The Entitlement Syndrome in Nigerian Politics By Femi Alafe-Aluko


By Femi Alafe-Aluko

According to the Late Alhaji Maitama Sule, a Kano born Orator, Diplomat and elder Statesman, ‘The joy of a dying father is the presence of a worthy successor’.
Entitlement syndrome can be described as a sense of deservingness or being owned a favor when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment. Some will say it is a narcissistic personality trait.

The Nigerian political space thrives on it. It can either be by name like that of the current Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, translated as the ‘World is now ours’. Could be why we have the rumble in the jungle in Ondo State! I suppose he and his supporters are hoping luck will smile on him for the world of Ondo to become his. Let us hope the intervention of President Tinubu will usher in the peace and progress Ondo State desires and deserves. Recalling the master piece from late Dipo Sodipo (Pope), an Ibadan Polytechnic Lecturer and musician, who sang ‘Ese re ko Dara’, meaning, ‘perform well to make it good’. If by happenstance, divine intervention or luck, Lucky Aiyedatiwa becomes the helmsman in Ondo State, let the song be his watchword.

Those old enough will remember the Governorship elections in 1992, during the 3rd republic. The name Sir Michael Otedola might ring a bell, the Catholic Knight contested for the Governorship of Lagos State on the platform of the NRC. The popular and dominant political party in the State was the SDP. The domination was so overwhelming that they won 39 out of the 40 seats in the State house of assembly. During the primary election of the SDP, Dr Femi Agbalajobi and Chief Dapo Sarumi were the leading aspirants. Their intense rivalry became intractable, that the party had no choice than to disqualify both of them and settle for Chief Yomi Edu as the party’s Candidate. One of the feuding factions decided to ally with Sir Otedola on election day. This made the Epe born politician to cruise to victory at the polls and hence became the 2nd democratically elected Governor of Lagos state. The Yorubas interpreted his victory as ‘Ote to di Ola’ meaning ‘the gang up or plot of the opposition among themselves turned out to be my Glory’.

In the countdown to the 2023 general elections, towards the end of the campaign, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s historic campaign rally was at Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State. He went down memory lane highlighting his democratic credentials ,sacrifices and his political relationship with the then President, Mohammodu Buhari. He concluded by voicing out the Historic words ‘ Emilokan’ meaning, ‘it is my turn’. The rest is history as it came to pass. That word is now in the Nigerian political lexicon. Tinubu felt it was his entitlement, that he has earned and worked for it, hence he saw no reason why the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should not be handed over to him.


This sense of entitlement is also very common between political Godfathers and Godsons.The Late Lamidi Adedibu, better known as Alaafin Molete and the Garrison Commander of Ibadan politics openly voiced he was entitled to 25% of Governor Rashidi Ladoja’s security votes as Oyo State Governor. When the Governor refused, Adedibu engineered his illegal impeachment.

The mentality is most pronounced between Governors who installed their successors. The trending one is between Nyesom Wike, the immediate past Governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and his successor Sim Fubara. Ex Governor Wike was instrumental to putting Fubara into the Brick House ( Government House). Their honey moon did not last 3 months when the rumours of impeachment resulted into the burning of the House of Assembly complex. Hear Wike: “Let me tell you, l don’t like ingrates. I can’t stand it. What is happening now (in Rivers) is what Odili said in his book. ‘Give a man power and money, then you will know the person’…” Fubara’s offense is that he is dismantling the political structure Wike took years to build in Rivers State.

In Edo State, Adams Oshiomole and his hand picked successor Godwin Obaseki were engaged in a political battle. Oshiomole used his position as the National Chairman of the APC to get the incumbent Governor Obaseki disqualified as an aspirant for a 2nd term. Obaseki had to take shelter and refuge under the PDP umbrella before he could return for a 2nd term.

Kwankwaso and Ganduje( Current National Chairman of APC) had a cozy and cordial relationship for 12 years. 8 years as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively and 4 years as Minister of Defense and Special Adviser to the Minister respectively. Then the trademark ‘Kwankwasiya red cap’ was a permanent feature on Ganduje’s head. The moment he became Governor in 2015, the red cap was discarded. He banished his boss, Kwankwaso from Kano for many years.

In Gombe State, lbrahim Dankwanbo was single handedly installed by Senator Danjuma Goje. Dankwanbo fell out with his benefactor few months after taking over power.

In Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu and his Chief of Staff, Theodore Orji, who later became Governor, also fell apart. Orji turned on his Godfather, making life unbearable for the former Governor in the State.

In Lagos State, Tinubu made sure ex Governor Ambode did not get a 2nd term. ‘Things fell apart when the Falcon refused to listen to the Falconer’. The godfather preferred Babajide Sanwoolu to the former Governor.

Similarly on the legislative level, some leaders and God fathers still demand percentages from the salaries and allowances paid to their Godsons. Party Chairmen, State and Local Government EXCOs all want a piece of the cake.

Most Ex Governors/Installers want Governors to seek clearance from them before making appointments, award contracts and determine who to associate with. Likewise the 2nd term Governors believe the Red Chamber (Senate) is their birthright, entitlement or retirement home at the end of their tenure. The current Red Chamber is made up of almost a third of ex Governors.They want to remain politically relevant, hence hold on to the umbilical cord of their Successors. It has become a culture of expectations where promises and concessions are extracted.
Looking forward to an era where credibility, capacity and ability will relegate godfatherism to the background.

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