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GOD FATHERISM AND POLITICAL PATRONAGE IN NIGERIA: A THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

GOD FATHERISM AND POLITICAL PATRONAGE IN NIGERIA: A THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

The form of political system in Nigeria in the early post-colonial period was characterized by a clientelistic structure whose top echelon was occupied by the new elites who captured the economic and political powers of the Nigerian state immediately after independence. They were patron occupying state offices as “pre-bends”. They became the “gate-keeper”; determines the development initiative to be followed and employed and benefactors of privileges. Studies of Godfathering and political patronage in Nigeria have not adequately addressed how these patronage has remained an important aspect of the political and economic powers of the state. This study, therefore, examined God fatherism and political patronage in Nigeria: a theoretical overview. A synthesis of elite, coalition, party system and meritocratic theories provided the conceptual framework. The design was exploratory and the study was descriptive in nature, combining both secondary data from books and the internet. Modern political institutions controlled by elites acquired power through the people. This development places political elites in a position to bestow privilege and concessions as they deemed fit. Hence, this engender the creation of a clientelistic structure with political elites as patrons and the vast majority of population as clients willing to yield their loyalty to patrons for the satisfaction of valued resources. Patrons who, due to their influence on the state apparatus, control both political and economic powers therefore, more often than not control the direction development takes in these areas. The resultant inequality therefore, produces a class of elites who control the economic and political powers of the state and another class of masses who yield their loyalty to the elites in order to secure access to state surpluses to be delivered as “good” or compensation for loyalty. Since access to valued resources is assured through the clientelistic structure, the emergent social relationships may have implication for Nigeria‟s development both in the rural and urban areas
 
 

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