r. Sigmund Freud defined two methods to attain a goal: the long way via hard labour and the quick way through gambling, a bargain with the devil, which the Governors and their parties are currently following.
Those who are hell-bent on ignoring the national consensus stance and bipartisan affirmations by Southern Governors in Asaba, Lagos, and, most recently, Enugu, the chosen capital of the Eastern Region, has made a deal with the devil in exchange for their soaring selfish ambition.
According to legend, a leopard’s colour never changes. They committed such an inexcusable deed in Enugu in 2005, 16 years ago. In other words, the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the PDP Zoning Committee would confront the same challenges in 2021 as they had in 2005.
If you recall, Southern politicians agreed that the Presidency should be assigned to the South-South or South-East Regions at the Enugu Conference, but then turned around to push for President Obasanjo, who was from the South West Region, for a third term.
Aspirants to the Presidency, Peter Odili, Donald Duke, Orji Uzor Kalu, and Attah felt misled.
Enugu State looks to be getting a reputation for being the cursed capital of the Southern Region’s bid for the Rotational Presidency. While the betrayal and treachery of 2005 was a family affair, the national disaster of 2021 was a national disaster. The South East Region is a pity. It is no surprise that it has been relegated to the margins in a number of states, as well as a portion of Nigeria’s prized presidency.
Governor Ifeanyi Uqwuanyi, their son, presided over the zoning of the Presidency to the north during the Enugu 2005 convention. Naturally, the South East has ruled itself out of competition for the president in 2023 as a result of this single act of cowardice and treachery of his people.
In a recurrence of this heinous act of treason, what has befallen these leaders in 2021, notably the PDP? Its National Executive Council (NEC) accepted and incorporated the zoning idea into its Constitution 22 years ago, namely in 1998/1999.
It was used by the party until Presidents Shehu Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and presently President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were in office.
The Northern Governors and their Emirs’ argument that zoning has been followed and ingrained in their respective parties’ Constitution since 1999, which is unlawful, is not only a breach of trust, but also disloyal and disingenuous. Alas!
There is a corruption of the institution and aberration of patriotism when and when a people agree in the rejection of Justice, and humanity is relieved.
The NPN originally proposed the unique concept of zoning in 1978/79, when President Shagari, a northerner, was elected president and Vice President Alex Ekwueme, a southerner, was appointed Vice President.
When the power transferred to the South in 1999, the PDP officially enshrined it in their constitution. General Olusegun Obasanjo was elected President, with northerner Abubakar Atiku as his Vice President.
When power peacefully passed from Obasanjo to Yar Adua, a northerner, and Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, the regional succession plan persisted.
The Northern military elites and its civilian supporters supervised and ushered in the Shagari and Obasanjo civil governments at both times.
The regional power transfer, zoning, or rotation plan that these Northern founding fathers of the 1979-1999 ages passed down to us functioned well. It established Justice, Equity, and Fairness, which reflected themselves in the peace, unity, and sense of belonging that many Nigerians have grown to expect.
Based on this development, it is apparent that the PDP’s and its Northern Governors’ game plan to destabilise the agreement is not in the national interest. They have never thought about nation-building.
From 1966 until the present, what has been on their minds, notably the Governors of the South and North, has been the rejection of the democratic dividends due us in the creeks and deserts.
This may be seen in the life of the Al-Majiris in the north, and it has now expanded to the south. The risk is evident along railway lines in cities such as Lagos and others, where they assemble (I mean live) every morning to beg for food in order to survive.
The growing number of jobless young people in the South, as well as the poverty that comes with it, is a common sight. Something should be done.
Their claim that zoning is undemocratic and unlawful is mercantile, criminal, and a last-minute addition. The unprecedented success of zoning, which lasted 41 years from 1978 to 2019, demonstrates their selfish and commercial impulses against the common interest.
What distinguishes these leaders from their counterparts in the advanced democracies of Europe, America, and Asia, who converged in 2021 in Kaduna, Asaba, Lagos, and Enugu, and who did the same in Enugu in 2005, is their complete disregard for public duty and accountability to the people they represent.
The leaders of these advanced democracies modified the classical Greek democracy, in which every member of the polity participated in governance, to suit their current realities, resulting in the modern democratic variants of Majority Rule, Plurality Rule, Proportional Representation, Coalition Government, and, in Britain, emerging rules, customs, and traditions not found in any single document called a Written Constitution.
In Nigeria, the opposite is true, as our governors and leaders alter the democratic idea of power transfer, zoning, or rotation to fit their burgeoning selfish ambitions, oblivious to the cost to national unity and the development of human capital among the destitute and oppressed citizens.
Power Shift was established by our founding fathers in 1978/79 to assist disadvantaged minorities in gaining access to and occupying higher political positions at the Federal, State, and Local levels. After 38 years in power, the Northern Statesmen displayed statesmanship and magnanimity by allowing the South to elect the President in 1999, for the sake of the nation’s stability and unity. The South had only enjoyed power at the Centre for three years prior to 1999, dating back to 1960.
Today’s Northern governors and emirs prioritised retaining the Presidency in perpetuity over concerns of justice, equity, and fairness, regardless of the cost to the country’s existence and unity.
As a result, our Northern Governors, their Emirs, and the Southern Governors, all of whom are members of the PDP Zoning Committee and have demanded that the Presidency be zoned to the North in three separate meetings, is nauseating and demonstrates the decline in morals and character of those we call leaders. The masses of the Southern Region must rise to the challenge and take control of their destiny, as reliance on these leaders will spell doom for our vision of one Nigeria [where all are treated equally and with brotherly love of giving and taking], based on their habitual attitudes and the insistence of their collaborators in the North to maintain power.
While the leaders of Europe, America, and Asia, as we have all seen, elegantly elevated the distorted notion of Classical Greek democracy, our Nigerian Governors, particularly those in the North, repressed it with their egotistical and inept handling of the Power Shift argument. These Governors and Leaders are deceivers and dodgers. They will not become more honourable until we, the blind followers, force them to. Are we prepared to take a stand? Are we not motivated by the same values as these leaders, if I may inquire? Is it not possible that we are more concerned with ourselves than with the truth, and that this is why decent representation in government has escaped us?
It is self-evident that those who vote for corrupt, self-serving politicians, traitors, and the like, vote for individuals like them, and are thus not victims, but collaborators. Our patriotic leaders of the founding generation instilled in us a paradigm change that must be maintained. We call on the Northern Governors and Emirs’ consciences to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and support the following initiatives:
grant the Presidency to the Southern Region, as our forefathers did in the past, and as we have done since 1999, when our son, Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, passed over power to your son, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a peaceful transfer of power.
We call on Nigerians of all political stripes to recognise that justice, fairness, and equity demand that the Southern Region be given the opportunity to produce the President in 2023 to make up for Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s short-lived term.
The fact is that zoning exists; by 2023, the North will have completed its 8-year term, while the South West will have completed another 8 years in office as Vice President, giving the South West a total of 16 years at the head of the country’s administration. Rotational Justice, Equity, and Fairness demand that the South-South or South-East Region be given the opportunity to produce the President in 2023., South-South in the order of priority because the South East, for the time being, appears to be unprepared – their leader, who heads the PDP Zoning Committee, appears to be indirectly advocating.
Given the foregoing, as well as the pressing necessity to address the country’s rapidly worsening security and socioeconomic situations, discussions over the constitutionality of zoning are nothing more than a waste of time.
Even back then, from Classical Greece to current European, American, and Asian democracies, it is clear that democracy grows, coming with its own set of inconsistencies and challenges to its core values.
The British, Americans, and Asians have harmonised their ideals and practices of democratic standards over time and still continue to do so.
As a result of our participation, we may have created a government system that answers the anxieties and concerns of Nigeria’s South-South, South-East, North Central, North East, North West, and South West areas.
Above all, our leaders, egotistical and lofty personal desires would be restrained for the first time. We will have succeeded in grooming a new generation of leadership for a New Nigeria when we arrest their mercantile dispositions to always trade-off our future, survival, and unity for selfish gains, their disregard for the interests and immediate concerns of the ordinary, impoverished, oppressed Nigerians, who in the first place bore the brunt of their ill governance.
Any attempt by our leaders to collaborate with hegemonic tendencies in order to dominate and deny us the Presidency will be an unqualified failure. A stitch in time saves nine, they say!!!