Political Science Project Topics

The Concept of Godfatherism and It’s Influence on Nigerian Politics and Politicians

The Concept of God-fatherism and It’s Influence on Nigerian Politics and Politicians

The Concept of Godfatherism and It’s Influence on Nigerian Politics and Politicians


Objective of the study

The objective of this study is to critically examine the concept of godfatherism and its influence on Nigerian politics and politicians. Specifically, the study aims to:

  1. To investigate the origins, evolution, and manifestations of godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
  2. To analyze the extent to which godfatherism affects political processes, decision-making, and governance in Nigeria.
  3. To explore the impact of godfatherism on the behavior, attitudes, and practices of politicians in Nigeria.




Like any other terminology employed by social scientists, the concept of godfatherism is a term that does not lend itself to easy definition. To fully understand this, some related concepts like godfather and godson need to be defined. Godfather is a kingmaker, boss, mentor and principal. A godfather is “someone who has built unimaginable respect and followers (voters) in the community and possessed a wellorganized political platform and general acceptance from electorate that could secure victory for candidates of his choice” (4:269). The Hausa’s as ‘Maigida’ (master of the house) popularly knows a godfather. The word Maigida goes beyond it literal meaning. Polly, 1966; Abner, 1971 and Pally, 2004 cited in Attah, Audu and Haruna (5) used the term in their works to refer to those who provided brokerage services to Hausa traders in transit in different parts of West Africa. Theses traders, at the various transit centres where they have to stop to do business rely on a maigida to facilitate their economics activities. The maigida provides them with accommodation, storage and brokerage services. In the Yoruba society, godfather is referred to as ‘Baba Kekere’ (the small great father), ‘Baba Isale’ (the father of the underground world) or ‘Baba Nigbejo’(a great helper in time of trouble). Historical of these terms is ‘Baba Kekere’. It was used to depict community leaders with whom people of less social status identified as a way of providing physical, social, political and economic security for themselves. For example, most of the Yoruba refugees who came to settle in Ibadan in the early nineteenth century settled with the ‘baba kekere’. Dickson also noted that the philosophy of godfather is grounded in the sociology of traditional Igbo society. He further showed evidence to the popular relationship between ‘Nnam-ukwu’ (my master) and ‘Odibo’ (the servant) in the Igbo traditional concept. A younger person is entrusted to a more mature and experienced person for training in social, economic and moral adulthood. The role played by the man in this kind of relationship is akin to that of a godfather. Thus, the triple cases showcases above shows those persons of lesser social status attaches themselves to another person of higher social integrity usually for economic benefits. Though, this practice is not alien to Nigeria but is strange in the replication of this practice into our political system. Politics of godfathers involve the ‘anointing’ of a godson who is expected to win an election by using the influence, wealth, political structure and political experience of the godfather. Olawale observed that politics of godfather has far-reaching negative effects on the democratization process in Nigeria.





In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.


Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.




This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.




It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the concept of god-fatherism and it’s influence on Nigerian politics and politicians. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing an concept of god-fatherism and it’s influence on Nigerian politics and politicians


This study was on concept of god-fatherism and it’s influence on Nigerian politics and politicians. Three objectives were raised which included:  To investigate the origins, evolution, and manifestations of god-fatherism in Nigerian politics, to analyze the extent to which god-fatherism affects political processes, decision-making, and governance in Nigeria and to explore the impact of god-fatherism on the behavior, attitudes, and practices of politicians in Nigeria.. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from selected residents, Akwa Ibom state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).


In conclusion, the study on the concept of god-fatherism and its influence on Nigerian politics and politicians sheds light on a pervasive phenomenon that has significant implications for democratic governance, political processes, and socio-economic development in Nigeria. Through a comprehensive analysis of the dynamics, consequences, and challenges associated with god-fatherism, several key findings and insights emerge:

Firstly, god-fatherism represents a complex web of power relations and patronage networks, where influential political figures wield significant control over political processes, decision-making, and resource allocation. The dominance of god-fathers in Nigerian politics often undermines democratic principles such as transparency, accountability, and political participation, perpetuating a culture of political patronage and clientelism.


Based on the findings of the study on the concept of god-fatherism and its influence on Nigerian politics and politicians, the following recommendations are proposed to address the challenges posed by god-fatherism and promote democratic governance:

  1. Introduce legislative reforms to strengthen electoral laws, political party regulations, and anti-corruption measures aimed at curbing the influence of god-fathers in Nigerian politics. Implement laws that promote transparency, accountability, and equal access to political opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their affiliations with political elites.
  2. Launch civic education campaigns to raise awareness among citizens about their rights, responsibilities, and the importance of active political participation. Foster a culture of civic engagement, critical thinking, and democratic values to empower citizens to hold political leaders and institutions accountable.
  3. Strengthen independent electoral commissions, anti-corruption agencies, and oversight bodies to ensure impartiality, transparency, and effectiveness in monitoring and enforcing electoral laws and regulations. Enhance the capacity and resources of these institutions to investigate allegations of electoral malpractice, corruption, and abuse of power.
  4. Encourage political parties to adopt internal democratic processes for candidate selection, party leadership elections, and policy formulation. Promote inclusivity, transparency, and meritocracy within political parties to empower grassroots members and reduce reliance on god-fathers for political patronage.
  5. Facilitate the inclusion of marginalized groups, including youth and women, in the political process by implementing affirmative action policies, quota systems, and capacity-building initiatives. Create opportunities for young people and women to actively participate in politics, stand for elective positions, and contribute to decision-making processes.


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