Godfathers! Nigeria’s List Of Political Godfathers Who Single Handedly Handpicked Their Successors And Continue To Influence What Happens In Nigerian Politics! Obasanjo, Tinubu Top List

Politics as they say is a game of numbers and even loyalty. Apparently thats the way it runs globally

According to Emeka Gabriel ”Not until the advent of the Second Republic in 1979, the concept of god-fatherism was alien to Nigerian politics, though it was insidiously creeping into the system unnoticed to most Nigerians who were particularly not familiar with this practice that there are political power brokers and influential politicians, who most often call the shots as to where the political pendulum swings.

The practice has been described by watchers as the will of the masters against the will of the electorate who do not only possess the electoral mandate but also give it out in trust to their political proteges. As the tradition gained traction in the last decade, this practice has firmly established itself as a guiding principle in the contemporary Nigeria politics causing an average politician in Nigeria to believe that without a godfather he or she cannot win elections on a fair play. The crux, many analysts have averred, is not only for godfathers to continue to call the shot in proxy even after serving out their tenure but also to maintain their structure to enable them remain relevant in the polity.”

Olusegun Obasanjo

Obasanjo’s ascendency to power as a civilian president and the first Nigeria’s first president after return to civilian rule in 1999 can best be described as sheer providence. Obasanjo was a former Nigerian Army general who was President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation’s head of state: He served as a military ruler from 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979, and as a democratically elected president from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. From July 2004 to January 2006, Obasanjo also served as Chairperson of the African Union.

His Yar ‘Adua Influence

With his becoming the president in 1999 and another term in 2004, Obasanjo rose from seeming nothing to becoming a strong man in Nigeria politics to the point of becoming a god father and king maker. He almost single handedly decided who would succeed him in 2007 shortly after an alleged third term bid failed woefully. It was with his influence that Umaru Yar Adua rode on to becomie succeed him as Nigeria’s president He has consistently denied his being involved in the drive to amend a section of the constitution which would have given him eligibility to run for a third term.


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was a factor to the rise of former President Goodluck Jonathan to prominence which eventually saw the latter rose from a deputy governor to the governor of Bayelsa State in 2005. Obasanjo also in the course of the death of President Yar’Adua, played a significant role in the enthronement of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2009 and subsequently during the 2011 presidential election. It was to Obasanjo’s delight who never wanted his former 2IC, Atiku Abubakar, to ever mount the rostrum of the nation’s number one job that he had to dance across the country, selling his preferred candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, to Nigerians in 2011.

Giving credit to the strength of Obasanjo as indeed a godfather, then President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 during a purported rancor between them according to a Tribune report stated that former president Olusegun Obasanjo is still his godfather, adding that disagreement should be expected between political children and their father.

“First and foremost, Obasanjo is a father to me. By divine providence and the grace of God, I am the President of Nigeria today. It is not by my strength. But God uses human beings to actualise His own blessings on human beings. And He used so many Nigerians, including former President Obasanjo, to play one role or the other for me.

“I became the deputy governor of a state, became the governor, the vice president and president. I have no issues with him, and I really don’t want to join issues with President Obasanjo. I think it is not necessary.”

He, however, cautioned those he called senior citizens to always be mindful of the unity and security of the country whenever they have cause to disagree.

“But I will use this opportunity, because you asked, to just plead with my father that he is a leader, a former president of the country. He has led the country more than anybody — eight years of democratic governance and almost four years of military governance. No other person has that kind of record.

“The stability of this country is critical in terms of the economy of this country. Rating agencies downgrade countries that are going into elections because the feeling is that there would be crisis. When you paint the colour of instability for your own nation, you are doing so much injustice to the country because it affects the economy of the country, not just affecting the country in terms of security and social issues alone. It affects the economy directly. So, I plead with very senior citizens that Nigeria is dear to us; we don’t have any other country than Nigeria.

Tinubu And The Lagos Dynasty

Another notable politician who has successfully planted his feet in so much as to influence and wield such political powers to be able to plant governors and decide who goes or stays is the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Speaking openly about his influence in Nigeria’s politics to international media outfit, Reuters he says;

“I am a talent hunter. I put talents in office, I help them,” says former Lagos state governor and opposition alliance leader Bola Tinubu, being quite open about his role as one of Nigeria’s most powerful political godfathers.

“I use the best hand, the best brain, the best experience for the job,” he told Reuters after voting this month in a governorship election in Nigeria’s economic capital which, as expected, his hand picked candidate Akinwunmi Ambode won.

The Sarakis

Another powerful entity that has gradually woven their influence into the Nigerian political structure in their home state are the Sarakis.

Beginning with Olusola Saraki, the father of the present Senate President, Bukola Saraki, he has successfully entrenched the Saraki name into Kwara politics and the even his son is now eating from the influence.

Elder Saraki had after successfully making his son, Dr Bukola Saraki, the governor of the state in 2003 and subsequently in 2007, had insisted against Bukola wish to make his daughter, Senator Gbemisola Saraki the next governor of Kwara state. But his plan failed because his son, Bukola as the outgoing governor of the state had anointed another candidate to succeed him. This clash between the titans of the Saraki dynasty forced Olusola Saraki into retirement before he passed on.

Peter Obi/Obiano

Unlike Tinubu who still has the political structure of Lagos State under his control, former Anambara State governor Peter Obi got his finger burnt when he picked his political godson Willie Obiano as his preferred candidate to fly the APGA flag in the 2016 governorship election in the state. Like Kwankwaso and Ganduje, Peter Obi and Obiano relationship has a long history. They did not only work together in Fidelity Bank but were also classmates in the primary school.

Peter Obi’s decision, like other of his political godfathers’ peers, has eventually cost him a huge political capital forcing him out of a party he singlehandedly built in Anambara State. The relationship between the duo became strained even before Obiano was elected governor of Anambara State, though it was not clear what led to the misunderstanding during the governorship campaigns. It can be inferred from the attacks and counter attacks from both sides that the fight between Peter Obi and his godson was more financial related than loyalty on the part of Obiano.

While it was believed in some quarters that it had to do with the management of campaign funds, others said the former governor, Obi, after close observation of Obiano shortly after the party’s primaries, felt that his choice of a successor might after all, not be the best. Reports had it that Obiano was not actually in the picture even if Obi had insisted on keeping his promise of ceding the governorship slot to Anambra North.

How Obiano came into to race still remain a mystery to the likes of the then secretary to the state government, Mr Oseloka Obaze, who is from Ogbaru in the same Anambra North senatorial zone, and Prince Idigo, a lawyer from Aguleri royal family, as his likely choice. Indeed, Obi carried out the campaign as if he was seeking re-election and the main drive of their campaign was continuity, like every other governor would have expected from his successor, which was why the Obi’s government was flagging off new projects and paying contractors till the end of the administration.

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