPM and Treasurers of Local Governments as well as allocation of some developmental projects into various localities within the state or center as well.
Consequently, the impact of the godfathers on Nigeria’s general elections was unprecedented. Godfathers are those who have the security connections, extended local links, enormous financial weight to plot and determine the success of a power seeker at any level of a supposedly competitive politics. Although Godfatherism has an institutionalized feature in Nigerian politics over the years, its contemporary manifestations suggest that it has assumed epidemic proportions, becoming one of the greatest threats to democratic consolidation in Nigeria (Omotola, 2007, 135). The recent activities of some Nigerian godfathers could be likened to attributes of mafianism; however, some still see the existence of godfathers as the balancer of power in a democracy. Akinola (2009) believes in the need to have a good-hearted individual (people’s hero) at the sole realm of absolute power, a godfather distributes power as he deems, and anoints who rules. But, Godfatherism has taken a strange dimension in Nigeria’s political environment. It has become a menace pulling down the foundations of masses-driven governance, thereby denying Nigerians the much-deserved dividends of democracy. In essence, Godfatherism is a threat to the Nigerian democratic system in the fourth republic. It is on these premises that the research is being carried out.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Democracy could be better as compared to the Military Era before the fourth republic but, it has been characterized with Godfatherism, politicking of core government policies and programmes vis-à-vis interest of the masses. Furthermore, the current democratic system has been threatened with policy somersault, policy reversal, human right abuse, economic bondage and monumental corruption. It is against this backdrop that the research is being carried out with the intent of proffering solutions to the democratic challenges witnessed.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to examine the causes and effects of Godfatherism on Nigerian politics in the fourth republic. Other objectives include:
i. To identify the remote and immediate causes of Godfatherism on Nigerian politics.
ii. To expose the negative effects on the socio-economic lives of the citizens of Nigeria.
iii. To proffer solutions to the identified problems towards enhancing a just and an egalitarian society in Nigeria.
iv. To examine the factors responsible for the formation and sustenance of youth groups that constitute political war machines and their mode(s) of organization as agency of godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
1.5 Research Questions
1. In what ways can you suggest solutions to the identified problems towards enhancing a just and an egalitarian society in Nigeria?
2. What are the remote and immediate causes of Godfatherism and party polities inNigeria?
3. Does Godfatherism and party politics affect the socio-economic Lives of the citizens Nigeria?
4. How can these negative people be eradicated from Nigeria?
5. How can Godfatherism be stopped in Nigeria?
1.6 Significance of the Study
This material will strengthen the Democratic institution to eschew the system from Godfatherism and politicization of core government policies and programmes. This study will also proffer solutions to the identified problems towards enhancing a just and an egalitarian society in Nigeria.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
The study examines the influence of Godfatherism on Nigerian politics in the fourth republic (Role of education).
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Godfather: A man who is influential in a movement or organization, through providing support for it or through playing a leading or innovatory part in it.
Godfatherism: In political environment, it is meant to be a relationship existing between the political guardian who have a long experience of politics and a neophyte aspiring for government job.
Politics: The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
Fourth republic: The Fourth Republic is the republican government of Nigeria.
Republic: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
Education: The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.