February 24, 2024

Politics of godfatherism has been the main point of  political  instability  in  Africa  and  other developing countries around  the globe,  and has remained one of the greatest  glitches facing the Nigerian  political  system  since  the  country’s return  of  democratic  rule  in  1999  to  date. Although  party  machine  politics  is  not  an unfamiliar  phenomenon  in  Nigerian  political history,  the  country  has  seen  an  increase  in  it since  returning  to  democratic  rule,  which continues  to  weaken  government authority  and rendering citizens’ voting value meaningless. Its practice  has  not  only  retarded  the  process  of democratic  consolidation  in  Nigeria,  but  also undermines  effective  state  governance  and restricts  rather  than  broadens  democratic representation.   “Politics  of godfatherism  in  Nigerian politics  has eaten deep into the country’s political space and economy. It has led to political slavery, puppetry leadership,  dogmatic  citizenship,  and  denies peaceful coexistence, law and order, and  all the tenets of  democratic process  in  the country”   It has  become a  scary phenomenon  in Nigerian politics  and  democratization  process  and  has remained  amongst  the  most  dangerous challenges to democracy today.   In other words, politics of godfatherism has had far reaching dire consequences  for  Nigeria’s  democratization process.  It  has  a  profound  impact  on  society, leading  to  a  lack  of  accountability,  pervasive corruption,  and economic  mismanagement.  The wellbeing of the  populace is subordinated  to the private  desires  of  political  elites,  who  bear  the brunt of these power battles

Politics  of godfatherism  in  Nigerian politics  has eaten deep into the country’s political space and economy. It has led to political slavery, puppetry leadership,  dogmatic  citizenship,  and  denies peaceful coexistence, law and order, and  all the tenets of  democratic process  in  the country”  q It has  become a  scary phenomenon  in Nigerian politics  and  democratization  process  and  has remained  amongst  the  most  dangerous challenges to democracy today.   In other words, politics of godfatherism has had far reaching dire consequences  for  Nigeria’s  democratization process.  It  has  a  profound  impact  on  society, leading  to  a  lack  of  accountability,  pervasive corruption,  and economic  mismanagement.  The wellbeing of the  populace is subordinated  to the private  desires  of  political  elites,  who  bear  the brunt of 1these power battles.  

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Wike was a strong ally of Amaechi, serving as his Chief of Staff in his first tenure between 2007 and 2011. But their friendship turned sour when Amaechi said he observed his dictatorial tendencies and appointed Mr Tony Okocha as his replacement in his second tenure and had Wike elevated to the centre, where he was appointed Minister of State for Education.

Amaechi’s calculation that ‘shipping’ Wike to Abuja would displace his budding political career turned out to be the then governor’s worst political nightmare, as Wike got to Abuja and plotted to decimate Amaechi’s structure.

He was further emboldened to fight Amaechi following the crisis between the then governor and then First Lady, Patience Jonathan. Amaechi had threatened to demolish the Okrika waterfront, the ancestral home of Mrs Jonathan and the faceoff between the duo metamorphosed to former President Jonathan allegedly getting Wike to cripple Amaechi’s structure in Rivers State when the relationship between the governor and the First Family became frosty.

Wike and Amaechi’s political relationship finally crumbled when Wike’s allies, through controversial judicial circumstances, wrestled the state PDP executive structure from pro-Amaechi’s executive. This culminated in Amaechi defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with some of his men, including Magnus Abe, with the PDP’s structure firmly under Wike’s grip.

The political brawl among Amaechi, Wike and Abe has exacerbated, as the state’s three political actors are apparently still enraged at one another and throwing venom, which is seriously affecting developments in the state.

Fubara, Wike’s sudden crack

PRIOR to this year’s March 18 governorship election, about seven aspirants indicated interest in the race on the platform of PDP, including Felix Obuah, Isaac Kamalu and the current Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo, among others.

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However, Fubara, former accountant general of the state, who was handpicked by Wike, emerged as the party’s candidate, and eventually won the governorship election, all thanks to Wike.However, political observers knew that the marriage between Wike and Fubara might not last. In fact, a top PDP chieftain from Opopo-Nkoro, Fubara’s hometown, confided in The Guardian two weeks after the election that in less than two years

However, political observers knew that the marriage between Wike and Fubara might not last. In fact, a top PDP chieftain from Opopo-Nkoro, Fubara’s hometown, confided in The Guardian two weeks after the election that in less than two years, the governor would no longer operate as a “slave”.

It is, however, not surprising that the relationship between the duo turned sour so quickly and the sad aftermath started manifesting on Sunday, October 29 and reached boiling point on Monday, October 30, when it became unbearable for the governor.

It was alleged that Wike insisted that 25 per cent of all state allocations be remitted to him, even as he is also said to be deciding what happens and who gets what in the state, including when the governor should travel or not.

Wike was also alleged to have kicked against some of the governor’s programmes and policies, especially the revamping of Songhai Farm, which was initiated by Amaechi, renovation of the state secretariat, among others.

Fubara, unable to continue tolerating the alleged overbearing nature of his godfather, was said to have resisted some of Wike’s decisions. And the disagreement led to the orchestrated impeachment of the governor by first removing the former House Leader, Edison Ehie, who is said to have frustrated earlier moves to oust the governor, forced the deputy governor, Prof. Ngozi Ordu, to resign, and then install the ‘Speaker, Martins Amaehule, who is also an Ikwere man like Wike, as governor.

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The plot, The Guardian gathered, encouraged some political thugs to burn the hallowed chamber of the state Assembly complex on Sunday night. The following morning, the House Majority Leader Edison Ehie was removed during an emergency sitting by lawmakers loyal to Wike.bLess than an hour after the drama, Ehie emerged a parallel speaker, having secured votes of lawmakers loyal to Fubara during a plenary session held at Government House, Port Harcourt.

While the drama lasted, the Police allegedly took sides, as the governor accused security personnel of shooting live ammunition at him, throwing teargas sinisters and pouring water on him while he was going to the Assembly Complex to inspect damages caused by the explosion.However, spokesperson of the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, has denied the allegation, saying the Command was investigating the matter.

Citizens, governance suffer

WHILE the crisis between Fubara and Wike is strongly drawing realignment from various aggrieved political camps in the state and perceived enemies of the latter are currently pitching tent with former and have commended his audacious action and resistance to being a ‘perpetual slave’, the saga has crippled business activities in the state and driving out investors.Youths have also staged massive protests and even slept at the entrance of Government House to fight against any alleged impeachment move against Fubara. Civil servants were not left out, as workers in the state have kicked against any move to remove Fubara, saying he has initiated friendly programmes and policies that would improve their welfare. Roads were blocked and increased security presence was noticeable across the state.

The story goes on and on, bringing to light the systematic stmace godfatherism has on Nigerian politics.

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