Mar 16, 2019 | 01:23 am | 20
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Democracy across the globe has been replicated with popular participation in the political process of a nation-state. Virtually every nation-state has embraced the principle of democracy due to the fact that peoples interest and rights are sustained in its experimentation. But in Nigeria today, democracy has assumed the form of prebendalism. What this depicts in practical reality is that state power is treated as conjures of offices which can be competed for, appropriated and then administered for the benefit of individual occupants and their support groups. The official public purpose of the office then becomes a secondary concern or thought and loosing priorities, however much that purpose might have been originally cited in its establishment during the periodic competition to occupy it. With these, there is no doubt that the procurement of office of a state has moved from the reward for loyal service to that of all the pecuniary of office of a state.
Therefore, Joseph clientelism that is patron-client relationship becomes more appropriate. Clientelism occurs when an individual seeks out patrons as he or she moves upward politically, socially and materially. Such individuals also come to accept tie of solidarity from their own clients which they view as fundamental to the latters security and continued advancement as well as their own. Clientelism is the very channel through which one joins the dominant class and a practice which is then seen as fundamental to the continued enjoyment of the prerequisites of that class (Joseph, 1991).
Thus, Godfatherism as presently constituted is a relationship existing between father and the protégé, which is usually in monetary terms I bankroll your electioneering campaign and you pay me back some expected government patronage, while in an elected office. This is a witty, necrotic manifestation of the deadly deeds of a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the superstructure of our society politically, socially, legally, culturally and socially which has in turn undermined democratic sustainability in Nigeria (Paul-Sewa, 2004).
The politics of Godfatherism in Nigeria is not new, though it recently gained prominence. It is a phenomenon that has helped those in need of ride to politics. In the first and second republic, the political parties focused on credibility manifestoes and programmes of the parties. If anyone wanted to contest election, he need not seek for a Godfather but he must belong to a political party, tested and trusted before he could be eligible for election into any political office. The phenomenon of Godfatherism has assumed this unusual form since the transition to democracy of the Nigerias fourth Republic on May 29, 1999.
It started with the acrimony that existed between late Dr. Olusola Saraki (Godfather) and Alhaji. Mohammed Lawal (Protégé), the Governor of Kwara State from May 1999 to 2003. Dr. Olusola Saraki was purported to have endorsed the candidature of Lawal against other contenders as the Governor of the state and also sponsored his campaign expenses. But Lawal failed to bow to his Godfather haven assumed the mantle of leadership by giving him adequate government patronage and by acting in other ways as loyal Godson. This precipitated into the tussle for supremacy between Saraki and Lawal which seriously affected good governance in the state and which also brought unprecedented violence into the hitherto peaceful state. This scenario continued until 2003 when the Governor was voted out of office through the use of political might of Dr. Saraki, who eventually enthroned his son as the Governor (Sunday Vanguard, September 28, 2003).
Furthermore, a similar episode unfolded itself between Dr. Jim Nwobodo (Godfather) and Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (Godson) of Enugu State, though the Godson eventually subdued the Godfather after fierce struggle for the sole control of the state. However, during the second term of President Olusegun Obansanjo, the issue of Godfatherism became more alarming and dangerous to the survival of Nigerias fledgling democracy. In Oyo State, south-west of Nigeria, Adedibu (Godfather) and Ladoja (Godson), battle for the soul of Oyo, this affected the democratic sustainability in the state and re-enacted political violence (The Source, August 4, 2003).
The most absurdly-fascinating demonstration of Godfatherism in Nigeria republic was the abduction of an elected Executive Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige. The reason for the bizarre abduction of the intelligent medical doctor, who could not mobilize the billions required for the election of a governor was that he has signed a resignation letter ahead of the election if he, within the first three months of being in office as the governor failed to pay some unspecified billions of naira to his Godfather, Chris Uba (News Watch, April 27, 2003).
Thus the removal of Dr. Chris Ngige on July 10, 2003 as the Executive Governor of Anambra State by the team of police officers led by Assistant Inspector General, Raphael Ige (now late), was an implementation of this agreement. This abduction and subsequent development in the state keeping spinning arrows that hit the hearts of our democracy from the judiciary to the legislature, all the three arms of government are quick to wobble under the pressure of private individual who feel that with their money they can get away with just about anything they can contemplate (News watch, May 26, 2003).
The Sagas between Godfather-Godson crises in Nigeria do not only portend great danger to our democratic experiment but also on the very essence and validity of our existence as a nation. The billions of naira expended by Nigerian Godfathers for bankrolling the election of their Godson, have totally monetized election in Nigeria, which automatically dissuades men of honour, character and integrity from holding elected public positions.
Nigerian politics has reached this zenith negatively due to poor ideology and display of money-bag politics in the society. Emeka (2003), subscribe to this fact when he asks rhetorically that, how many capable hand in Nigeria have money to go into elections? While referring to Anambra State, he argues that in the state, once you do not have plenty of money, you are only to be seen and not to be heard, to the extent that some of the money bags who bear some grudges against you may decide that you are not even supposed to be seen in virtually all political ramifications.
Godfatherism as currently experienced is a threat to Nigerias democracy yet it is also indispensable. Bozimo (2004), without hesitation pointed out categorically that politics and political power do not come cheap and those Who want to be Governors and President must realize this cold fact- money talks, money rules and money are power, any other criterion balderdash and you might just be wasting your sweetness in the political dessert. More so, Godfatherism is not alien to politics in Nigeria. However, evidence has shown that the prevalence of the phenomenon in the fourth republic has dire implications for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that the research study seeks to examine the nature, causes and dimension of Godfatherism in the Nigerian fourth republic and explain its implications for the democratic process in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The nature and character of Godfatherism in Nigerian politics and its effect on democratic sustainability has become an important national issue; understandingly, it has generated a lot of actions as well as corresponding reaction from different sections of the society. This is due to the impact it has on Nigerias fledgling democracy and socio-political life of the citizenry in general.
Most Nigerians have a paradox view about the phenomenon of Godfatherism in politics. They regard it as antithetical to socio-economic development and viable democracy. Their skepticism is based on the premise that the Godfathers who made it possible for their Godson to ride to political power do so for their own personal interest and not for the national or state interest. This is viewed as indirect way of transferring the act of government to the control of private investors, on the other hand, it is tantamount to putting the face of citizenry to the hands of such investors or sponsors. This goes by the saying that he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
More so, another reason why Nigeria is adduced to the politics of Godfatherism is the fact that politics is seen as a means of transfer of public wealth to the hands of the political oligarchies in the state. The Godfathers regard their political patronage as an investment that must yield returns probably in an unquantifiable fold at the expense of the masses vis-à-vis the democratic sustenance of the nation. The greediness and corrupt practices of these political Godfathers has rendered their Godson to puppet status and ineffective in their administration. This inevitably result to a situation whereby the state civil servants resort to several days of fasting and prayers and subsequently strike for their several months of salary arrears to be paid cum shortage or absence of basic social amenities to the populace where there is infrastructural and institutional decay.
It is therefore imperative to examine the phenomenon of Godfatherism on politics in Nigeria through the following questions:
What are the impacts of Godfatherism on politics in Nigeria?
Has the politics of Godfatherism helped to improve democratic sustainability in Nigeria?
Can a cordial relationship be fostered between patronclient relationships in Nigeria?
Does the politics of Godfatherism have any implication on democratic sustainability in Nigeria?
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
What is the impact of Godfatherism on politics in Nigeria?
To what extend has the politics of Godfatherism helped to improve democratic consolidation in Nigeria?
How can a cordial relationship be fostered between patron client relationship on Nigeria politics?
What are the implications of Godfatherism on democratic consolidation, with emphasis on Nigerias fourth republic?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to examine the implications of Godfatherism on sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. The specific objectives include:
To examine the impact of Godfatherism on politics in Nigeria.
To examine the extent to which politics of Godfatherism has helped to improve democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
How a cordial relationship can be fostered between patron client relationships on politics in Nigeria.
To explore the implications of Godfatherism on democratic consolidation with emphasis on Nigerias fourth republic.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The relevance of the study is fascinating due to its currency to the period in which Nigeria is experiencing the phenomenon of Godfatherism.
The study is also propelled due to the urgent need to address the ugly development that is creeping dangerously into the Nigerian body polity.
The study will serve as a guide to students and researchers who are interested in Nigeria government and politics in relation to the phenomenon of Godfatherism.
The study will enhance further research in the area under investigation It will also stand as a contribution to already existing literature on the subject matter of Godfatherism.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work for obvious reasons will be limited to Nigeria with particular emphasis on its fourth republic due to the fact that Godfatherism has dominated the centre stage more than elsewhere in the country. Where necessary, references will be made to the constitutional immunity that protects the Governors from any act made to the other across the country for the sake of elucidation.
In a work of this nature, constraints are inevitable. These hurdles includes to a large extent financial, and resource materials on the topic.
But thanks to God Almighty, my guardian and my project supervisor for the divine, financial and moral support to challenge these constraints.
1.7 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
Some of the terms to be operationalized are: Godfatherism, Clientelism, Prebendalism, Patron-Client relationship and Democracy.
Godfatherism: This refers to those who make things happen positively. They are those people who staked their personality, goodwill, integrity as well as their financial might to bear a particular person; In fact they are political investors (Ibrahim, 2003) cited in (Okoye, 2007).
The Phenomenon of Godfatherism in Politics: This means in a nutshell a remarkable person who makes it possible for another person to attain political power by whatever means.
Clientelism: This is the service, help or sponsorship which the Godfather offers to the Godson to get to power (political power).
Prebendalism: It is the stipends or benefits that the Godfather expects from the Godson after gaining political power with the support of the Godfather.
Patron-Client Relationship: It is a special case that involve two persons ties in which a largely instrumental friendship of individual of higher socio-economic status (patron) uses his own influence and resources to provide protection or benefit or both for a person of lower status (client), who for his part reciprocate by offering general support and assistance, including personal services to the nation.
Democracy: It is a system of government where citizens gain political power directly or indirectly through their elected representatives. But according to Nwabueze (1992) (cited in Okoye, 2007), he defines democracy as a form of government which recognizes, and indeed institutionalizes the people as the fountain of power, and enables them, by means of elections at frequent intervals on a universal adult suffrage franchise to choose and mandate those to govern a form of government in which the public good or the welfare of the people is the subject.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF STUDY
This research work shall be divided into five chapters, with chapter one been the introduction constituting, the background to the study, statement of problem, research question, objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope and limitations, conceptual clarification and the organization of study.
Chapter two shall specifically review relevant literature as well as the theoretical framework and its relevance, while chapter three will dwell on the research methodology. Chapter four shall be centered on Godfatherism and democratic sustainability in Nigeria with emphasis on the fourth republic. The final chapter shall unveil the summary, conclusion and recommendations, followed by a list of bibliography.