5 Godfathers Calling the Shots in Nigeria’s 2023 Election
Over the years, the tone of Nigeria’s political scene has been dictated by godfathers. These men who are former political office holders, and successful businessmen call the shots in their states, geopolitical regions or national politics.
Their political exploits while in office have made them stakeholders in Nigerian politics. Their impact no doubt was widely felt in the just concluded 2023 general elections. From the campaign to the election exercise, these godfathers played active roles in ensuring that their candidate secured victory at the polls. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also known as Jagaban of Borgu has been described as the godfather of Lagos since 2007. Jagaban has ensured that his party, All Progressive Congres(APC), continually governed the nation’s commercial city. From Babatunde Raji Fashola, Akinwumi Ambode to Babajide Sanwolu, Tinubu has used his wealth and influence to canvass support for his desired candidate. He was actively involved in campaigning for Sanwolu’s reelection. One of his boys, Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo threatened Igbos who were not willing to vote for the party to stay at home. The just concluded Lagos gubernatorial election which was largely marred by voter intimidation and suppression, was a test for Tinubu’s godfatherism, following his performance in the state during the presidential election. He however proved himself as the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) announced Sanwolu as the winner of the election.
Olusegun Obasanjo served as a military head of state and a two-term civilian president. Despite not being a member of any political party, Obasanjo’s influence was largely felt in the just concluded elections. This comes as a lot of Obidients, supporters of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, were encouraged when Obasanjo endorsed the candidacy of Peter Obi. The former president who gave his endorsement in an open letter to young Nigerians disclosed that Obi was one of his political mentees. Also, his call for INEC to suspend the announcement of results largely encouraged young Nigerians disheartened by the irregularities that marred the 2023 Presidential elections.
Muhammadu Buhari is another silent godfather who was active in the country’s 2023 election. Asides from being a party loyalist, Buhari’s influence and statement in his party’s campaign paved way for his party’s win in his state and nation at large. Speaking in Katsina, Buhari vowed to mobilise all of its electoral machinery to ensure the victory of its flag bearer, at the February 25 presidential election. Obviously proud of Tinubu’s win, Buhari told aggrieved parties to go to court. Buhari who lost the state to Abubakar Atiku, during the 2023 presidential elections, was victorious as the APC Guber candidate, Dikko Rada won the election.
Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso
Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso a former governor of Kano State is another godfather whose role was felt during the 2023 elections. Reports say Kwakwanso reportedly sponsored many of his supporters in the Kwankwansiyya movement to electoral victory. He played a pivotal role in the electoral success of Ganduje before their relationship fell apart. Unflinching in his resolve, Kwakwanso who contested for the seat of presidency at the 2023 polls, delivered his state for his party, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Also, his influence in the state was once again affirmed by the victory of his candidate who scored 1,019,602 votes to defeat his closest contender, Nasir Gawuna of the APC who polled 890,705 votes.
James Ibori served as Governor of Delta State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. Like Tinubu, he also wields a strong political influence in his state. The PDP chieftain rallied support for his daughter, Mrs Erhiatake Ibori-Soenu, as the PDP House of Representatives Candidate for the Ethiope Federal Constituency. He was quiet about his choice of guber candidate till his daughter won the election. Reports say after the win, his structure came all out to support APC Candidate, Senator Omo-Agege against PDP governorship candidate, Rt. Hon Oborevwori.
Chief Ibori, who has been dictating things in the state, birthed the famous Ibori Political Dynasty, IPD. Through his command, two governors Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, and the incumbent, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. However, we are yet to know if Senator Omo-Agege will secure victory at the guber polls.
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