THE RISE OF THE HEREDITARY PRIVILEGENTSIA IN NIGERIA
CHIEF KNOWLEDGE OFFICER,
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTING LIMITED, LAGOS
(IN THIS ARTICLE, THE AUTHOR ARGUES THAT ACCESS TO POLITICAL JOBS,INDEED MOST JOBS IN NIGERIA IS HINDERED BY A SPOILS SYSTEM WHOSE MEMBERSHIP IS DETERMINED BY BLOODLINES MORE THAN ABILITY)………read on
In medieval Europe, a theory that God has bestowed earthly power to kings, took root. This led to the DIVINE RIGHTS OF KINGS, or “Royal Absolutism”. In its pure form, a king is not subject to any earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. Put differently, ...view middle of the document...
Rajiv’s wife, Sonia Ghandi was made the head of the Congress Party (the political machine of the Ghandi family). Rajiv’s son, Rahul Ghandi, is waiting in the wings as he is currently Congress Party Secretary General.
In neighbouring Pakistan, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated on her return from exile in 2007, was actually the daughter of a former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. On her death, her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was “coronated” President.
When President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo died in 2005, his son Fouare Eyadema succeeded him in a “smoke and mirrors” election that had the emasculated opposition alleging foul play. Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was assassinated in 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila, has been the President of the Congo DRC, ever since. We recall the Duvalier “Dynasty” that ran Haiti aground. Papa and Baby Doc as father and son were known are now consigned to the hall of political infamy. Dr François Duvaliere was elected President in 1957 and ruled until his death in 1971 but he amended the constitution a year earlier to make his son, his sole successor. On death, Jean Claude Duvaliere “reigned in his stead”. In Gabon, President Omar Bongo is dead but his son who was Minister of Defence is now the President by a sleight of the political hand.
The Nigerian Experience
The political titans of our first republic namely Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mallam Aminu Kano, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Ladoke Akintola Dr. Michael Okpara, to name a few, did not push their children into positions of privilege. It was Olusegun Obasanjo who created the enabling environment and elevated the appointment of children of “yesterday’s men” into high office, as an instrument of state policy.
Under his watch, his daughter and Lamidi Adedibu’s son became senators of the Federal Republic. Segun Awolowo Jnr. And Saro Wiwa Jnr. were made Special Assistants to Obasanjo at various times. Dr. Olusola Saraki’s son Bukola emerged as governor in Kwara state while his sister Gbemi emerged senator. Adamu Ciroma’s wife was appointed a minister while Greg Mbadiwe, K.O. Mbadiwe’s son, was made ambassador at different periods. Liyel Imoke, the son of a former minister in the old Eastern Region became Obasanjo’s Man Friday on Power. The jury is still out on the Independent Power Projects but Liyel Imoke has moved on to become the Governor of Cross River State. We also remember Mrs. Modupe Adelaja, Abraham Adesanya’s daughter, whom Obasanjo appointed first a Minister then Director General, SMEDAN. Not left out was Femi Fani-Kayode, son of Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, former deputy Premier of the old Western Region. He was made Special Assistant on Communication and later Minister of Aviation. Late President Umaru Yar’adua’s father was the Minister of Lagos Affairs in the First Republic. His elder brother, Late Shehu Musa Yar’adua was Chief of Staff, Supreme...