With election of President Muhammadu Buhari for the second term, it seems the door to 2023 elections campaign has been opened. Although, there were speculations that Buhari would seek third term, the president had denied the rumours, assuring he would only serve for two times as stipulated in the 1999 constitution. However, what has continued to baffle many Nigerians is the question of whether the ruling party has reached an agreement on the controversial zoning arrangement or not. In the build up of 2015 election, the then ruling PDP was enmeshed with power rotation crisis. President Goodluck Jonathan was believed to have breached the power zoning arrangement of his party. The inability of the party to resolve the crisis contributed greatly towards its woefully performance and ultimate defeat.
The 2023 election is still far away. However, those who have been watching or monitoring the political development in the country may rightly or wrongly say that, the alignment and re-alignment of political forces have begun in earnest. It appears the ruling party is in dilemma on the issue of power rotation. Governor of Kaduna state, Nasiru El-rufai, said in prologue “defeating a determined incumbent-the Nigerian experience which he contributed to the book-power of possibilities and politics of change in Nigeria- written by Salihu Lukman, director general of Progressive Governors Forum. He described zoning of political offices as barrier to political equality. He called for expulsion of zoning and application of merit in our politics. Recently, acting chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum, Musa Liman Kwande, said northerners will only vote for northern candidate.
In no distant time, other similar socio-cultural organisations in the country will emerge and come up with their political threats. The threat and counter threat will unarguably heat up the political atmosphere and further divide the country along fault lines even before the election period. The framers of our constitution did a wonderful job by mandating each state to produce a ministerial slot. The 1999 constitution also came up with the principle of federal character in order to give every ethnic group a sense of belonging. The constitutional provisions are aimed at addressing the problem of marginalisation and under representation across the political zones. Each of the six geo-political zones is blessed with people of timber and calibre. These people have excelled in various fields of human endeavour and could hold any position if given the opportunity. No region has the monopoly of competent hands.
It is obvious power rotation has helped tremendously towards promoting unity in diversity. It has addressed the problem of power domination by certain zone in the country. By adopting the principle of power sharing before it was discarded due to selfishness and greed, PDP deserves commendation. The ruling APC should learn a lesson from PDP’s self-inflicted zoning problem that consumed it in 2015.The leadership of the party should speak up about its zoning position in order to calm fraying nerves and clear the doubt in the minds of their stakeholders, candidates and party supporters.
Pambegua, Kaduna state