By Tenimu Umar
The emergence of godfatherism in the politics of Ajaokuta local government council of Kogi state, Nigeria’s North Central dates back to the time in 1991 when new local governments were created. The founding fathers of the newly created Ajaokuta council influenced and controlled political activities of the area. Such power brokers that emerged after the creation of the council included late M.J Bello, late Abdulaziz Abu and Hon. Baba Ali and many others. They were the political and district leaders in their spheres of influence. These were the selfless leaders whose common objectives was to present the best candidates for any election; the candidates who understood and believed in their party’s ideology and who were also capable of executing programmes that would improve the welfare of the local populace and provide caring leadership.
But what we have today is the crude form of godfatherism who thrive on greed. In fact, greed has reached an epidemic proportion in the Ajaokuta political scene.
Some so-called godfathers have now instituted all kinds of bribery, corruption, nepotism, tribalism, and fraud, indoctrinating, surprisingly, some people who are in the poverty bracket.
In fact, godfatherism has been metamorphosed into political dynasty or what could be referred to as “familtocracy” which is family politics.
To be sure, familitocracy is all about a succession of people belonging to the same family who, through various means and forms in power and influence over other people.
Available evidence shows that a former commissioner in Kogi state, Moses Okino is guilty of nepotism in as much as most of the juicy positions that came through him were being held by members of his family.
For instance, Moses Okino, the so-called godfather is currently the Managing Director of Kogi Investment & Properties Ltd while his son, Aloysius Okino was a local government chairman even as his two nephews served as vice chairman and SIEC respectively. Other positions such as local government treasurer, council leader, special assist, Head of Department of Education Department, supervisor for health and council clerk were also held by his cousins.
All these positions were held concurrently by members of the Moses Okino’s family.
From the foregoing points, it is logical to say that the immediate past administration of the local government exhibited a perverted and monstrous form of political dynasty cum political trinity i.e politics of the god, the father (Moses Okino), the son (Aloysius Okino) and the holy spirit (family members).
This system appears to pose a big threat to grassroot development as it prevent the people from participating unfettered in the political process. It is also on record that between 2008 and 2014, Moses Okino had consistently installed or imposed this son, Aloysius Okino as vice chairman, liaison office (LO) and substantive chairman of Ajaokuta local government.
He is so desperate to maintain the status quo that he anointed the ex-council boss, Aloysius as the
current PDP flagbearer for the House of Representatives election.
He has also been exhibiting the politics of divide and rule mentality in the political landscape of Ajaokuta by polarizing the diverse ethnic groups in the local government for selfish reason.
The question that continues to agitate the minds of people is that, if actually Moses Okino is fighting for the interest of Ebira nation, why did he fail to field a neutral son or daughter of Ebira extraction for the House of Representstives’ slot instead of his heir?
The answer which is not far-fetched is that Moses Okino is only trying to sow the seed of discord for his political gain or ulterior motive. The battle line for supremacy has been drawn between the erstwhile chairman, Aloysius Okino and Alhaji Lawal Idirisu who has thrown his hat into the ring of political contest for the House of Representatives seat under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
The business mogul turned politician who is seen as a messiah by the youths and sacked workers of the local government, has all it takes to slog it out with his rival, especially now that the former ALGON chairman has been ousted from office and government machinery is no longer in his possession to manipulate the electoral process.
If the axiom that says: “the evil that men do lives with them” is applied to the politics of Ajaokuta local government, then Aloysius has a very huge mountain to climb.
He will meet his waterloo at the polls in the February elections. AlhAji lawal needs to strategize and should beware of sycophants and praise singers, because such people are faulty barometers feeling the pulse of society. Hence, to stumble twice on the same stone will be a proverbial disgrace. And the only way to stop the phobia or the fear of being harassed, victimized and marginalized is to vote for a CHANGE so that our local governemnt will be to cleanse off the mess. Alhaji Lawal is coming with a new broom that will sweep clean our environment.
Umar wrote in Greenbarge Reporters