Local Institutions, Fetish Oaths and Blind Loyalties to Political Godfathers in South-Western Nigeria


This presentation examines the involvement of traditional rulers and other institutions such as Community Development Association (CDA) and Community Development Council (CDC) in the mobilization for both local and General Elections in south-western Nigeria. It argues that the upgrading of some village heads to the position of kings, together with the creation of the position where it was hitherto non-existent, as well as secret but fetish oaths of loyalty sworn to by political sons/daughters to guarantee their loyalty, is deliberately done with a view to using them as a veritable tool to mobilize for grassroots support during General Elections. Using interview and observation, the conceptual framework for this study is David Easton's system analysis and this is augmented with the theory of violence as espoused by Hannah Arendt and Jenny Pearce. The problems created by the politicization of these institutions are blind loyalty of traditional leaders, politicians and members of community associations to the political Godfathers, deification of these Godfathers, imposition of unpopular and incompetent candidates in political offices, misappropriation of public funds and all manner of corruption, among others. Hence, the required remedies to these factors are proffered after which this paper concludes that for violence to disappear, there is the need for political gladiators and electorate to desist and resist the politicization of local institutions and the installation of literate and non-violent candidates as either a village head or a king. This is the needed impetus to stop violence during elections in South-western Nigeria.

Author Information
Olusegun Afuape, Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos, Nigeria

Paper Information
Conference: NACSS2014
Stream: Politics

This paper is part of the NACSS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon