In an attempt to identify reasons behind politicians’ continued grip to power even at the proxy, Lanre Shodimu attempts to compare the ordeals of two former Governors, Oshiomole and Saraki, who assumed the status of godfathers and their subsequent travails.
Politics remains an avenue which legitimises power in any given democracy.
Since the advent of Nigeria’s fourth Republic, one reoccurring decimal in the country’s political lexicon is the concept of “godfatherism”.
This writeup is limited to two estranged godfathers, even though several of them exist in Nigeria’s political sphere.
First is Oshiomole, currently one of the key political actors in the forthcoming Edo Gubernatorial Election and most likely on the verge of losing his “godfatherism” status depending on the outcome of the election in few weeks time.
Saraki is the other politician known for his godfatherism’ figure in Nigeria politics.
Oshiomole, a former labor leader who became prominent on that basis, as a Governor, was known for some of his sectoral reforms in the state, and also, lots of ‘red roof’ schools were built in the state as a Governor.
He(Oshiomole) brought Obaseki to political reckoning through his rigorous campaign until he eventually won the election for him(Obaseki).
As with most relationships between godfathers and their godsons, things fell apart and the center couldn’t hold, and Oshiomole began to cry of betrayal. In fact, Obaseki was one of the brains behind the ouster of Oshiomole as APC Chairman.
Today Oshiomole has ‘eaten his words’ and has gone back to pick up and endorse a man he mercilessly battered and called all sorts of the name just to oust Obaseki and teach him bitter political lessons.
Saraki, today, has gone into political oblivion, being also a former Governor, Saraki has been a godfather of Kwara politics to the extent that he once upturned the decision of his father, late Olushola Saraki from picking his sister(Gbemi) as a candidate to succeed him.
Saraki’s political influence and the dynasty were therefore dismantled in the last dispensation.
Comparing both of them therefore, Saraki has a fertile and more robust political life than Oshiomole having been handed over a political dynasty by late Dad.
In the case of Oshiomole, he worked his ways through the political ladder and relevance and won the heart of the people through the instrumentality of trade unionism.
Saraki commanded more respect and relevance from his godsons than Oshiomole. Oshiomole couldn’t separate unionism from politics. He, therefore, wasn’t diplomatic enough in handling tough political decisions through diplomacy.
Saraki’s dynasty and godfatherism were dismantled through a bloodless and mild revolution with a toga ‘outage’ which the opposition Federal Government capitalized on, just to oust him.
Oshiomole’s dictatorial leadership pitched him against lots of his party members and sizeable number ganged up with his godson(obaseki) to oust him as APC Chairman.
While Saraki is currently in political sabbatical and/or oblivion, he still wields political influence in a sizeable part of Kwara State because of the legacy and structure left behind by his late father.
Oshiomole may have to battle for long to remain relevant in Edo politics, especially if he lost to PDP’s Obaseki, his estranged godson.
In all, whatever opinion is held concerning politics of ‘godfatherism’ in Nigeria, in time to come, godfatherism may soon become irrelevant in Nigeria’s political lexicon, because of the spate of betrayals by godsons who often crave for freedom in making their decisions, as they assume the position of authority and power.