Both Tinubu and Oshiomhole have been involved in godfather-godson battles.
It is no longer news that the PDP won in Edo while the APC has won in Ondo, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, pending the outcomes of expected post-election court cases. We take a look at some factors that affected both elections and lessons that have been learnt.
The Edo election was seen as a contest between godfatherism and the will of the people. As written by this writer earlier, there is nothing wrong with godfatherism as a concept. However, the problem is always with the actors – the godfather and the godson. At the end of the day, the will of the
people was said to have triumphed in Edo. What keen political observers will note is that, the supposed fall of one godfather is the rise of another.
Oshiomhole lost the battle to his godson.
The strength of a godfather is dependent on the strength of his followers. A godfather, no matter how strong, that fails to listen to the people will ultimately fail. As we have seen from the results in Edo, Godwin Obaseki was obviously quite popular among his people, such person will be difficult to defeat because the people will ultimately determine the results of the election. Oshiomhole obviously did not do his permutations well.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of the few that were governors in 1999 that have remained relevant. the strongman of Lagos politics is seen as the godfather of many politicians and he has been quite successful at it. Tinubu too could have lost his influence in 2011 if he had gone the Oshiomhole way. Back in 2007, Tinubu saw to the emergence of his protégé Babatunde Fashola as his successor as Lagos Governor. Fashola took over the state like wildfire and performed creditably. He endeared himself to the people with people-friendly reforms and massive infrastructure developments.
Fashola was a worthy successor to Tinubu.
The people were so endeared to Fashola that they believed his second term in office was unnegotiable. However, stories started reaching the rounds that Tinubu was not disposed to a Fashola second-term. Tinubu later listened to the voice of reasoning and allowed Fashola go for a second term that he subsequently won handsomely. The public discussions among the people was that they were going to vote for Fashola whatever the party. In 2019, the same scenario played out but incumbent Akinwunmi Ambode was a lesser popular candidate and Tinubu had his way in replacing him.
In Ondo in 2016, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu did not get the support of Tinubu even after Akeredolu won the APC ticket. Tinubu was said to have supported Olusola Oke who ran under the Alliance for Democracy after he lost the APC ticket to Akeredolu. The use of the toga – ‘Ondo is not Lagos’ by the Akeredolu camp confirmed that they were not on the same page with Tinubu. It was further confirmed after Akeredolu had contested and won to become the State Governor, Oke and others loyal to Tinubu formed the Unity Forum within the APC and were at loggerheads with Akeredolu.
Seeing were the pendulum was swinging, Tinubu gave his support to Akeredolu for a second term and subsequently got the Unity Forum members to work in support of Akeredolu for his second term which he has won. Subsequently, Akeredolu has reunited with his godfather and praised him for his efforts.
Godfather and godson are back together.
“I must commend our party leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, posterity will vindicate you..” Akerdolu said.
The lesson for Oshiomhole from this is that a leader/godfather must always know when to bend and put his interest aside. Especially listening to what the people are saying and putting their wish above his. That has been the staying power of Tinubu and with the victory of Akeredolu, another feather has been added to his (Tinubu’s) cap.