THE CONCEPT OF GOD-FATHERISM AND IT’S INFLUENCE ON NIGERIAN POLITICS AND POLITICIANS
1.1 Background to the study
The concept of godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigerian politics. Godfathers are generally defined as men who have the power personally to determine both who gets nominated to participate in elections and who wins the election. In the past, Nigerian society had less crime that the judicial systems have attempted to deal with. Lately, our legal systems can not deal with that because Nigerian society built criminals fast in the late 20th and early 21st centuries by practices of democratization and militarization, where the governing systems failed to deliver the other takes over. In democracy, one way that the government is breeding criminals is by sponsoring godfatherism. Godfathers in Nigeria is a subject that has not been given sufficient attention until recent coup that exposed Chief Chris Uba, former head of the political godfather, Dr. Chris Ngige among political criminals is behind the election or selection of most of our state governors and other legislators. Apparently it seems most of our state governors are funded by this caliber of person and for those funded by their sponsors enter the offices now have enormous power in the respective states. In a political context, the concept is an ideology that is defended on the belief that some people possess considerable resources to unilaterally determine who get the ticket of a party to run for election and who wins in the electoral competition. Gambo (2009) argues that the sponsors are men who have the ‘power’ and influence to decide who nominated context of elections and who wins the election. In this sense, means godfatherism office seekers connect to a person who is supposed to have the ability to provide a desired result in an electoral competition. It is traditional for the search for a political father to help promote political aspiration of one. Bassey and Enetak (2008) conceptualized godfatherism to describe the power and influence of people who are politically relevant to decide who gets nominated to contest elections and who eventually wins the election. Sponsors are politically very mobile and can influence the political support to the political party / or candidate behind which they throw their political weight. Those who play godfatherism are known as sponsors, while those who benefit from their kindness are known as referrals. The advent of godfatherism in Nigerian partisan politics dates back to the First Republic when the leaders of the three main political parties (Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Action Group (AG) and the Nigerian Citizens National Congress (NCNC) downline carefully and meticulously cultivated they believed would improve the welfare of citizens. According Uzoamaka (2010), Ahmadu Bello NPC, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo of the NCNC AG were motivated to do not to use referrals as substitutes to promote parochial interests, but to promote people’s development aspirations. Unlike the current crop of political godfathers, the first generation of sponsors were essentially benign and progressive because they abuse their status sponsors imposing excessive demands on their downline as is the case today. Literally sponsors are seen in Nigeria to be men who have the power personally to determine both who is designated to participate in elections and who wins in a state. Those employed in the bureaucracy and those who get robust assignments and deployments.