Who will check the excesses of the godfathers?
The Democracy Day celebration on June 12 was a gloomy one for the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his loyalists, as the Professor Jonathan Ayuba-led Screening Committee of APC in Edo State disqualified him from contesting in the party’s direct primary election scheduled for June 22. The governor alongside other two aspirants – Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, have been prevented from participating in the fast approaching primaries based on discrepancies in names and certificates. While this defective names and results sound as formal reasons to stall the governor from contesting the governorship election under APC platform, the fact remains that it is the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole playing out his cards of hegemony, to politically handicap his former protégé.
The political battle between the duo has been obstinate for a while. Like all rifts witnessed between the godfathers and their protégés usually caused as a result of breach in agreement, this one is not totally unrelated. Unfortunately at the moment the more influential player of the game is the one wielding his big stick.
The war between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki has been hinged on the alleged unfair treatment that Oshiomhole’s supporters leveled against the governor. When Obaseki was sworn-in, he quickly introduced new rules and regulations banning politicians who have no business to Government House from gaining access. Some of Oshiomhole’s proponents including former youth leader of the party, Osakpamwan Eriyo and the leader of the youths in the State Tony Kabaka were used as scapegoats, as one was remanded in prison and the other removed as the revenue collector and Edo state chairman for Road Transport Employee Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
As the matter stands, what played out in favour of Obaseki in 2016 when Oshiomhole endorsed him to be the APC flag bearer in the governorship election at the expense of the former deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu; and others including Osarodion Ogie, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere and Kenneth Imasuagbon, has repeated itself. Presently, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is the politically anointed stooge of Oshiomohole and his faction. The coming primary election is a dead rubber.
The question we should ask: are political godfathers indispensable for the democratic process? Are their roles magnanimous in helping shape our political system to the extent that nothing could be done to avert it? Who should be held responsible for many woes of this country, godfathers, or godsons? Is their fight in the interest of the populace or battle of supremacy between the political gladiators? How long will our country endure this gory experience of rifts among godfathers and their understudies? How do the masses come in to rescue the understudies if found guiltless? Are godfathers a check to the exuberance of their stooges as some quarters claim? How do the masses get involved in the fight for the progress of our dear nation? The questions are endless! But, their answers are unsubstantial!
Democracy is freedom for everyone, but it is a different ball game in Nigeria. Democracy in Nigeria has been hijacked to settle scores among the elite and oppress the common people. The evidence is what is seen among our politicians, especially the god fathers. How are we going to fare as a people if godfathers take the affairs of the federation? They accord themselves the roles of king makers seeking unjust tributes from their subjects. How will the commonwealth of the people be evenly distributed if there are Tinubus of Lagos and Oshiomholes of Edo in our states who dictate the matters of government to their advantage?
While the country is watching the next game plan Obaseki takes to triumph over his former boss whom he has described as an “interested party in Edo politics,” it is also imperative that the masses should pitch their tents to either the godfathers or their protégés. If power is truly vested with the people, the masses should then begin to align themselves to support the politicians working to better their means of livelihood. It is high time the populace desisted from queuing behind the godfathers that can terminate the good works of the governors they voted to govern them. This can be done when they begin to reject imposition of candidates on them. There is more to politics than the excesses of godfathers. The dividends of politics are seen when people choose their leaders without the influence of godfathers.