Political Science Project Topics

Godfatherism and Political Conflict in Nigeria an Opinion Survey of Voters in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State

Godfatherism and Political Conflict in Nigeria an Opinion Survey of Voters in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State

Godfatherism and Political Conflict in Nigeria an Opinion Survey of Voters in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State

Chapter One


(1)    To attempt a disclosure of the Godfatherism and effects of political conflicts by examining the various identifiable causes and effects of Edo State conflict in Nigeria fourth republic.

(2)    To firmly establish the fact that political conflicts had become Nigeria’s consistent bedfellow, with a vivid examination of Edo State Government crisis.

(3)    And finally, to proffer a panacea to the identified causes of these political conflicts in order to prevent a continuance of its sporadic frequency in Nigeria.





In order to exhaustively treat this study, it is imperative that relevant literature in the area of this work be consulted. The areas involved are mainly; Godfatherism and political conflict.


According to Oshuntokun (2002); The political relationship under successive government in Nigeria is a reflection of the new international economic order, which facilitates the pursuit of regime change by avaricious godfathers whose major pre-occupations, is to perpetuate their hegemonic political influence for personal interest and aggrandizement.

Taking a critical look at the above statement, one would rather agree with the statement as being factual since the reward of godfatherism seems to be more personalized from North to East, West and South of the country. The godfathers being career politicians rely solely on politics for survival. He subjects his godchildren to his hegemonic political influence. He rig elections massively to install his protégé in office. All these he does because of his interest in the state resources and assurance of kickbacks. It is also a fact that godfatherism kills the desire of those who have the mind to work in the state. This is so because professionals, ideas driven minds and others who don’t have access to godfathers are not given the opportunity to develop the state through their ideas.

In the same vein, Omede (2004) has argued that; Money is needed in politics, elections, managing party activities such as political campaigns, party elections, sponsorship of candidates, compensation of party agents, advertisement and so on. However, money can also be used in politics to bribe voters and electoral officers as well as sponsorship of political aspirants with a view to siphoning public fund if they won.

Thus, the illegal use of money in politics belongs to the realm of the godfatherism has become a factor in Nigeria politics such that very few politicians can achieve success without the backing of a godfather.

It can be inferred from the above that politics in Nigeria has adopted a peculari character with a life of its own. The desire of individuals to rule at all cost has sold political leadership to the highest bidders, as huge amount of money are needed for campaign, mass mobilization and electoral manipulations. Therefore, desperate politicians who wish to win election (even if they are not qualified) usually seek after godfathers. Thus, political participation in Nigeria is characterized by extravagant spending and flamboyant life styles of politicians, who have no other job than political patronage of any government in power. The implication of this in Nigerian politics is that the country is yet to make appreciable progress in transparent governance because godfathers usually create setbacks, which debar democracy and developments in Nigeria.

According to Ogbomwan (2005), apart from being antithetical to democratic consolidation in Nigeria, godfatherism is an evil building block for corruption, retrogression, underdevelopment, mediocrity, backwardness and perpetual poverty of the people.

Ogbonmwan’s view is quite revealing as it unveils the problematic dimensions the phenomenon of godfatherism has assumed in Nigeria, especially during this fourth republic. He calls attention to the issues of corruption and poverty as a result of the antecedents of godfatherism. Tracing the history of Nigeria since political independence, it shows that aspirants to political offices who are less financially buoyant rely greatly on the financial muscle of the money bags in the society who invariably become their mentors and political godfathers. The moneybags on the other hand may look for a popular and very outstanding character to invest their money on by encouraging him to contest for elective office, which will be manipulated in his favour. In order to realize their mission, the political godfathers capitalize on the vulnerability of the poverty-ridden electorates who at the sight of physical cash or material gifts willingly sell their votes to the highest bidder. Additionally, the election is manipulated through financial inducement of electoral officers, thuggery or outright rigging of votes. The activities of political godfathers in Nigeria’s fourth republicis even more challenging and daring to democracy and democracy and democratic stability.

Ekiyor (2004:27-28) explained; Interconnectedness and interchangeable usages of the concepts of paternalism, godfatherism and patron-client and submits that patron-client paternalism has gradually turned itself in to an institution and has become an aberration to the practice of democracy in Nigeria.

In support of the view expressed by Ekiyor, James posited that, The patron-client relationship – an exchange relationship between roles may be defined as a special case of dyadic (two persons) ties involving a largely instrumental friendship in which an individual of higher socio-economic statues (patron) uses his own influence and resources to provide protection or benefits or both for a person of lower status (client) who, on his part, reciprocate by offering general support and assistance, including personal services to the patron.

Ekiyor and James opened our eyes to the fact that godfatherism involves two persons which is based on interest, protection, provision and reciprocity. In any democracy, there is usually the need to spend huge amount of money and materials to plan and execute party strategies in order to capture the machinery of government. Such money can rarely be provided by a single individual except through collective efforts of members who may willingly donate money to the party or sponsor candidates at elections. This practice unavoidable attracts a number of very rich individuals euphemistically referred to as “Money bags” who make huge donations and consequently become very influential in the party. These individuals also come into the political party with their personal and selfish interests most of which are in conflict with the party objectives. Gradually, these interests begin to unfold themselves through the party decision making hierarchy; and political godsons who are stooges of their political godfathers in their respective political offices as a mark of loyalty and reciprocity to their godfathers who make it possible for them to ascend political offices, accommodate the interest of their godfathers in several ways. Ultimately, the general masses who are eager to reap the so called dividends of democracy are the ones to bear the brunt of this unholy relationship, the consequence of which often manifest itself in several forms including incompetent leadership, unnecessary interference and sometimes control of governmental affairs by external forces, political instability arising from crisis of legitimacy, outright siphoning of public funds meant for both developmental purposes and advancement of people living standard. Obviously this development is anti-thetical to democratic consolidation of any young democracy, Nigeria inclusive.

Sketching the historical development of godfatherism in politics in Nigeria since independence, Thoveothin (2004:69) came to the conclusion that godfatherism “has become a hydro-headed monster for Nigeria democracy”.

The foregoing discussions unveils the problematic dimensions the phenomenon of godfatherism has assumed in Nigeria, especially during this fourth republic, which, obviously calls for urgent attention. This unavoidably raises some penetrating questions among which are; who is a godfather and godson? What relationship between them? At what point in the history of Nigeria development did godfatherism becoming problematic? What is the nature of these problems and how do they impinge on democratic stability of Nigeria. How do we combat these problems and manage the menace of godfatherism in Nigeria politics.

Irrespective of the definitions and explanations given by various scholars, and authors, as used in this work, one thing is clear, that is, the concept of godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigeria politics. The godfatherism – godson phenomenon has gradually turned itself into an institution in Nigeria and has become a devouring aberration to the practice of true democracy in Nigeria. This practice is widespread in virtually all state in Nigeria but most recently, it become visible in Oyo, Anambra, Kwara, Borno, Enugu and Edo states. The godfather-godson relationship has taken various forms in the country but the most disturbing and offensive type is mainly manifested when elections are about to hold in the country. During this period, the godfather handpicks and sponsor candidates who are pliable and amendable to their dubious wishes. The godsons are more or less glorified servants of the godfather. They must comply with every aspect of the agreements that they had entered into with their godfathers (Patron-client relationship).





        These are the techniques or procedures, which the researcher systematically applies for generating, collecting and evaluating data or information. Scientific methods are based on systematic, disciplined and controlled observations. Very important of the scientific research is that, the method(s) to be used must be conducted in such a way as to eliminate the researcher’s biases or sentiments in arriving at a scientific valued judgment over his or her finding. The researcher must be objective through the strict adherence to the ethics of research. Also, the researcher should be able to control all extraneous variables that may distort the reliability and validity of the conclusion being anticipated in the research findings of the researcher.

There are many types of research methods. Among them are:

  • Survey method
  • Experimental method
  • Field observation method
  • Unobtrusive control or Historical Analysis

For the purpose of this research study, survey method will be used


A practical attempt was made in this chapter to check and analyse data obtained from respondents to questionnaire. The information gathered helped to test the guilding hypothesis and problem of the research topic.

A total of one hundred (100) copies of questionnaire were distributed. 90 were filled and returned. 60 by males and 30 by females age between 18-48.




It has been severally established that godfatherism is not alien to politics. It has only become a hydro-headed monster for Nigeria democracy and as such, 96.7% of my population samples believe that it cannot be eliminated from Nigerian politics.

The evil of godfatherism should therefore not be treated as a party affair, but should be offered political, social and legal solution, by the government and the stakeholders – in Nigeria enterprise. The law should be allowed to take its due course when godfatherism assumes a damaging dimension. The stakeholders in the Nigerian project, like the civil society organizations should also play their role in the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy by standing against anti-democratic elements, such as the current form of godfatherism in Nigeria.

The explanation which has not been articulated as the causal current of failure of democracy in Nigeria as determined by godfatherism in Nigeria politics. It takes its flight of a moral desideratum – utilirianism. Godfatherism suffers from “inability thesis” because of its moral praxis or focus against utilitarian ethos. It constitutes an impediment and a scourge to genuine democracy in Nigeria. It is “antithetical to liberty and welfare of the citizens”.


The findings of this study (godfatherism and political conflict in Nigeria. An opinion survey of voters in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State) shows that politicians in Nigeria should wear a human face in pursuing their political ambition. Politics in Nigeria has become an investment where the investors are set to make profit at all cost, as a result, political brutality is pervading the society. This set of politicians has been in their usual status quo since our democratic dispensation.

It was obvious that the mirage is a holocaust that is grinding our political system; their political diagnosis is imperative. When in recent times, in turning up the political computer of politicians; I browse through the profiles, I saw infected files which cannot be diagnosed, the corrupt nature of these files is not responding to anti-virus, I tried scanning the computer, yet the computer is neither ready for scanning nor want to crash. We need a political virologist to scan our political computer.

The quest to hold on to power by these politicians as our foremost leaders is on the increase, their enthusiasm is as constant as K is constant in Mathematics variables. Their political victimization are on a high frequency. Every politician wants to become a political godfather. Godfather, is as old as politics itself. Godfather is even in the church, in the case of Christendom, the godfather assists the godson to attain the level of a responsible person in the society. In other words, he teaches the godson the norms and values of the society and inculcates in him a better character.

Nearly three quarter (64.4%) of the people claimed that the crisis had very serious adverse consequence on the people of Nigeria. Such consequence were enumerated to include the experience of demonstration of craze instead of democracy, education system was a mess, social life and basic amenities were not met for the people of the state, the streets were littered with rubbish and abject neglect, the people heart were neglected rather they concentrated on their political godfathers.

The writer suggested attitudinal re-orientation of politicians to change their perception, style, language, approach and mindset to politics as a way of chasing away violence in the body politics of the country. I suggested removal of corrupting influence of money and godfatherism in politics, avoiding imposition of candidates, enacting the Act banning political thuggery and cultivating spirit of tolerance and accommodation by politicians as well as avoiding electoral manipulations and ensuring that genuine elections results are upheld.



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