Mankide: An End To Oyo Political Godfatherism By Odeh Henry
Politics in every part of the world is like a game since it is directly associated with numbers and volume of numbers controllable in ones or political party’s favour, it is therefore, not out of place to affirm that just like every other venture, a bit of mentorship from a political mentor may be necessary especially for new comers into public office who in other word may be referred to as rookies.
Political mentor, political godfather, or political godmother, all are mere numenclatures as they tend to serve the same purpose “mentorship” the nature and type of mentorship provided is therefore dependent on the political philosophy of such godfather or godmother. In the United States of America in recent past, former president Bill Clinton was seen to have played the key role of political godfather to former president Barrack Obama which saw the later’s successful two term of eight years administration, former president of South Africa Late Nelson Mandela was the political godfather to former president Thabo Mbeki, Pa Obafemi Awolowo also played such critical role to late Chief Bola Ige, late chief Lamidi Adedibu was also a political godfather to former governor Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja and chief Adebayo Alao Akala just to mention few but the impact of all these eras of political godfatherism can be measured through leadership and delivery of good or bad governance to the people therefore, if not the bastardisation and sheer abuse of such influence over others, a bit of political godfatherism aimed at providing guidance and direction in the political sphere is not out of place.
Not all aspirants to political office in Nigeria can raise on their own the substantial resources usually necessary for political competition in the country’s violent and corrupt political system—especially if they do not enjoy control over public resources to begin with. As a result, in many parts of Nigeria, successful candidates are often those who are sponsored by wealthy and powerful individuals referred in Nigerian parlance as political godfathers. These godfathers are not mere financiers of political campaigns. Rather they are individuals whose power stems not just from wealth but from their ability to deploy violence and corruption to manipulate national, state or local political systems in support of the politicians they sponsor. In return, they demand a part control of the government they help enthrone—not for love of the people or in order to shape government policies, but to exact direct financial returns. Former Oyo State governor Victor Olunloyo once explained the relationship between politicians and their “godfathers” this way: Money flows up and down…these honorable members (of the Oyo State House of Assembly) during the election period, they want the patronage of the puppeteer. Afterwards money will flow in the opposite direction—back from the puppet to the puppeteer. In some cases godfathers are themselves public officials, using their access to public funds to sponsor lower-level officials. Godfatherism is both a symptom and a cause of the violence and corruption that together permeate the political process in Nigeria. A public official who owes his position to the effort of a political godfather incurs a debt that he or she is expected to repay without end throughout his or her tenure in office.
It is from this backdrop that governor Seyi Makinde is adjudged by many analysts and political watchers to be the face of a new dawn in Oyo state politics as. This feat defeats the general notion that it is imposible to become the governor of the state without the strong backing of a political godfather, it also creates a new believe that with a collective resolve of the people to take a stand on a common goal, the people will always win against any will of a godfather. Governor Makinde’s emergence as the governor of Oyo state in the 2019 guber poll is not through the singular backing of any known political godfather in the state but through collaborative efforts and true resolve of the people therefore, the era of indebtedness to a political godfather through mismanagement of public wealth at the detriment of the people to the advantage of few is over as nobody can hold governor Makinde to any form of indebtedness as he governs the state hence, the immediate impact of good governance on the people through prompt payment of workers salaries, reconsideration of wrongly diamissed civil servants by immediate past administration, prompt payment of pensions to pensioners, continuation of road projects across the state as well as instituting new policies and programs that will advance the course of good governance. All these have been made possible because governor Makinde is a governor that is chosen by the people for the people.