Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, believes its easy to end godfatherism in lagos and other states in Nigeria if enough people in the business world are committed to it.
While speaking at an event in Ikoyi, Lagos on Saturday, May 4, 2019, the governor said godfathers only exist on paper or in the minds of people.
During the event organised by the Bridge Club tagged, “An evening with His Excellency Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State”, El-Rufai said he defeated all the godfathers in Kaduna politics to become a two-term governor.
The former minister said he achieved the feat by going directly to the electorate and that the same can be done anywhere else including Lagos.
He said, “Here in Lagos, you have over six million registered voters, only about a million voted (in 2019 general elections); five million did not vote.
“If I want to run for governor of Lagos, I will start now. I will commission a study to know why those five million registered voters did not vote; where do they go on election day? Then I will start visiting them for the next four years. I will try and get just two million of them to come and vote for me; I will defeat any godfather.
“The key is to go to the people. The card reader and the biometric register have given us the tools to connect directly with the people.
“I assure you if you do that for the next four years, connecting with the people; the tin godfather, you will retire him or her permanently. But it is hard work; it requires three to four years of hard work. So, if you want to run in 2023, you should start now.
“With about N2 billion; if you start, you see these guys with black ties, they will give you the N2 billion.
“Many of the godfathers are either on paper or in the mind of people in politics. They are defeatable.
“We retired four of them in Kaduna State within a four-year time and they are gone. One of them boasted that he put me in the government house and he would take me out.”
El-Rufai’s words will resonate because the National Leader of his All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, is considered the de facto godfather of Lagos politics as he’s had a hand in all three candidates that have become governors since he finished his two-term tenure in 2007.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the APC candidate who’s now governor-elect, was constantly referred to as a figure-head for Tinubu by the opposition during the campaign.
Tinubu was also the co-chairman for the 2019 re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, a close ally of El-Rufai.