African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Godfatherism and the future of Nigerian democracy

O. Akinola Adeoye  
Department of political science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. 
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 June 2009
  •  Published: 30 June 2009


The study explores the relationship between godfathers and godsons with a particular attention to its influence on the development of Nigeria’s politics, and seeming demise of resourceful governance in the country. The study adopts unstructured interview to elicit the perception of actors’ involved and political elites, relying on qualitative and content analyses of data. The study found that there was a shift in the modus operandi of post independence godfatherism, and what obtains in contemporary Nigeria was violence-inspired godfatherism, which successfully replaced politics of welfare by politics of warfare in the affected areas. This acted as impediments to sustainable democratization process in Nigeria. The study concludes by recognizing the inevitability of godfathers in politics but there was the need for proper management of godfather/godson relationship.


Key words: Godfatherism, patron-client politics, mafianism.