LETTER TO GOVERNOR ABDULFATAI AHMED BY MR.RIGHTS
Your excellency, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed, Maigidan Kwara and Executive governor of kwara state. I greet you sir. May your days be long in good health and abundant blessings of almighty Allah. Amen
Sir, don't see this letter as if it is coming from a political adversary, rather, see it as a brotherly unpaid for advice. I get paid to give such counsel, so consider yourself lucky to have it free.
My Dear Governor, please don't get me wrong, I am only concerned for you as a person because in my view, the burden of governance place on your shoulder seems to be too mountainous for you to handle, hence your docile kind of leadership since assuming the mantle of leadership of the harmonious state of kwara.
Ordinarily as a person, I see you as an excellent and extremely intelligent person, but as a leader, nothing of such reflect in your day to day running of Kwara state government. Here, it seems not all intelligent and excellent individuals can replicate such excellence in governance.
Sai Maigida, I want you to recall a publication made in june, 2013 by the source magazine,it was titled, ''the most powerless governor in Nigeria''. I am sure you read it and some how feel embarrassed or angry for such a publication, but you are not alone despair. Just as you felt bad, many Kwarans both home and abroad felt the same way.
But instead of feeling angry or embarrassed by the publication, you should actually be thankful to the magazine and the writers. Through that publication, you should have asked yourself that, out of the 36 states governor in Nigeria, why am I singled out as the most powerless governor in the country? If they say its because godfatherism exists in Kwara, is Kwara the only state where godfatherism exists? Why was I described as the most powerless governor in Nigeria you should have ask inwardly.
That publication should have served as an opportunity to prove all doubters wrong about your personality, you should have carefully considered some of the issues raised and properly reverse the ugly trend, but looking at how things are now, it seems nothing has changed for good since the publication.
Before I go into discussing godfatherism, let me quickly ask you as an individual, why do you seek political power? Why do you want to be a governor? Why do you want to occupy any office at all? To the best of my knowledge, everyone who seek political power Is doing so for just one reason, i.e, to be able to implement or establish their idea of an ideal society. While their might be other motives, but this motives seems to be primary to all aspiring leaders in world history.
As the governor of Kwara State, there is no higher position anyone can attain in Kwara State beyond that, there is no office that can give one the total liberty to act for or against the state,there is no other office that can give an unhindered access to Kwara state resources,full political and security machinery and other privileges associated with the office.In a nutshell, there is no other position that can make one establish his or idea of an ideal state in Kwara than being the state governor.
if one can become a state governor and yet he his unable to implement his or idea of an ideal state, not because he has exhausted all ideas and failed, but because he or she has restricted himself through a third party intervention. Certainly, such an individual can never do so ever again even if they eventually become the president of the world. And such individual is likely to end up in the dark side of history it must be noted.
Now, let me discuss godfathersim which many believe is the bane of Kwara and you particularly.
I am forced to ask again, Is godfatherism evil or good?
According to studies, Arguably, a major problem of democratic governance in Africa and the developing countries of the world in this contemporary era is the headache of godfatherism. A godfather in the developing or undeveloped nations of the world is seen as “a segment of the political process as well as the figure, standing against the intellectual extrapolations originating in, and also sustained by the media”.
(Churoke Nnamani 2004) Laguda (2004:44) describes a god-father in Christian parlance as a person who gives a name to child at baptism or during confirmation. He cites the Oxford Talking Dictionary of words as defining god-fatherism in both positive and negative terms. He opines that it could refer to a person who sponsors or provide care or support for a person or project, or a person directing an illegal and criminal organization. What the interpretation connotes is that a god-father is not a ghost but an identifiable person who plays god to his people. He makes available the wherewithal necessary for his proteges to live a fulfilled life, and if in crime or mafia, it could be an investment requiring some returns from the god-father.
In summary, Laguda is cautioning that the meaning could not be a straight yes or no as it could impact positively or negatively, depending on the personality of the godfather.
(Quoted from Salawu (2009). Further, in the view of Ukhun (2004), strictly, the godfather is simply a self-seeking individual out there to use the government for his purposes. The cost of this incidence is enormous to the state as what usually obtains is that when the incumbent godson is at pains to satisfy the whims and caprices of the godfather among other competing demands on the scare resources of the government, the interest of the larger number is savagely undermined.
From the above, it could be seen that a godfather is not necessarily a bad person depending on the personality of that individual.
So dear Governor, it is out of place to say that you are described as the most powerless governor because you came to power as governor through a godfather. Besides, there exist godfatherism in almost all state of the federation. How come Kwara state and you in particular was singled out as the most powerless governor?
In my view, this was as a result of your incapability to act independently in governance outside the claw of your godfather. Many perceived that you are more intelligent, far more enterprising and more innovative as an individual than the character you portray as governor. Many in the state believed your sudden incapacity as an individual was and still is as a result of your inability to separate politics of godfather/godson from government/citizens relationship.
You are perceived to have traded the rights and interest of the citizens to appease and retain patronage on your godfather. More importantly, many see you as someone who have traded even your own right to govern to your godfather. This is why many are asking, why do you want to be governor if you are not ready to govern in your full capacity as a person? Nobody would hold your godfather responsible for your incapacity.
It is further believed that, if you act based on your God given intellectual prowess, certainly, you have the capacity both in term of innovation and managerial skills to do more than you are currently doing, but because you are in what people believe to be bondage of godlike idol, you are unable to act as you deem fit, portraying a powerless figure.
Now, as defined by Paul (2004; 98), godfatherism is from godfather, which in turn is derived from the concept – god and father. God (note the big G) means a Being worshipped in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic and some other religions while god (note the small g) refers to a being held by some people as the maker or sustainer of an aspect of reality; a person to whom great importance is attached. He postulated on the analogy between godfather, and god-child being the person for whom one takes responsibility by making promises to help grow in a sphere of life, while the godfather means one who makes a promise to see the godchild grow and mature in an aspect of life like religion, politics, and other endeavor. He is further of the opinion that the idea of godfather connotes importance, notability, eminence, prominence, significance, weightiness, reliability, greatness of somebody as well as driving home to the godchild the idea of capability, experience, pragmatism, and resourcefulness. Its adversarial or positive impact depends on the personality of god child.
Here you most understand that, the role of a godfather in governance could advance the cause of alleviating problems while on the other hand, it could aggravate an existing problems.
Many Kwarans and the entire nation are seeing that your godfather and godson relationship with the former governor, Senator Bukola saraki is aggravating an existing problem and not alleviatin the problems, hence your tag as the most powerless governor.
Let me conclude this letter by giving you an example of how to restore people's confidence in your person while acting in your capacity as governor.
In United States of America,former US president “Abraham Lincoln's political adversaries once accused him of being an infidel because he belonged to no church, and denounced him as a tool of wealth and aristocracy because he had affiliated himself, through marriage, to the 'haughty' Todd and Edward families of Springfield. Just as yourself had been perceived of being powerless because of your perceived incapacity as a result of your godchild status to the Saraki political dynasty.
Lincoln realized this accusations might hurt him personally and politically because they were accusing him of fraternizing with negative political godfatherism. He responded that only one of his relatives had ever visited him since he came to Springfield and before he got out, was accused of stealing a Jew's harp.
He, Abraham Lincoln, then charged the people that if he could be seen as being a member of a proud, aristocratic family and fraternising with negative godfatherism then, he could be pronounced guilty.
Salawu, (2009). Although, his target audience was satisfied, with his response, others who were skeptical hinged their conclusion on what he could do if elected into office.
You, unlike Lincon had gained access to power before you are confronted with such accusation, it is unlike Lincon who had to deal with the problem before gaining access to power. After Lincon became the U.S. President in 1860, he justified the confidence reposed in him through his actions which pointed to the view that godfatherism may be inevitable in politics but it did not obstruct positive achievement if one means well.
Study shows that, the diplomacy with which Lincon prosecuted the civil war, the 13th amendments of the American constitution, which initially protected the slave owners and the eventual 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, setting all slaves free, the 14th and 15th Amendments which allowed all slaves to vote as well as vying for offices, were issues which godfatherism attempted to subvert but which the occupier of the highest political office in the United States of America could not compromise. Abraham Lincoln's place in American history is a hallowed one.
So, if your policies in government leaned more towards the interest of the people over the interest of the overlord, many would grow to see you as worthy leader, but the reverse seems to be the case as we speak. What would people say about you in history?
This s not just about you, Some leaders have been orchestrated into office through godfatherism, only to use same trust to destroy their states and hopes reposed in them. The cold war affected the destiny of many third world countries and an example is the Democratic Republic of Congo which swallowed a bitter pill of godfatherism. Although, there were many leaders who have bastardised godfatherism in Congo, the role of Mobutu Tsetse Seko in playing the super-errand boy for his godfathers in the West was damnable. He aided his god-fathers to suck-dry his country's treasury while equally helping himself through corrupt enrichment of his foreign accounts. When his godfathers sensed dangers in their continued fraternization with their godson, and the exposure of their unholy alliance, he was forced into exile where he died ignominiously.
Study also shows that, In Nigeria, godfatherism had its successes and woes. Chief Obafemi Awolowo led a government in Western Region of Nigeria between 1954-1959 and while there, he was not unmindful of leaving a legacy of continuity. He was aware of the African proverb which says that “factory grows as man grows, but it is man that should grow first, after which he will use the knowledge gained to improve the factory development in its totality”. He left behind astounding legacies of institutional structures and men. Those he nurtured as a godfather are those offsprings manning the length and breadths of the Old Western Region, Spanning over six states in Nigeria's 36 State structure which include, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun state.
No government since 1960 has equaled his legacies. They are solid and imperishable, and now serve as reference points for Nigerian generations. Awolowo today is not being remembered negatively for his godfatherism, rather, some positive accolades continue to grace his name.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, in his end of year message to the nation as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in 1964, emphasized the impact of godfather on Nigerian politics. He admonished Nigerians to dare to ombudmanize so as to expunch from the Nigerian body politics those parochialisms, whose souls are dead.Salawu, (2009).
He was of the opinion that irrespective of how an individual got into a political office, decorum and accountability should be the guiding principle. By and large, godfatherism will continue to trail us both nationally and globally and the activities of those who benefitted through it will always be the barometer to measure its success or failure in governance. If you act well by being good and helping the masses live better,you and your godther would be praised and since the reverse is the case now, sir, you must work to reverse the trend within this short period.
We recognize the fact that you have achieved some feat in some areas, but it is far below the state's investment and expectations. Kwarans beleive you can do more if you act in your capacity. I hope to see the real Abdulfatai Ahmed act as a governor in the next few months before the coming election.
Thanks and may God continue to guide and direct you sir.
AMB. Abdulrazaq O Hamzat (Mr.Rights)