The politics of godfather and godson is a recurrent phenomenon in Nigerian politics. Despite the fact that the arrangement hardly lasts long as those who planted their favourites either by accident or by design, soon become their serious enemies, especially when the godsons try to assert their authority. Despite its failings, the idea always becomes a defining factor once another round of elections comes closer.
In Kano, the fight is between the incumbent governor of the state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. The later handed over the state to the former, hence Kwankwaso considers himself the godfather, the claim the incumbent fervently expels.
Ganduje is seeking a second term in 2019, but there are clear indications that Kwankwaso is averse to this move and is doing everything to scuttle it.
There were suggestions that ahead of the 2015 general elections, Kwankwaso had someone in mind as his preferred successor but was clever by half. He didn’t unveil the choice and on the other hand, Ganduje openly availed himself the opportunity and campaigned vigorously.
Fast-forward, once he won the election, he reportedly deviated from the political ideologies of Kwankwasiyya, a political movement that brought them back to power in 2011 together with Kwankwaso.
While Kwankwaso has remained consistent in his effort to spoil Ganduje’s second term bid in 2019, Ganduje on his part is also pushing heard to ensure that Kwankwaso does not secure the Senate ticket or make any positive impact in the 2019 general elections.
The governor has already made concrete arrangements to replace Kwankwaso in 2019. So far, politicians like Senator Basheer Lado who was defeated by Kwankwaso for the Senate seat in 205, the current Personal Private Secretary to the governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Kankarofi and the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, have all indicated interest in the seat. Lado recently defected to the APC from the PDP and during a reception in his honour, Ganduje had alluded that he would be returned to Abuja as senator.
The political structure in Kwara State makes it difficult for any godson to be at loggerhead with the political godfather of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki.
It is a known fact that incumbent governors in other states have influence on who succeeds them, but such is not the case in Kwara where the political gladiator (Saraki) singlehandedly picks who he feels should be the governor or the occupant of any high position.
Despite this posture, there are rumours that Saraki as godfather and the outgoing state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, have some “uncomfortable salient issues” about who becomes what next year but they have shielded the issue from the public.
As a sitting governor who would want to endorse a candidate to succeed him, Ahmed may not have such opportunity because of Saraki’s influence.
It was said that Ahmed who will be completing his second term would like to contest for the senate in 2019 but that fact that the senator from Kwara South, Rafiu Ibrahim, is serving his first term and he is in the good books of Saraki and his wife, it may be difficult for Ahmed to get the ticket which many political analysts believe may be causing silent internal problems between them.
For now, nobody dares or challenges godfather Saraki. Whether there would be fight between Saraki and Ahmed, only time will tell.
2019 will likely be a year of uncertainty in Plateau State with some of the state’s major political titans facing serious challenges.
The trial of former governor David Jang over alleged misappropriation of N6.3 billion has created room for uncertainty on his political future and his role in 2019. Jang’s trial seems a blessing for his former political godson, Edward Pwajok who decamped from the PDP to the APC in 2017 and has been eyeing Jang’s senatorial seat. Pwajok who was one of the most influential commissioners in Jang’s eight-year administration and now represents Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency owes his political fortunes to the former governor.
A political scene without the senator representing Plateau Central, Joshua Dariye, will definitely mean dull politics in Plateau State. The former governor who was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison has controlled politics in his Plateau Central zone since he left Rayfield Government House in 2007. However, with his recent incarceration, it seems his once political godson who is also the APC chairman in the state, Lateb Dabang, is angling to replace him.
Senator Victor Lar defeated Senator Jeremiah Useni in 2011 to clinch the seat for Plateau South Senatorial District. Though a political godson at the time, Lar didn’t hold back and only left the position in 2015 when he got interested in the governorship seat. With Useni inheriting Lar’s seat as the senator for Plateau South, it seems the two would likely slug it out once again in the PDP governorship primaries later this year.
It has become public knowledge that the immediate past governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke who is thought to have single-handedly facilitated the emergence of Prof. Ben Ayade as his successor, are no longer on the same page.
Many top political dignitaries in the state have quoted Imoke as regretting his role in the emergence of Ayade as governor.
Similarly, there are strong indications that Imoke would work for the emergence of another candidate who would challenge Ayade’s second term ambition.
Also, When Dr. Clement David Ebri was governor of Cross River State during the Ibrahim Babangida military government, he was the one that brought the present minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, from his teaching job to political limelight. He made him a special adviser. Ebri discovered many others like Donald Duke, Imoke and many more.
But in the build up to the 2019 general elections, almost all of them have fallen out, with sharp political differences. They are presently the arrow heads of the factions that plague the APC in Cross River State.
Ebri who has been a BoT member of the APC, is reported to have chided Usani openly during one of the party’s peace meetings.
Incidentally, both are from the same Yakurr LGA of the state where many other key national officers hail from. Clearly, Ebri ought to be the political father of that area but this has been challenged consistently by Usani. During the last local and ward congresses in the state, different factions claimed superiority but Usani seems to be recognised as the party leader in the state.
Because of the face-off between them, Usani has not given his support to Ebri in his declared ambition to become the next national chairman of the APC.
The phenomenon of godfatherism in partisan politics in Borno State seems to have ceased to exist since the governorship tenure of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (SAS) between 2003 and 2011.
Although a substantial section of the Borno public sees the incumbent Governor Kashim Shettima as the godson of SAS on the argument that he picked and helped him to victory in 2011, most people now see Shettima as an independent fellow, arguing that he has openly and successfully defied the whims and caprices of SAS in the political game in the state.
For now, the godfather and the godson are openly fighting ahead of 2019, and the ‘godson’ seems always victorious in the fight, judging from the recently conducted state party congress where Shettima was seen to have victoriously maintained ownership of the entire ruling party structure, in spite of the ‘height’ and ‘might’ of the ‘just-returning’ SAS.
The generality of the public see SAS as pulling no consequential weight, if he now pulls any weight at all, in Borno politics because they argue, Shettima has clipped his wings.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was anointed by the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, from among an array of aspirants.
Even the outgoing governor at the time, Babatunde Fashola, was said to be disposed to another candidate but at the end of the day, it was Tinubu that had his way. There is a strong belief that Tinubu would still play great in who picks the APC gubernatorial ticket in the coming months, but he has kept sealed lips about the 2019 governorship race. He is said to be in dilemma over Ambode’s second term bid, with sources saying he is not comfortable with the governance of Ambode who is said to be building a political empire across the state.