By Eric Elezuo
The philosophy of godfatherism has remained a recurring decimal in Nigeria’s political terrain, and there is nothing in the offing that shows its end is near.
As the country goes to the polls to elect new governors and attempt to renew the mandate of quite a good number of others, it is imperative to note that political godfathers are playing prominent roles in the system.
It is worthy of note that most godfathers of this dispensation are mostly ex-governors, and in some instances a few of them are serving governors whose tenures will end on May 29, 2019.
It has become a culture for governors to plant their stooges in office while leaving – a move political observers have said is meant to keep their secrets secret. However, some of the governors, who are cut in this web, have maintained that the essence is to keep the ‘good works’ they started going. They reasoned that it would be best to let someone who will hear instruction to take over from them for sustainability.
In 2019, here is a roll call of godfathers who have direct impact in the governorship elections:
Okorocha is the outgoing Governor of Imo State, and a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is successfully completing a two terms of eight years in office. He is presenting to the Imo people his son-in-law, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as his replacement. Okorocha is not making a drama of his choice, and is almost forcing the Imo people to take his choice hook line and sinker.
Nwosu was former the Chief of Staff of the Rachas Okorocha Foundation and a former commissioner in the state. He is married to Okorocha’s daughter.
A medical doctor by training, Dr. Saraki has an intimidating political profile. In the first instance, he is the son of the former strongman of Kwara politics, Chief Olusola Saraki, and practically continued from where his father stopped.
Saraki was a two terms former governor of Kwara State, two terms senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, one of which he served as the Senate President among other intimidating political assignments he had undertaken.
In the Kwara guber election, Saraki is frontally backing Mr. Razak Atunwa under the PDP umbrella. He single handedly brought Ahmed Abdulfatah on board as the governor.
Saraki’s lordship over Kwara State may suffer a huge blow if he fails in his quest to make Atunwa governor as he has lost his seat in the senate following electoral defeat.
Akpabio is a two terms former Governor of Akwa Ibom State. He defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in August 2018. His defection did notgo down well with his people, who rejected him at the polls as he also lost his seat in the senate to his elsewhile deputy, Chris Ekpeyong.
Akpabio is backing a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere.
In 2015, he supported the incumbent governor, Udom Emmanuel to become governor, but the two fell apart following Akpabio’s defection to the APC. and Emmanuel’s refusal to join him.
He is the leader of the group, Kwankwasiyya Movement and a former two terms governor of Kano State. He supported and installed his deputy, Abdullahi Ganduje as governor in 2015. The duo has since fallen apart with each other following irreconcilable differences, leading to the defection of Kwankwaso to the Peoples Democratic Party.
In the 2019 election, Kwankwaso is backing Abba Kabir Yusuf of the PDP, and hopes to clip the wings of the incumbent governor, Ganduje, as far as Kano politics is concerned.
BOLA AHMED TINUBU
He is probably the longest serving godfather who bestows the politics of Lagos State like a Collosus. Tinubu, like those above, is also a two term governor, who ruled Lagos State between 1999 and 2007. Ever since he left office, Tinubu had not only had a hand in choosing who becomes the governor of the state, but is the sole decider of what whatever happens in Lagos politically.
Verifiable proof says he handpicked Mr. Babatunde Fashola who ruled after him as well as the outgoing governor who he also denied second term in office, Akinwunmi Ambode.
The choice of Babajide Sanwo-Olu was strictly his to make after he pulled the carpet off Ambode’s feet. Though today, a lot of people are challenging his lordship, he still remains the be all and end all of Lagos politics.
Senator Amosun is also a two term governor of Ogun State, and has been elected senator for the nineth assembly. He has as his anointed a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon Adekunle Akinlade. A member of the sixth assembly, Amosun is bent on ensuring that his candidate becomes governor after even to the extent of supporting him to another party when his party failed to give him ticket following an election loss.
Also a former governor of Ogun State, Osoba is solidly giving his support to millionaire oil magnate, Mr. Dapo Abiodun. He is pitched against the incumbent govenor Amosun whose tent is pitched with Akinlade.