From grace to grass
By Bisi Olominu
Godfathers are generally defined as men who have the power personally to determine both who gets nominated to contest elections and who wins in a state.
Many regard them as a huge challenge to democracy in the country – although the godfathers themselves are staunchly supportive of the practice.
“One thing in politics is that you must believe in godfatherism. If I did not believe in it, I would not be in daddy’s place,” Reverend Jolly Nyame, a former Governor of Taraba State once said this.
He added further “Whether you like it or not, as a godfather you will not be a governor, you will not be a president, but you can make a governor, you can make a president.”
There is this godfather in Anambra State, Chris Uba, he declared in a moment of intense self-satisfaction that: “I am the greatest godfather in Nigeria because this is the first time an individual single-handedly put in position every politician in the state.”
The just concluded election is an eyes opener that the day of godfatherism in Nigeria politics is gradually coming to an end. The era of imposition is gradually winding up in Nigeria. If you are in doubt, the cases of the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi and Rochas Okorocha will tell you that of men from grace to grass.
These men who were men of honour ruled with iron hands, believed that no man known more than them and that all should be subservient to their authorities. Today, they are gradually turning to men of yesteryear.
The roots of Saraki’s dynasty dated 1979 when Bukola’s father, Dr. Olusola Saraki was the Senate Leader and none rule Kwara State without his blessing. When the father was on the throne, he imposed control and made life difficult for the governors of the state. “His lordship” was instrumental to the emergence and removal of four Kwara State Governors: ,Adamu Attah, C.O. Adebayo, Sa’aba Lafiagi, Mohammed Lawal. His heir apparent Bukola Saraki took over after ruling the state for eight years and then imposed his Commissioner of Finance who is now the governor, Abdufatai Ahmed on the people of the state. He too has been ruling for almost eight years and another one was about to be imposed when the people rioted and said “O to ge”.
When Bukola Saraki took over the reign of Kwara State from his father in 2003, he dissolved the councils under Mohammed Lawal and for two years was the sole administration. He was the lord of the state money and the entire structure of governance under his ampit. For 8years that he was the governor of the state, the people of Kwara were in pains. Since his father bequeathed the inheritance of the state on Bukola, he carried on like the Lord of the Minor and the entire allocation of the state was his to allocate. Bukola Saraki was the governor of the state for 8years, spent 4years as the Senior Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo and presently spending 8years in the National Assembly, with 4years of this as the Senate President. His reign crashed on March 9,2019 as the people of Kwara State liberated themselves from their oppressor, delivered themselves from the misrule and mis-governance of Bukola Saraki.
His almost 17years as the headship of Kwara State politics came suddenly to an end as the once mighty man descended to ignominy and from grace to grass.
Another mighty man who misused his opportunity is the outgoing Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi. God has given him grace to rule the state for 8years, the first governor to enjoy that grace in the state. He started derailing as he derided the students of Ladoke Akintola Univery of Technology, Ogbomoso,LAUTECH, who had been at home for more than one year. He called them unprintable names and lambasted them instead to pacify the enraged students.
“Mr. Constituted Authority” was so enraged and inhuman that he treated the students with disdained and ignominy that he had to be restrained by some of his commissioners not to arrest some of the students.
Again, his encountered with the Olubadan of Ibadan where he degraded the palace to his Boys Quarters, promoted the dwarfs to equal Olubadan.
Adding to this was the demolition of the Music House of the musicians Yinka Ayefele despite all entreaties. This and others finally nailed his political coffin as the people of Oyo State turned against him, reason the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Adelabu that he presented as the governor of the state was not supported by the people in the last election. He too contested the Senatorial slot of Oyo Central, but was disgraced.
The outgoing Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha is also in the class of mighty man that transformed from grace to grass. Sometimes ago, he ruled, the state with iron hand. He is the governor, his wife is the “anointed Deputy Governor, in-law the Chief-of-Staff and the governorship candidate to succeed him, his daughter the ” Commissioner for Enjoyment”.
Okorocha lavished the state resources on frivolities, his foolishness digs his grave. He wanted to be a senator, his wife aspiring to be a member House of Representatives and his in-law, Nwosu to be the governor of the state under another platform. When Nwosu could not win the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, Okorocha supported him to contest under another party and supported him with the state resources. He won the Senate slot under gun point and he has not been given his letter of return. His in-law lost the governorship slot and today he has been suspended from his party,APC.
Another man who has fallen to ignominy is the outgoing Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun. Give it to him, Amosun performed very well as he developed the state infrastructurally. Despite ruling the state for 8years, his albatross was that he wanted to install his stooge as the governor of the state. To the detriment of his party, All Progressives Congress, he picked another candidate, supported him to contest under another party. Amosun used the state apparatus, state resources to contest against his own party, where he contested as a Senatorial candidate and won an election. Despite all entreaties to him to shelve the idea, he even went to the extreme by organising thugs to disrupt his party’s presidential campaign in the state. Amosun has been suspended by APC, he has even been recommended to be expelled from the party.
There are many lessons to be learnt from these people who have gone from grace to grass.
The great iconic Nelson Mandela says: “People respond in accordance to how you treat them.”
The people of the states governed by these people spoke by using their votes to tell them that indeed they are nothing but mortal.