By Shotonwa Waheed.
The name ‘Ambode’ is a familiar nomenclature to many Lagosians and even citizens from other states of the country who are cognisant of the political occurrences in the country.
Let’s go down history line. Mr Akinwunmi Ambode is the erstwhile governor of the state filled with aquatic splendor and the economic capital of West Africa, Lagos from 2015 to 2019 under the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) with the “Itesiwaju Eko, lo je wa logun” slogan.
For the first time in the history of the state, a sitting governor could not vie to retain his seat foppr a second term. One major cause is the crisis he had with his party, APC who chose him amongst more than 10 governorship aspirant in 2014. Issues with his benefactors contributed to his political downfall in the state without getting to contest the seat or move on with other appointments like his predecessor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), a serving minister of the federation.
“No to godfatherism” was obvious from the actions of his administration without giving due regard to those who worked hard to secure the seat for him. Before going further, few days after the June 12 Democracy Day, precisely 14th day of June was the 57th birthday celebration of the individual named Akinwunmi Ambode. No media coverage, no publicity et al as we usually have for others.
Though borrowed from a religious background, a godfather, politically, could be an individual who has over time built his reputation in a political party and has influence on both the party and the society at large. Political godfathers are simply a set of individuals one could run to for nurturing, guidance and leading.
Nigerian political system basically has been designed in a way that it is somewhat difficult to contest an election without some persons being ahead of you to showcase your loyalty and they indicate their interest in you. The existing structures in parties says it all.
Fighting or even trying to biting the finger that feeds one, figuratively speaking, is near impossible because the individual, before rising to the position of being a godfather would have being well established, experienced and structured.
Without going far, the present case of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State would flash through the mind having made efforts to ‘destroy the finger that ate CORN with him’. Governor Obaseki in 2016 was the anointed candidate, amidst vast majority of others, of former Governor of the state and present National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole.
Did I just say Anointed?, Yes anointed, coupled with the interest of many other top members of the party and the then Governor’s interest in him and roles played prior and during the election. The whole of the Edo North senatorial district was delivered to spur him to the seat he presently occupies.
Crisis loomed and was well fueled amongst the duo of godfather and godson and it was that point the Governor, Obaseki knows he wants to abolish godfatherism in the state which he is a beneficiary?
This needs to be gotten straight and clear, ‘You can’t destroy a system that made you’ not to talk of ‘you establishing yourself as one’. The same system and principle he bids to abolish is what he is indirectly and consciously erecting. Once the reach, power and influence wielded by Oshiomole is subdued, who becomes the leader in the state?.
How can you claim to abolish godfatherism in your State by reliving all appointees loyal to the erstwhile Governor and bringing on board your loyalists if you are not aiming to be the sole commander of the state and state party affairs.
Just as the political irrelevance that have become of the ‘Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko’ man who did not even go to this extreme against the powers that be, same is obvious for the ‘GO Further Together’ man in Edo State who knew no boundaries in speech, writing and action.
An attempt to destroy one’s godfather would obviously take some time and the failure shows one’s end politically is looming and near. As we have Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, so there exist Politically Displaced Persons who eventually become politically irrelevant and silenced.
*Waheed, a journalist, can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on our opinion page are those of the writer and do not represent the position of INSIDER or any of its reporters/editors.