A Strange Denial of Godfatherism ,By Danlami Nmodu

Anenih-660x330I was least prepared for what I observed Wednesday last week.The occasion was the second edition Nigeria Political PartY Discussion Series ,(NPPDS) organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development,CDD in Abuja.The venue was Protea Hotel Apo and the major political parties were very well represented at the event.For those who may not know,CDD is renowned for great interventions on national and international issues bordering on democracy.Even more, incumbent Governor of Ekiti State,Dr Kayode Fayemi is an ex director.Some of the very prominent members include Dr Kole Shetima and Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, the immediate past director(among others) .Ms Idayat Hassan is the incumbent director of the centre.
I arrived at the Abuja event just about the time Dr Jibrin (Jibo as he is fondly called) who was the moderator of the event ,was steering the discussion to the issue of godfathers in our political parties:How they influence the affairs in the parties.You would imagine that our politicians would be honest.What the audience got was most unexpected as politicians chose to be clever by half.
For starters, all the parties were effectively represented .They included Senator Osita Izunaso ,national organizing secretary of the All Progressives Congress,Mr Bolaji Anani,national Financial Secretary,Peoples Democratic Party,PDP and Mr Salisu Muhammed ,deputy national secretary Labour Party.There was also Mr Ifeanacho Oguejiofor ,director of publicity,All Progressive Grand Alliance,APGA ;and another gentleman from IPAC,Suleiman Ahmed.Also on the high table and the man who made the refreshing and ennobling difference from the crowd of politicians was Professor Victor Adetula,the expert on the occasion.
Without following order of their presentations, here is an outline of the submissions from representatives of the political parties at the Nigeria Political Party Discussion Series (NPPDS) last Wednesday.Izunaso Of APC wowed the entire audience when he reiterated the well known fact that he belongs to a pan Nigerian party which came into existence after a merger of existing ones,Significantly, he maintained that it would be wrong for anybody to say Tinubu controls the party.In effect, Tinubu is not a godfather in APC.Hmmn!But he was not done yet.Izunaso argued further that there were people lik General Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of other parties that came together like the ANPP and part of APGA.
To further convince everyone that there is no single individual calling the shots in APC,Izunaso argued that the part which he claimed is the fastest growing the world having acquired 16 governors without an election ,is now a movement.And he said nobody can control a movement,he concluded.
What did the PDP representative say?He threw barbs at APC and other parties that are trying to grow.But on the issue at hand, Anani said the PDP has no godfather.According to him,the constitution of the party does not allow for a godfather.But do you believe him?
The APGA representative said pointedly that there are no godfathers entrenched within its rank. The party ,he argued is mass oriented and what is happening now is the Nigerian factor.Of course that Labour Party also distanced his party from god fathers.
Listening to all of them it sounds like Adedibu,Anenih,Ubah and even Tinubu never existed .But why are politicians so full of denials.Well the IPAC(Inter Party Advisory Council) man at the event was more forthcoming on the issue.The influence of key individuals cannot be wished away he argue.He also believe parties fall under such influence because of the challenge of finance.
Here is a summary of what we however know about godfathers and strongmen in Nigerian politics.We know that Tony Anenih is not only the godfather Edo PDP politics, he has even earned the nickname Mr Fix It.Remember the better forgotten days of Dr Chris Ngige as Governor of Anambra State when a certain Dr Chris Ubah loomed large as the godfather who frustrated the governor.Remember the strongman of Ibadan politics,late Chief Lamidi Adedibu.Or is it the well known influence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is believed to be the strongman of the All Progressives Congress,APC.Even some(not all) leading lights of Labour Party today behave as if the incumbent president and leaders who belong to PDP are strongmen of LP whose body language must be obeyed.This is the strong kind of politics of affiliation exhibited by some Labour Party henchmen and they want us to believe they are people -oriented ,independent.Yes, we know who they are and more importantly,who they seem beholden to.
It was Professor Adetula who said it as it is during the NPPDS event, corroborating the position of Jibo that godfathers indeed exist in the parties.Adetula posited that studies have indeed revealed that there are godfathers,god individuals and even godmothers.It is the use the individuals are put to that is of concern .Without doubt, the challenge of gothfatherism is a reality the Professor asserted.
As I left the event for another meeting, the same kind of painful denial of the reality of mney in politics was going on among the politicians on the high table.How can we make politicians know that we deserve more than their endless dose of lies?

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