New Telegraph

2023 succession battles

The undue advantage, which power confers on its wielders, especially, in developing countries like Nigeria, explains why most leaders do not toy with the issue of succession, which has in turn, led to politics of betrayal and backstabbing. While democracy grants the people the liberty to choose their leaders through periodic elections, the concept exists mostly on paper as leaders at the various levels of governance have always had hands in the emergence of their successors.

This practice was not prominent in the first and second republics, but it has become synonymous with the present dispensation. Consequently, the Fourth Republic, which took off in 1999, with the country’s return to civil rule after long years of military rule, has produced hundreds of political godfathers, who sit in the comfort of their homes to determine who gets what, how and when. In most cases, the beneficiaries of decisions by these “powers that be” have always been their cronies, associates, business partners and even family members.

The reason for this is not farfetched. Most public office holders are more disposed to those who will cover their tracks as their successors. But politics, being a game of the possible, the cozy relationships between the godfathers and their anointed ones hardly last. In most cases, the anointed successors hardly settle in office before the political romance turns sour.

Most times, the bubble usually burst when the anointed successors try to do things on their own although there have been instances, where the heirs had tried to destroy their benefactors even when the political godfather had tried as much as possible not to interfere in the running of government. While some usually get shocked whenever a godfather and his godson fall apart despite the bond between them, most analysts hardly feel perturbed as most Nigerian politicians believe that politics is nothing but the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Recent political developments across the country, which have seen godfathers and their anointed ones locked up in supremacy battles ahead of the 2023 general election, no doubt, justify the popular axiom that politics is a game of interest masquerading as a contest of principle.

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