Minister says nothing wrong with godfathers in Nigerian politics


The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has said there is nothing wrong in having godfathers in politics as long as competence is accorded priority.

The minister stated this on Thursday at the unveiling of Lead Generation Initiative, a non-governmental and non-political organisation created by businessman and lawmaker representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency in Oyo State at the House of Representatives, Shina Peller.

Dare noted that while Nigerians called them godfathers, they were called different names in other countries.

While answering a question bordering on youth participation in politics and necessity of having a godfather, Dare stated that it was not entirely bad.

He said, “The definition of godfatherism is not a monolith. In the context of our own politics, a godfather is someone who sits there, decides and takes all the decisions, decides who gets what, whether it is resources or positions.

“Also, before you can become a godfather, you must have paid some dues, you must have a level of influence, you must have some clout and you must have made sacrifices overtime. But beyond that, we also have godfathers for our children

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“The concept of godfatherism simply means that there are some individuals or influential leaders – who can be in block or individuals – who have the levers of control when it comes to political decisions and appointments.

“For me, in its entirety, godfatherism is not bad. But godfatherism that sacrifices competence for something else is bad.”

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello; and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, X-rayed the leadership process in Nigeria, agreeing that it was in crisis and the country needed a new crop of leaders.

Dogara particularly observed that in the political system, persons were being appointed or elected based on their loyalty to political parties and leaders, and not competence, adding that it would spell doom for the country.

Bello and Dogara were special guests at the launch of the initiative.

The Niger State governor concurred with Dogara.

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