Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

A member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Tamale Central Constituency, known by his Facebook name as Mohammed Amin has raised concerns about the attention given to praise singers at the expense of hardworking party supporters by “political godfathers” in politics, emphasising that it is one of the causes of party’s defeat in government.

Mr. Amin who has held positions in the party at constituency level before and played key roles during elections made the comments on his Facebook page today, March 11, 2021, though, it is not clear what warranted his concern over the issue that has become an order of the day in African politics, particularly, Nigeria and Ghana.

According to him, this issue, if not addressed properly will demotivate many hardworking party supporters to sacrifice themselves during elections for any ruling party to retain power.

“So who at all brought this godfather issues in politics?”, he wondered.

“It is the reason why party in government loses power because hard work isn’t rewarded these days. The godfathers are interested in rewarding their worshippers and not what they do for power and they tend to justify it with the word LOYALTY”, he stated.

In a research project by madam Fatima Ahmed at the Department of Political Science, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, titled, “Politics of Godfatherism and its Implication on Socio-Economic and Political Development of Nigeria”, she wrote that “in contemporary democracy politics of godfatherism has become a universal issue in the political development of many countries Nigeria inclusive.”

“Certainly, the politics of godfatherism have entered every hook and crannies of the nation and have affected the political structure of the country”, the paper she added.

The impact of having a godfather or not having a one in Ghanaian politics can not be underestimated.

It has become the easiest way to rise to the top without putting much efforts into gaining political knowledge, the only thing one needs to do is to identify an influencial appointee of a ruling party or someone close to a flagbearer in opposition, and begin to shower praises on him or her.

Young persons who have refused to accept this reality have suffered from opposition to power, but, the wise have been sorted and placed in many different juicy positions.

In his article, titled – The Godfathers, the Grandiloquent Politicians, and the Gullible Citizens: The Depraved Alliance of Actors of Nigeria’s Politics, Adeleke Adegbami of Olabisi Onabanjo University defined “Political godfathers” “as political elites or political class who wield much power through which they ‘participate in, or influence the making of, decisions that allocate resources within and among social units’ (Welsh, cited in Albert, 2005). Political godfathers as seen by Albert (2005) are ‘political gatekeepers’, they, keep the gates to regulate who comes in and goes out of the political arena, they, by their powers; dictate who participates in politics, when, and under what situations and circumstances. Ishaku, Jatau, and Badung (2014) see godfatherism as a system in the political cycle that denies citizens’ of their rights to social services which they termed ‘dividends of democracy'”

Until now, another Ghanaian, Abdul-Razak Lukman wrote a comprehensive article on the godfatherism in Ghanaian politics, which was titled “Godfatherism in Ghanaian political space; its manifestations and solutions”, and published on January 23, 2020.

He said : “Another political dogma which most Ghanaian godfathers hold high esteem is to continue frustrating the system to allow their children and unborn ones to be worshipped just like he/she is being worshipped. The godfathers see building the human resource of the people as a detriment to amassing huge following forever. They would always want godsons and mentees to remain as such and would not do anything that would spark a generation of sustainable work and financial freedom for them. These are the godfathers who would always stifle the growth and development of godsons so as to keep their clout high as always. Their motor is: Keep them hungry and they shall remain yours forever.

A disturbing factor that is visibly seen in today’s politics relative to the association of godfather and son is to always advance the selfish interests of your boss no matter where it might lead you into. The godson is promised of cover up and protection whenever he or she does the unthinkable, all in the name of supporting the ills committed by his/her godfather. However, in an event where the acts by the godson is far beyond human imagination, the godfather distances himself/herself from it, as he/she is ‘supposed’ to be perfectly right all the time. So, only those willing to advance the selfish interests of the existing structures of power gain access to power. This means that only the highest bidders, measured in terms of willingness to do the unthinkable no matter what, and as well swear an oath of eternal gratitude and loyalty to the godfather are considered loyal funs.

The Ghanaian system is in a mess because no matter how productive you are towards national productivity, personal interests of godfathers comes first. Godsons are seen as people who must continue lubricating his/her godfather on the various social media platforms either for political office or to be seen as someone doing perfectly well in giving back to society. This is the system that politicians are asking us to help build and sustain. As Nnamani (2003) puts it…an impervious guardian figure who provided the lifeline and direction to the godson, perceived to live a life of total submission, subservience and protection of the oracular personality located in the large, material frame of opulence, affluence and decisiveness, that is, if not ruthless… strictly, The godfather is simply a self-seeking individual out there to use the government for his own purposes.”

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