Godfatherism And The Irrevocable Law of Power
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master.” – George Washington. I choose to share with us some facts arising from my research and experience to bring us to the understanding that “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson.
I am inspired to quickly put this piece together due to an insightful and thought provoking discuss I had with someone last night on ways of gaining power and effecting a paradigm shift in development. The high point of the debate was godfatherism or not, and I wish to put pen on paper once more that no one goes up unaided. The concept of a self-made man is a mirage and perspective self deception that has no basis whatsoever in history.
According to Samuel Uwhejevwe-Togbolo, godfatherism is as old as politics itself. In the ordinary sense, the godfather assists the godson to attain the level of a responsible person in the society by teaching him norms and values, and inculcating in him a better character. Meanwhile, a political godfather is another ball game all together; it is the opposite. The political godfather usually brings the political godson to the lime light of politics by the virtue of his influence, wealth and experience. The godson rides on the back of his godfather to power. A more polite and contemporary English calls it mentoring and coaching.
There are glaring facts around the world that no matter the coloration, behind everyone that rose to power, there are godfathers. Barrack Obama was aided by the Kennedy and Clinton families, Donald Trump is alleged to have been aided by the Russian government, Goodluck Jonathan by Obasanjo, Godwin Obaseki by Oshiomhole and the list is endless from my village to Washington DC.
Power is never hanging in the air waiting to be taken by the fastest man, but resides with a certain group of people at every point in time. The phrase “by the people” in a democracy is actually controlled by forces that have built influences around (political structures), monopolized the finances which the Bible acknowledge to answer all things, control the media, and like the proverbial tortoise stand as “we”. Often time, we seems to change power on the premise of ideal but into the hands of same people.
The only realistic move towards achieving a better society is not predicated on the impossible elimination of godfatherism, but a cautious sensitization of the citizens to keep the godfathers in check. A strategic investment in citizens’ awareness that forces godfathers and cabals of power to offer the best of their godsons in any political contest or assignment based on popular demand.
Show me a man that came from nowhere, aided by no unseen forces and internal coalition that rose to power with the support of the people, I will show you a perfect courtier ordained by God and yet to be born. Try the lofty journey of changing the status quo without a torough understanding of the systems and the players, I will show you the man who wrote the book of lamentation and died in the wilderness.
It is not godfatherism but retrogressive godfatherism that should be resisted because the best leaders around the world were offered by godfathers. Obama, Yar’Adua, Obaseki, Obiano and others were all offered to the people by godfathers. So, let’s dwell on capacity, good conscience and participation in clamoring for effective leadership and avoid chasing shadows.