The Edo Example of Demystification of godfatherism in Nigerian Politics

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The Edo Example of Demystification of godfatherism in Nigerian Politics
Nwolu Obiajulu

The outcome of the Edo State governorship election has sent shock and excitement down the spine of many Nigerians depending on one’s political affiliation.

But one fact that proponents of varying political factions tend to align with is the fact that a new order has been established, not just in Edo State or Southern Nigeria but across the country. One golden rule of exceling in politics in Nigeria has always been never to outshine the master but governor Godwin Obaseki has not just outshined his master nor only sent him into political oblivion, for the time being at least but demonstrated uncommon bravery and determination to faceoff against federal might.

The victory of Obaseki at the poll on Saturday was a clear indication to political godfathers that the mandate to determine political office holders now truly lies where it should- with the people. It was testament to the fact that indeed power resides with the people. Edo State has set a new example worthy of emulation.

Prior to the election, several All Progressive Congress (APC) bigwigs had backed Osagie Ize-Iyamu to clinch the top spot in the election. Prominent among them were Ize-Iyamu’s chief promoter, Adams Oshiomhole and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu. Oshiomhole who handpicked Obaseki to succeed him in 2016 had hoped that he could replicate the masterstroke that propelled Obaseki to victory to oust him this time around. Tinubu on the other hand, was a firm supporter of Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy. He released a video clip before the election urging Edo electorates to reject Obaseki at the poll. Tinubu who described himself as the leader of all democrats despite political affiliation, said that Obaseki having not been part of the struggle to entrench democracy was not well placed to safeguard it.

The APC’s resolve to reclaim the state was not just backed by mere words and rhetoric, but being the party at the center and having dominated the state up till the point Obaseki decamped due to being disqualified, the party had the bragging right going into the election.

However, the outcome of the election has justified PDP’s mantra in the election that indeed Edo is not Lagos. Recall that prior to the 2019 governorship election, governor Akinwunmi Ambode missed out on a second term in office after been denied his party’s ticket. Incumbent governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was favoured for the position. Political watchers attributed Ambode’s ordeal to a fallout with Tinubu who is a heavyweight in Lagos politics.   

The mantra deployed by the PDP was similar to that which the APC used to dislodge the Saraki dynasty in Kwara State in 2019. During the governorship election, Tinubu and Lai Mohammed had championed the “Ó tó gé” slogan in kwara State which literally means enough is enough. The slogan was used to urge electorates in the state to endorse a new political era. The APC succeeded in using the mantra to dislodge the PDP and Saraki endorsed candidate, Razak Atunwa. It paved way for the emergence of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as Governor of the state.

The Edo state example not only tolls same path but sends a warning signal to other states which are controlled by godfathers that the era of godfatherism in Nigerian politics has come to a close.

Obaseki’s emergence and its implication for Nigerian politics was well captured by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in a statement released yesterday where he said, “There is a wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force. Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces, from Kaura Namoda to Lagos. The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers or despots.”

Truly, if Nigeria is to attain a reputable stake in the league of democratic nations, people power should and must be put above every other factor. It is hoped that the masses will reap more dividends of democracy if people power remains the ultimate power. Political office holders will endorse people centered policies and developmental strides when they know and fear that the masses will rise in unison against them if they fail to perform.

Now that Obaseki has succeeded in sweeping away detractors, it is expected that he will channel the resources of the state towards achieving sustainable people oriented developmental strides in the state.




This post was written by Nwolu Obiajulu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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