In Nigeria, as the records and works of variousauthors stand to show, godfatherism in the Nigerian bureaucracy and partisanpolitics dates back to the first republic when leaders of the three mainpolitical parties Northern Peoples Congress (“NPC”),The accounts by Egboh,E (2009) postulate that the Action Group(“AG”) and National Congress of Nigerian Citizens (“NCNC”) carefully andmeticulously cultivated godsons that they were convinced would advance the wellbeing of the citizens. In his work “Niger Delta YouthReseiveness and Socio Economic Development of Nigeria”, Egboh, E. stated that Sir, Ahmadu Bello of the NPC, Dr, Nnamdi Azikiwe ofthe NCNC and Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the AG were motivated not to use godsonsas surrogates to promote parochial interests, but to promote the developmentalaspirations of the people.
Now comparing the aforestated idea of godfatherismto the crop of political godfathers that we have today, it is manifestly clearthat the first generation godfathers were essentially benevolent andprogressive because they did not abuse their status as godfathers by imposingfrivolous demands on their godsons whom they provided employment or politicalspace as it is the case today. These first generation godfathers were a reservoir ofwisdom and experience to be consulted at anytime and freely on the business ofgovernance. Egbor went on to state that in a relative sense, the firstgeneration godfathers were drawn by community sense of interest in seeking toinfluence political selection and employment into the public bureaucracy orseeking to influence the electorates to vote for some candidates of theirchoice. It was enough satisfaction for them that they wielded tremendousinfluence in the society and this inevitably generated a groundswell ofgoodwill and reverence for them as their views on political issues werescarcely contested in their respective regions of the Country.
To Ekezie, N (2009) Corroborating the benevolence of the first generationgodfathers and understanding the role ofpolitics as well as the military in an evolving country, Sir, Ahmadu Belloplaced his godchildren in viable institutions and the rewards to the NorthernNigeria are today self-evidence; Chief Obafemi Awolowo was godfather to a largenumber of today’s Yoruba intelligentsia that have applied his teachings for thebenefit of their region; also within the Ibo community, the late Sir OdumegwuOjukwu, was godfather to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who rose to become the firstPremier of the old Eastern Region and later emerged the first President ofNigeria under the defunct parliamentary arrangement. Characteristicsof Godfathers 1. Wealth: By a general consensus, wealth happens to be a majorcharacteristic of godfather. Politicalgodfathers act as the financial backbone for politicians who want to occupypolitical offices at all cost. This is considering the fact the fact that themonies needed for the electoral process lf purchasing nomination tickets,campaign and elections cannot be provided by the aspirant personally, hence theneed to run to the money bags of the political party for deliverance.
Political offices were reserved for the highestbidders. However, persons who are getting rich by the sweat of their labour aregenerally not interested in elective political offices, especially if they haveto burn their hard earned wealth to achieve such offices. On the other-hand Lipset, S.M. states that thosewho are stupendously rich and subsequently become interested in electivepolitical offices, usually make their money through unprincipled behaviour inthe dirty, dark alleys of the political process. Such persons can buy politicaloffices but lack the proper actio