I ended godfatherism in Kaduna politics, same can be done in Lagos – El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, on Saturday said he knows how to end godfatherism in Lagos State.

Mr El-Rufai said this at an event organised by the Bridge Club in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Details of the event were reported by Punch newspaper. The event was tagged, “An evening with His Excellency Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State.”

Mr El-Rufai said he was able to retire, in the last general elections, some political godfathers that determined the affairs of Kaduna State.

He added that many of the godfathers are merely either on paper or in the mind of people in politics.

“Godfatherism. This is Lagos. Let me tell you something sir; you know, Kaduna State used to be like that. There were three or four politicians in Kaduna that you could not become anything unless you had them on your side,” Mr El-Rufai said.

”Those were the godfathers of Kaduna politics and you had to carry them along and you know, the three words, ‘carry them along’ mean paying them regularly.

“But we chose a different path and the long and short of it now is that after this election in 2019, we have retired all of them; we had to,” he added.

On how to end godfatherism in Lagos, the governor said the blueprint is getting to the people at the grassroots.

Lagos politics has been controlled by Bola Tinubu since he was elected the first governor of the state in the Fourth Republic. Mr Tinubu, who is a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has been called the godfather of Lagos especially because he was instrumental in the emergence of his three successors, including the governor-elect, Babajide Sanwoolu.

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To dislodge him, Mr El-Rufai said one would have to first embark on a study to understand why five of the six million voters in Lagos state did not vote.

“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.”

Mr El-Rufai said it would require about N2 billion defeat a godfather.

“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,” he added.

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