The Place of Godfathers in Politics
Evang. Kolade Segun-Okeowo (Convener, Believers in Politics)
The place of godfathers in an democratic system cannot be underestimated. In saner climes, they are expected to guide, chart courses and provide guide for young politicians. The role of godfathers is expected to enhance continuity and consistency of ideology and principles of a political party.
Godfathers are needed to bring sanity into politics, correct and sanction erring members of the party holding political office.
Even in spiritual organizations, godfatherism is not a strange concept although may come under different names and nomenclatures such as mentors, disciplers, fathers-in the Lord etc.
Unfortunately, in Nigerian politics, the concept of godfatherism has been utterly bastardized to mean more of an investment drive, cult like or a near clandestine relationship between two people wherein the older or the senior perpetually holds the younger or junior into some form of bondage as a result of helps or assistance rendered by the former while the latter sought political patronage.
Politics in Nigeria has become an investment where the investors are set to make profit at all cost, as a result, political brutality is pervading the society. It is not strange to find a situation where a typical aspirant or candidate enjoys the patronage and support of his godfather prior to the elections.
“The godfather-godson relationship would usually soon hit at the rock when either the godfather’s requests are considered as abnormal, incessant, and presented with element of arrogance and pride. On the other hand we have noticed many of the godsons that jettisoned their godfathers soon after becoming His Excellency or occupying a high office on appointment. Whereas most Nigerian godfathers see the relationship purely on business most godsons always forget too soon the covenants they signed off carelessly in the desperation. We even learnt that a godson went to the oath-taking between himself and his godfather with a Bible hiding secretly under his armpit believing the hiden Bible would break the agreement. We know that the Bible encourages us to honour our agreements and not to enter into any agreement we know we would not be able to honour” (Prof. R.A Ipinyomi: African Examiner –Thursday, January 9th, 2014)
The role Mordecai played in the life of young girl Esther who eventually became the Queen of King Ahasuerus of Persia was no less than the role of a godfather. Mordecai not only adopted Esther as his own daughter, he also informed her of a vacancy in the office of the Queen as announced by the “Persian Electoral Commission”
2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it. ESTHER 2:2-4
Mordecai not only collected “nomination forms” from his niece, but he also spent time, efforts and connection to ensure that the young lady won the election. He did not just pray for her! He was available and also gave her political education!
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her. ESTHER 2:10-11
He paid the price to ensure her niece won the election. Mordecai was a GODFATHER !!!
It is worthy to note that Esther took cognizance of this and gave due regards to Mordecai for the role he played in her emergence as the Queen of Persia. No wonder, when Mordecai brought that great request asking her to present herself before the King uninvited, she readily risked her life and made that classical statement we have all quoted severally; “If I perish I perish”
We may not be completely right to assume that it was the love of God and her nation that made Esther to take such a huge risk. I think loyalty to Mordecai and appreciation to him for the role he had played in her life and especially her emergence as the Queen prompted Esther to take that great risk. Imagine if some of the Jewish leaders; without Mordecai’s inputs were the ones who approached Esther and requested her to put her life on the risk. I doubt if she would go all the way with them.
Godfatherism has its rewards!
This is one lesson the church is yet to learn. A child of God is contesting elections and he gets all his supports from the wrong people. Church leaders only prayed for him. When such a fellow becomes a political office holder and brethren approach him for assistance with the usual “You know we are together” kind of requests, many a times the expected “If I perish I perish” response do not come for obvious reasons.
It is good for children of God contesting elections to win, but the question is where are the Mordecais to assist them win. If they find their Mordecais from the other side, I doubt if anyone is justified to expect miracles from them!
One of the most crucial lacuna in the politics of Nigeria today is the absence of righteous godfathers who can genuinely mentor Christian politicians. Most Christians who go into politics today are being mentored and godfathered by the kind of people whose ideals and principles they do not agree with or accept but have to wily-nily submit themselves so they don’t lose out completely.
Christian godfathers are scarce. This is sad !!!
There are some great lessons for would-be Christian political godfathers to learn from the life of Mordecai, the Biblical political godfather!
1. READY TO BE INCONVINIENCED: He was prepared to adopt his niece as she had no parents. So, Mordecai must have been willing to step out and do what wasn’t convenient and probably wasn’t comfortable! Because Mordecai was willing to be inconvenienced and feel uncomfortable, he was able to save a generation. Mentoring a political godson is not easy and fruits may not be immediate.
2. HE WAS WISE AND RIGHTHEOUS: Mordecai instructed Esther not to reveal her background and then when he heard the plot to assassinate the king, he was able to be as shrewd as a serpent and gentle as a dove. Mordecai said and did what was RIGHT simply because it was right! Political godfathers must be wise, well informed and equally stand for what is right at all times.
3. HE WOULD NOT COMPROMISE: Mordecai would not bow down to Haman! Mordecai was NOT prepared to bow down to the culture of the world. He was sold out, no compromise! The kind of political godfathers we are looking for must be completely different from the old order and be prepared to raise new politicians in that order.
4. WILLING TO TAKE RISKS: Mordecai encouraged Esther to go to the king on behalf of the people. This would have meant that he could potentially have lost Esther, as this meant she was to risk her life. Available historical records of King Ahaesuerus has proved that not only was he capable of doing what Esther feared, he actually did more scary things. However, Mordecai must have been prepared to take the risk and COUNT THE COST for the sake of others.
5. HE WAS PEOPLE ORIENTED: The role definition of righteous godfathers must be that they have the love of the people at the back of their minds and not personal aggrandizements. Righteous godfathers won’t sponsor or mentor candidates with the sole purpose of bringing only personal returns. Mordecai’s major request from the Queen was not personal!
There is reward for helping to install the right leaders in positions of political authority. Apart for writing their names in gold, righteous godfathers have the opportunity of mentoring and guiding leaders aright. In the case of Mordecai, not only was he promoted but was equally rewarded courtesy of the efforts of the political office holder he helped to install in office; Queen Esther.
Hear what the Bible says about him in ESTHER 10: 3
“Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, pre-eminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.”
God give us more MORDECAIS !!!