Generally, electioneering in Nigeria is capital intensive, and this has led to the emergence of: The godfather phenomenon. Machiavillian Godfather style executives exude a brand of politics that more than often gives rise to the prevalence of sycophants, zonal sellouts aspiring to be leaders or position holders, inter-party defections, brutish politicking, electoral violence and political assassinations. Being the sole proprietor or the Oga of the State, the godfather inter alia rises at will and nepotistically or clannishly chooses whoever he or she deems fit for administering political units for his or her proper politico-economic advantage. The process of using government positions to pursue personal or group clannish interests is prebendalism, a political trait that has ruined every facet and unit of the states political vitality. I will come back to this later.
The concept and reality of power-sharing and equity charter, is not an Imo State problem alone, it is universal amongst the entire States of the Federation.
A power sharing formula and charter has existed in Imo State since the inception of democracy in 1979-1983, which had polarised Imo State into 3 political segments for sharing-power among the 3 arms of government until it was truncated in 2011. The 3 political units: Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe have had as Governors: 1979-1983 (Okigwe Zone), 1992-1993 (Owerri Zone), 1999-2003; 2003-2007 (Orlu Zone), 2007-2011 (Okigwe Zone) and 2011-2015 (Orlu Zone) 2015-2019 (Orlu Zone) 2019-2020 (Owerri Zone) and 2020-2024 (Orlu Zone) and it appears that if the right measures are not taken to rectify this anomaly, Orlu zone is looking to use its power of incumbency to secure another tenure which would extend its time on the saddle to 24 years which would be very very grossly unfair and would very unlikely and doubtfully be tolerated by the Okigwe and Owerri zones.
Even a blind man who has no auditory impediments or vice versa would see, hear and observe the obvious disparity and inequality in the power-shifts. It can be likened to the Nigerian 60 years of self-rule, which had the Northern Nigeria heading the Federal Government for 44 years and Southern Nigeria for 16 years.
Godfatherism and not governorship is one factor that frustrates every facet of the socio-political and economic growth and stability of a state where the chief executive has cultivating interests, and because he holds all government power or knows his whereabouts within the key holders of government positions, whatever he does or engages in is covered, accepted and swallowed even when it is very bitter and nauseating. The godfathers minions materialism are for him mere activities of sycophants, through whose activities peace and order, stability and equity are muzzled before and during elections in the country.
Researchers the world over have come to the common opinion that large economic and political returns are the accoutrement of every political godfather styled chief executive.
Money is a political maternal milk and can be used quite skillfully to whip dissenting voices into line. What should concern us most in Imo state, is how to solve the constant destabilization of the equity charter by federal government ruling party intervention, intentional impoverishment and financial polarisation of the masses. How should Imolites face godfather challenges vis-à-vis the equity charter in this day and age that the modern political environment or society has bent to process other than outcome in politicking, and the reality that trusting your Leader, Godfather or Ethnic Group may not be the best to secure our State’s advantage and potentials.
The godfather phenomenon has a direct link with procedure, that is why godfathers thrive in environments in which people, in this case, politicians, don’t think that they can trust the process that guides, authorises, and selects winners in the political arena that they gladiate in to yield outcomes that are favourable to their interests especially after investing heavily in their catchment areas. Thus, there is almost a contradictory relationship between the godfather phenomenon and due process. The legacy of this tragedy shows itself more in the lack of trust in the play of rules. This is because if those that play the rules end up getting shortchanged, it is not likely that trust in the efficacy of the rule-following will be enhanced
Consequently, a whole culture is created in which generations are socialized into believing that they cannot obtain any benefits except by their linkage to the godfather.
The fact as I see it, is that in the modern dispensation, process is absolute in such a way that substantive justice is sacrificed for procedural justice. By so doing, what we practice in the contemporary Imo State is not a democracy or any political system that has been appropriately matched with any pre-existing sorts.
To be continued.
Durubube Uzii na Abosi