oa The Constitution - Perverse brokerage: godfathers and politics in Nigeria

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1595-5753



The concept of godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigerian politics. The question is whether such guiding principle is a positive one, encouraging of democratic consolidation, stability and development most earnestly desired by a nation starved of hope. The activities of Godfathers, their use of violence to achieve control of government machinery make clear that the contrary is the case, that the godfather is the boss of an organised political crime outfit against the Nigerian people. This paper argues that the current prominent role of the godfathers is due to the middleman role they play for politicians seeking political power and legitimacy in the face of an apathetic citizenry. It argues that the consequences of such brokerage activity by the godfather is a perverse one as their very existence and success has demanded terms of exchange that lean heavily in their favour and in which their control over economic and coercive resources facilitates the preservation and manipulation of the scarcities and insecurities experienced by the local populace.

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