Dividends Of ‘Familiocracy’

By Casmir Igbokwe

Seyi, the son of President Bola Tinubu, is a privileged Nigerian. I guess very many people will wish to be like him. From all indications, the young man does not know what hardship means and currently enjoys life to the fullest. While many Nigerians cry and ask for dividends of democracy, Seyi and a few others like him enjoy dividends of ‘familiocracy’.

‘Familiocracy’, by the way, is a system where people are ruled by a family. It is antithetical to democracy and it thrives more in a monarchical environment. That is what Nigeria appears to be practising at the moment.

President Tinubu’s recent travel to Qatar presented us with a typical example of ‘familiocracy’. Among those on the President’s entourage were his two sons, Seyi and Yinka. A number of Nigerians were outraged that the President’s two sons were not just in the entourage, they were introduced first before the ministers of the federal republic. In effect, what this meant was that the President’s sons were rated above these cabinet members.

The Presidency did not see anything wrong with this. The Senior Special Assistant to President Tinubu on Digital and New Media, O’tega Ogra, said Canadian Prime Minister, Trudeau, was known to travel with his family on official trips abroad. He also noted that the Obamas, Clintons, Bushs, Trumps and some others also went on foreign trips with their families while in office. “From the public image and diplomacy, angle, bringing family members can soften a leader’s public image and aid in diplomatic relations by showcasing a relatable family-oriented side,” Ogra said. Well, Ogra missed the point here. The issue is not whether the President’s family can travel with him. They can. But why introduce them first before ministers and other state officials? Are they officials of the Nigerian government? Couldn’t they have stayed in the background to observe things?

It is this same Seyi that flew in a presidential jet to Kano to watch the 2023 Kano International Polo Tournament.  People talked and ranted. But it has not stopped him from enjoying his life as the President’s son.

He even had the guts to admonish Nigerians to bear with his father’s administration and endure the economic hardship in the country. According to him, what Nigerians are going through currently are necessary for better future of the country.

At some point, Seyi reportedly showed up in the chamber of the state house during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. His father was reportedly angry and warned that he should stop coming during such meetings. But did the warning emanate wholly from his heart?

It is doubtful. Recently, Tinubu appointed his son-in-law, Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). This appointment came about a week after the presidential approval of the sum of N126 billion for the construction of housing estates across the country was made public. Mr Ojo is the husband of Tinubu’s daughter, Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, who once declared herself as the First Daughter of the Federal Republic.

Nepotism has become the cardinal principle of state policies in Nigeria. Major beneficiaries are the President’s apostles, cronies and tribesmen. Recently, the President approved the appointment of Umar Abdullahi Umar, the son of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as Executive Director (Technical Services) of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). Umar’s appointment followed the indefinite suspension of the agency’s team led by Ahmad Salihijo.

Following the footsteps of the President is the Head of the third arm of government, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola. In July 2023, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended Justice Ariwoola’s son, Olukayode Ariwoola jnr, as a judge of the Federal High Court. He was recommended along with 22 others. He scaled through. Ariwoola’s younger brother, Adebayo Ariwoola, was also successfully elevated as the auditor of the NJC. Recently, the CJN’s daughter, Victoria Oluwakemi Ariwoola, was named Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court judge nominee. Also reportedly nominated is Maryam, the daughter of the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Husseini Baba-Yusuf. Maryam is said to be the third Kogi judge in the FCT High Court.

There is nothing wrong if a qualified candidate is appointed to a position of influence whether the person is the son or daughter of the President or the CJN. But something is wrong when certain things are done to clear the way for such people. Last year, the former Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itsay Sagay, lamented that sons and daughters of retired and serving judges and justices were being nominated for appointment into sensitive judicial positions at the expense of more qualified candidates who had no privileged backing or support. He said this was a pathway to future miscarriage of justice.

With regard to Ariwoola’s daughter’s nomination, an online medium, People’s Gazette, reported that judiciary workers were not comfortable with Ms Ariwoola’s nomination because she was a junior magistrate with only three years’ experience.

Besides, a lawyer from Ebonyi state, Azubuike Oko, instituted a suit at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court challenging the appointment of the daughters of the CJN and Baba-Yusuf as well as 10 others as FCT High Court judges. Oko alleged that Oyo and Kogi states where Ariwoola and Baba-Yusuf hail from respectively, “already had two serving judges in the FCT High Court, and the two states were given additional slots, to now have three judges, despite the fact that Ebonyi state has no single serving judge in the High Court of the FCT.”

The CJN and Baba-Yusuf prayed the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction. The argument of their counsel is that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine matters relating to the employment of judicial officers. The suit has been adjourned to March 15 for judgement.

Whichever way the judgement goes, the fact remains that nepotism is alive and well in Nigeria. Some of us accused the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari of being nepotistic. We never knew that something worse was coming. From his major appointments so far, especially in economic and security circles, it appears that Tinubu does not care about ethnic harmony and balancing in Nigeria. The framers of our laws did not make a mistake by inserting the federal character principle in the constitution. It is meant to enshrine equity and harmony in the country. But our leaders have chosen to further widen our fault lines. It is rather unfortunate. This partly explains the clamour for restructuring or decentralization, which is really the best way to go if we still desire a peaceful and prosperous country.


Re: Shettima and sham election anniversary

Casmir, it’s regrettable that the leadership of Nigeria is entrusted to hypocrites, liars and people of dubious qualities. Their main interest is to be in the leadership position. These groups of people were never prepared to get the country better. Rather, they see Nigeria as gold mine where they can control the distribution of the wealth as they are pleased. Their so-called policies are formulated to frustrate the common man and enrich those they planted in every areas of the economy. Their cronies control every sector of the economy. Their economic wizardry begins and ends with white elephant projects, which had hitherto received stupendous budget approval. To earn enough money to spend, they impose irrational taxes and unjustifiable income duties which overburden the helpless masses to the point of surrender. Shettima anniversary is about the celebration of the subjugation of the suffering masses who are helpless. Unfortunately, Shettima and his principal have failed to realize that a hungry man is equally an angry man who if urgent positive policies are not put in place can become too harmful to their celebration.

-Pharmacist Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922


Casmir, the one-year election anniversary that brought the M-M or Alhaji-Alhaji ticket of Tinubu-Shettima into power remains a watershed in the annals of elections in Nigeria! The date (Feb 25, 2023) is a sad reminder of how the good and progress seeking/thirsty Nigerians were denied the opportunity of choosing their leaders by a fraudulent electoral system contrary to INEC’s promises. The date evokes bad and sad memories of how good Nigerians were short-changed by INEC and prevented from changing the course of their destiny! Prior to the elections, Shettima canvassed for votes when he asked Nigerians to vote for the people that know the way. Post-election events have however proved that they don’t know the way and they are taking Nigerians to the Golgotha. This is because from Feb 25, 2023 the destiny of Nigerians has suffered more violence due to Tinubu’s incompetence! The antidote is not embarking on blame games. They should look back and correct their policies of wearing suit (ideal policies) on a monkey (Nigeria’s import dependent economy). This ‘ebi npa wa’ (we are hungry) government should roll up their sleeves and work their socks off to redeem the country from going under because of their weak foundation.

-Mike, Mushin, 0816 111 4572


Casy, what is there to celebrate? Do you want Nigerians to celebrate hunger, deprivation, protests, insecurity and panicky measures? It is not possible for one to give what one does not have!

-Edet Essien Esq. Calabar South, +234 701 987 2815

•Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, March 11, 2024

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