There's already a bandwagon of solidarity against the word "godfather" and there may be the need to have a chit chat about it and the mystery around it.

Of Godfathers and Godfatherism: Beyond Political Discussion

By – Tunde Fadipe

This hasn’t been a good season for the word “godfather” in Nigeria. Politics woven around the word is greatly falling apart and the nakedness of its meaning is being erroneously exposed to the naivety of gullible minds.

There’s already a bandwagon of solidarity against the word “godfather” and there may be the need to have a chit chat about it and the mystery around it.

What’s godfatherism and who’s a godfather? Godfatherism is a process of having someone to borrow you his strength for you to achieve your aim. A godfather is that person you need to help you realise your aim or ambition by providing the strength and platform to succeed.

Human beings, being who they are, could be good or bad. It’s just like a marriage between two partners; marriage could not be totally said to be bad because we have pockets of bad partners.

In politics, there’s no single person who has ever won an election without a pillar. It could be a group of people headed by someone that will promote you and propel you to win an election or just a single person backing you to that office. It doesn’t matter who your godfather is, he might be rich or poor, popular or unpopular, the truth of the matter is that he has tendencies to sway argument and position in your favour.

The word godfather is not only limited to politics, it goes beyond making someone to occupy a public office. The Igbo system of business training of young people is a typical example of an established system of godfatherism. A young boy will be picked from the arms of his family in the village and taken to the city by his Oga for training and subsequent establishment.

The other word for godfatherism is ‘mentor’ or ‘promoter’. The fact that we have had masters who maltreated and exploited those young kids would never be enough to discredit this process that has been sustaining the Igbos’ transfer of knowledge and economic growth and even placed them ahead of other contemporary tribes in Africa. The major names in the Nigerian business today, especially, from the Igbo tribe are products of this school.

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Coming back to politics, politics is a complicated business where human interest is bound to clash. The fact that some godfathers are terrible and over-demanding can not make us conclude that “godfathers” are the demons of our politics and the reason our development has become stunted.

The fact remains that no one has ever gotten power without an adviser and someone solidly standing beside him or her. It’s not only by bankrolling or financing, the role of a godfather could just be limited to advising and monitoring. Your godfather is that the person that provides assistance when no one sees it as necessary. There will always be someone who will recommend you for appointment, that person is your godfather.

All over the world, success in politics of every individual will depend on how you can navigate through all the negative interests. You need a mentor to provide that path for you to navigate and get a breakthrough. You need people around you to help promote your ideology and sell your dream to the people.

It’s not about being rich or powerful, your godfather could be a pauper with skill and vibrancy to make your dream a reality. It’s left for you to appreciate those who brought you to power by being sincere and also responsive to their plights. Politics is about people and interest.

Young people in politics and young entrepreneurs, however, should be careful as to who they choose to take them through the pitfalls of their careers. There are bad people who can go to any length to damage those who they made, for no cogent reason. There are terrible mentors and bad influencers that wouldn’t mind destroying their own success for personal and selfish reasons.

In this continent where intelligence is seen as a crime, those who are intelligent should find a way to make themselves relevant by playing according to the rules. You need a godfather to succeed in politics. Standing alone will waste your time and definitely destroy your path to progress.

So many young and smart politicians have become mere tools or just election mercenaries because there’s nobody to push their files of competency for appointments. This is because in politics, no matter how competent and qualified you are, someone must qualify you. It isn’t magic, Nigeria is losing her human resources because there’s is no direction of harvesting best brains for assignments.

Even in business, good businesses and lots of good ideas are being killed because assistance and supports are not coming from the giants on the field. The reality is that no matter where you are and the journey of career you want to take, you need a pillar and support that will be your guide. You may decide to call the person a navigator, mentor or godfather. I strongly believe you need one, but like marriage, you deserve to get yourself a good partner.

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