Has the just concluded election in Edo state shown that the era of ‘godfatherism’ now a thing of the past?
Without any doubt, the presence of ‘godfatherism’ in Nigeria’s political process and administration has done more harm than good including creating a crisis of confidence in elected officials, loss of faith in democratic government and an increasing frustration at government.
‘Godfatherism’ has significantly increased the frustration at the irrelevance of individual’s vote in Nigeria’s election and a political process in which vested interest predominate, relegating public interest and influencing the outcome of public policies to the interest of few individuals (godfathers) to the detriment of the Nigerian populace.
Many Nigerians including former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, have opined that the re-election of Gov. Godwin Obaseki in Edo state presaged the end of ‘godfatherism’ in Nigeria politics.
There had been a protracted quarrel between Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, who helped Obaseki to succeed him as governor in 2016, against all the odds. The two fell apart politically shortly after Mr Obaseki assumed office. Against that backdrop, political analysts had said the governor’s second term ambition may be thwarted and even prevent the APC from winning the just concluded election in Edo state.
Oshiomole had denied Obaseki a second term ticket on the platform of the APC, which led to the eventual exit of the governor from the ruling party. In return, Obaseki as the incumbent governor, orchestrated the suspension of Oshiomhole in Etsako Ward 10 before exiting the APC. This eventually led to the former governor’s sack as the national chairman of APC.
According to Atiku Abubakar, the election marked a new dawn in Edo. He said: “There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria.” The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot withstand the new wind of change.
“The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers or despots,” he added.
Obaseki’s victory goes beyond the usual. It was a hard-won victory that portrays independence from the anti-democratic forces and the godfatherism which has retarded the progress of democracy in Nigeria and dominated governance.
Do we see Nigeria returning to the era when eligibility, merit and people minded persons control politics?
Has the Edo election shown that good governance can be practiced in a viable democratic manner against the money-bag-dominated politics determined by godfathers?
Obaseki’s victory against all odds, including Oshiomhole investing everything in ensuring that his preferred candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged victorious in the governorship election, is complete and final. Nigerians are hoping that such is replicated across the country in subsequent elections and at the national level.