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Author Name: Anthony Joseph Onoh
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Spurn of the Devil
Author: Anthony Joseph Onoh | December 25, 2009

"Godfatherism" in Nigerian politics has become more rampant in recent years. Irresponsible and self-centred men and women roam the streets of the US and the UK searching for upwardly mobile Nigerians to lure to their doom. They invite them to participate in elections and contest for a public office, with the argument: âNigeria needs people like you to heal the ills of her people'. Some have naively interpreted the invitation as a call to a noble cause, but the invitation only leads to doom. There have been many cases of "Godfathers", self-acclaimed elites, who have fallen out with their political puppets. The liaison between Chief Jim Nwobodo and Senator Chima Nnamani ended in disgrace. Both of them hail from the same county in the South-east of Nigeria and because of this loyalty was supposedly guaranteed. However, Senator Nnamani grew powerful and disloyal. Business as usual was quickly replaced by business as dictated by the Boss. Their acrimonious break-up was only a matter of time. When it happened, the newspaper screamed it to the world: "Nnamani and Nwobodo at logger heads". Jubilation filled the street as some saw it as a hope for a new and promising future. What many people did not envisage was how dangerous it would later become to let loose a power-drunken person like Nnamani. Enugu state was left in total disarray and social injustice reigned supreme. What thrived though was a strong propaganda machine aimed at manipulating public perception of the despicable ruin the state had become. In this case, the Godfather was disarmed, reduced to nothing and relegated to the league of silent observers. Like in the old American story of "wild wild west", there was a new sheriff in town, a new Godfather was born. Another ugly incident which involved two young men took place in Anambra State. The squabbles between Governor Ngige and Chief Chris Uba's reached the pages of the national news media. Uba being the Godfather was allegedly deceived by Ngige with an invalid resignation letter, a move to secure his investment in Ngige and guarantee the loyalty of his political "boy". Eventually, there was open confrontation and Governor Ngige was abducted allegedly with the complicity of the then state police chief. He was later found alive and their tussle ended with the removal of the governor by the electoral tribunal. His erstwhile Godfather Uba had testified that he master-minded the massive rigging that brought Ngige to power. The Godfather, in this case, was emboldened, strengthened and reinforced with more powers and he continued to operate outside the law. But the most notorious and perhaps the deadliest of all the "Godfatherism" episodes was the incident between Adedibu and Ladoja of Oyo state. Adedibu was a local chief, a motor park tout and a stark illiterate. Sources say that he only knew how much money he demanded from his political protégés, but never knew how to count the money. Adedibu was so vile, violent and feared by his political associates. One thing he never had was rivals. He was the powerful man of Ibadan politics. The removal of Ladoja from the office of the governor was arranged in a 48-hour coup style impeachment. However, the Supreme Court of Nigeria invalidated the whole process and restored Ladoja to office. Still, his political life was short-lived as he was removed from the party, forcing him to join a new political party with little influence and zero chance of attaining power. Eventually, Ladoja lost out and became a political cadaver. Why does "godfatherism" exist in Nigerian politics? Some say that it is a result of greed and insatiable craving for power. In my view, it has got nothing to do with greed or hunger for power; it has got to do with a society and a system that are so corrupt and inclined to embrace darkness. There is no light in the entire country. Constant power failure and absolute dark nights depict the name black (dark) Africa; so our heart is, dark, filthy and engulfed in so much secrecy. It has got to do with a society and a system that failed to create equal opportunities for its citizens, making it difficult for honest and hardworking persons to attain to positions of royalty and public responsibility. Godfatherism in Nigeria politics has got to do with the so-called elites who create chaos and the game of divide and rule. They manage and manipulate public information to create deceit. One only needs to have a few millions in a bank account to join the league of the elites in Nigeria. No academic qualification or verifiable achievement is needed. All it takes is money.

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