“Political dynasties are families that have exerted
disproportionate influence on the politics of their societies. If they are
successful, they may produce more than one Head of State or Head of Government.
But at the very minimum, political dynasties have produced political leaders in
varied ranks of the political process”.11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman""">
(Prof. Ali A. Mazrui, 2008, Political Dynasties in African Politics)
According to definitions, a dynasty is a
succession of people belonging to the same family, who, through various means
and forms maintain power, influence or authority
over the course of generations. Though in elected governments, rule does not
pass automatically by inheritance, political power often accrues to generations
of related individuals even in republics. Eminence, Influence, familiarity, tradition, genetics,
corruption and even nepotism may
contribute to this phenomenon. (Please note the words, corruption and nepotism)
In the past 100 years, I can only recount of a very few REAL political dynasties:
The Bush family in the US
is a political dynasty which has so far produced two presidents: George Herbert
Bush and George William Bush. And of course, the most famous political dynasty
in the world, the Kennedy family is a US political dynasty. One brother
(John) became president; another (Robert) became Senator and then Attorney
General, and the third (Edward) has been a Senator and would probably have
become president but for the Chappaquiddick tragedy.
In Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed as Prime Minister. Ultimately, his daughter,
Benazir Bhutto, became Prime Minister of Pakistan twice before her own
assassination. In Indonesia,
Megawati Sukarnoputri eventually succeeded her father, the late Sukarno, as Indonesia's
Head of State. Of course, in India,
the Nehru-Gandhi family are a political dynasty.
Some other notable political dynasties: the Macapagal Presidential Family and the Aquino Revolutionary Dynasty (Philippines); the
Beazley and Crean families (Australia); Ziaur Rahman's and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's families
(Bangladesh); the Soekarnos (Indonesia); Aung San Suu Kyi's family
(Burma); the Kims (North Korea); the Lee Kuan Yew's
family (Singapore); the Solomon Bandaranaike's family (Sri Lanka); the Assads (Syria); the Churchills/Dukes of
Marlborough) (UK); the Adamses, the Long
family, the Roosevelts, the Tafts and the Udalls, all of the US.
In Africa, the Odinga family of Kenya
is becoming dynastic. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rose as high as Kenya's
Vice-Presidency. Politicisation of Raila Odinga is turning the Odinga family
into a political dynasty.
The Kenyattas might also evolve into a political dynasty. In 2002, Uhuru Kenyatta
attempted to become President of Kenya like his father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Uhuru is young enough to ascend to the pinnacle of power in the future.
It will be useful to consider the achievements of these aforementioned notable
political dynasties from the various countries around the world and try and
compare them to our so-called, self-publicising, arrogant, selfish and corrupt
political families in Nigeria.
Any basis for comparison? I doubt it.
A country, where for the past 50 years, the political and military classes have
contrived to ruin the country, keep the people in poverty, made the
infrastructure left by the colonial rulers moribund, through sheer greed,
unbelievable selfishness, absolute and profound lack of vision and focus,
mismanagement and corruption.
Then some children of these political and military classes have been expressing
themselves as saviours of the masses, with desires and ambitions to run for
office (some of them have already succeeded in getting political offices,
mostly through rigging and god-fatherism, etc).It is, to my mind the ultimate
insult on the people of Nigeria.
Probably this article needs not be written, but for Nigerian political rogues are now
trying to put themselves and their “achievement and contributions” to Nigeria (the
mere thought of this makes me angry) with such families as the Kennedys, the
Bushes, the Gandhis, it is even an insult to the memories of these great
What I have concluded from their utterances and ambition is that they are
insensitive, selfish, greedy and most poignantly, do not realise that their
parents (some of them, to avoid a wide generalisation) have committed grave
sins against the people of Nigeria.
On the other hand, they may actually be used by their infamous parents to
continue to perpetuate their crimes and themselves on the people. It is again
an example of the sad indictment of our society that the children of rogues,
corrupt and discredited politicians and thugs will now come out and start to
“re-brand”, apologies to Dora Akunyinli, their mostly infamous parents
Let me first say I respect and hold in very high regards our REAL “heroes past”
like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Aminu Kano and Sir Tafawa
Balewa. I could join Chief Peter Enahoro, J S Tarka, Herbert Macauley and a few
others. But taking these real and true heroes, which of their progenies are shouting
their fathers’ names to the high heavens? Like they say, the empty drum sounds
To my utter chagrin and consternation, recently we have had children of very minor
or even insignificant political players in our chequered history, coming out
with delusions of grandeur to claim that (1) they want to contest election in
2011 – and mind you, I have nothing against any of 140 million contesting
elections, it is their right - using
their fathers’ names as some kind of anointment, (2) their parents were
political giants in the affairs on Nigeria for the past 50 years, (3) that they
can do a lot better than their fathers (I use the masculine because the parents
were invariably, male anyway), and (4) to compound their illusion and
delusions, claiming that ordinary Nigerians are jealous and resentment of them
because of their “famous”(I would say "infamous") fathers!
I was annoyed at this last bit - resentment and envy? Who in
his right mind will be envious and resentful of corrupt,
irresponsible thieves called Nigerian politician? What famous fathers? More like
infamous and worthy of prison, most of them. These children either innocently
do not know the evils their fathers perpetrated on this country, or maybe they
were really shielded from such acts committed by their fathers, or maybe they
are just being deliberately mischievous.
One of them, a son of a failed and ignoble former Governor of Oyo state, says he
wants to become the next Governor of the state, and while claiming not to be
using his father’s name, he is ensuring the father’s first and surname is
prominent. He calls himself Lam Adesina. Why didn’t he just call himself
Adesina? That way, he will just be another Adesina in Oyo State.
Even Iyabo Obasanjo was the most notorious. She was Mrs Iyabo Bello before her
father became the President. The moment OBJ was in power, Iyabo Bello became
Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and now simply Iyabo Obasanjo after separation/divorce
from Mr Bello. I was in Abeokuta
recently and I could only shake my head in disgust at seeing large billboards
with her picture and the message “Ko si
omo to dabi Iyabo” (There is no child like Iyabo) all over the old city.
Another, a legislator, sought and got his elective position through a notorious late
Godfather in a SW state. When he was campaigning, he never used his father’s
first name; in fact he distanced himself from his father’s name and poor
reputation in his home-city. The moment he got rigged in, he started adding his
father’s first name to make a compound double-barrelled name. He felt he could
now bandy his father’s name about.
The son the Godfather himself rigged into the Senate now sees his father as a
political dynasty. But let’s look at it this way; the godfather or rather
“thug-father” was never a politician per se, he was a political thug, and thugs
hardly made dynasties, do they?
It is very convenient to forgive them. But we can’t forget. I would say the
Sarakis, the Akinloyes, the Lam Adesinas, the Fani Kayodes, the Akinjides, the
Adedibus, the minor insignificant players like Omololu Olunloyos, took from
Nigeria rather than give back to Nigeria. The fathers made money and name via
the corrupt political system they operated in, and perpetuated, without
complaint. Up till now, I have failed to see exactly what they benefitted their
Is it the failed Societe Generale Bank, where thousands of depositors lost their
money, and the owners of the bank, the Sarakis, absolute owners of Kwara State,
were never brought to book and never showed any remorse or apologies? Who can
point to any single worthy thing that Baba L’Oje did in Ibadan, his hometown, since he was in
politics from the late 1950’s until he died a few years ago? Can I go to Ibadan and be able to point out any significant projects
initiated or established by Ibadan
legal luminary, several times in different governments, Federal Minister, Chief
Richard Akinjide? Yet he was trying to manoeuvre his son to become the Deputy
Governor during the Ladoja/Alao-Akala crisis.
Hon Gbemi Saraki - representing
Kwara in the Senate and Nigerian women everywhere!" “Hon Olusegun
Adisa-Akinloye – scion of an Ibadan
political dynasty” – these are the nonsense I have read recently in the papers.
Please note that I am of the conviction that any Nigeria has a right to aspire and
indeed go for any public office. These children of politicians are included.
They have every right to become politicians and contest for positions. My beef
with them is trying to hop on the ignoble backs and discredited names of their
parents, and trying to form another clique or cabal and thinking of themselves
as special Nigerians.
“The sins of the father shall be visited on the son” – please feminise this – so the
Holy Bible says. And so shall it be. I am sure there’s a similar saying or
tenet in the Holy Koran too. “The evil that men do lives after them; the
good is oft interred with their bones” – (William Shakespear in Julius Caesar)
(Latin, from ignis,
"fire" + fatuus,
"foolish") is a Latin term for something that misleads or deludes; an
illusion. A delusion is a false belief about oneself or other people that
persists despite it being at variance with the facts.
Sadly, these set of Nigerian politician children
who think of themselves as political dynasties and indispensable to the
Nigerian political scene appear to suffer from this normal"">ignis fatuus, a definite and infinite inferiority complex that tend
to exist in communities where good governance, conscience, selflessness and
uprightness have been thrown to the wind in favour of selfishness, corruption,
oppression, arrogance and egotism, and self-centredness.
I believe it is an attempt by the incorrigible and
unrepentant parents and families to continue to perpetrate their corruption and
oppression of the Nigerian people. There was nothing of note that they did for
this country – how else did we find ourselves in this problem? – except lining their
pockets from the treasury, laying false trails of nationalism and patriotism as
well as giving the false impression that what they did was serve Nigeria.
Did they truly serve Nigeria,
and not themselves and their families and friends? Let any of them defend this.
Let their parents and themselves search deep in their souls and conscience and
reflect on whether they have truly served Nigeria, their people, their
kinsmen and their communities in the true sense of the word. What legacy did
they leave behind?
I have really tried very hard not to be too hard on these children in this article.
Believe me, I have, because several of them are my friends, but the Truth must
be said always.