Can zoning address Nigeria’s leadership problem?

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Ahead the 2023 general elections, the issue of power rotation is still ranging among the ruling elite. Zoning has become more pronounced in recent times that it has plunged the northern and southern governors into a tango. 
The controversy about power rotation has been with the country from time immemorial. With the return of democracy in 1999, the two dominant political parties at the time (PDP and APP) upheld the principle and zoned their presidential tickets to the South-west. In a bid to ensure justice, equity and fairness, the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) inserted zoning arrangement in its constitution. 

Sadly, after the death of President Umaru Yar’adua in 2009, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan jettisoned the gentleman’s agreement and contested the 2011 general election. President Jonathan, based on the zoning arrangement, should not have contested that election. He should have allowed the North to complete its remaining four years. .

 In 2015, Jonathan snubbed all entreaties and appeals to drop his ambition and allow a northern candidate to run the race. The decision led to his defeat and paved the way for the emergence of an opposition government of the Àll Progressives Congress (APC). Àll is now history.  The controversial zoning arrangement has once again been brought to the fore by the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.Speaking at the 94th National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP in Abuja on Thursday, Atiku Abubakar argued that the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket has never been the cause of the country’s problem nor will it be the solution. The PDP has the right to determine its rules on how its party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them.“Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as the president from Southern Nigeria or president from Northern Nigeria. There is only one president from Nigeria, by Nigeria and for Nigeria,” Alhaji Atiku Abubakar told the NEC members in attendance. Although the former vice president may be right, however, majority of Nigerians have since agreed with the idea of power rotation. They posit, through it, the fear of power domination by certain geopolitical zones could be checkmated. Another point is that, no region has the monopoly of competent hands. Each geopolitical zone is blessed with competent people who can steer the affairs of the country. And, if zoning is outdated or archaic as other people want us to believe and demand to be discarded, why is the country retaining the Federal Character Commission? The commission was established to ensure equal distribution or sharing of appointments among the different geographical zones. Nobody can contest the fact that Nigeria is desperately looking for patriotic leaders, who will unite our sharply divided country. To achieve this, the political players should play the game according to the rules. Whoever will emerge as Nigerian president, as stated by Atiku Abubakar, should see himself as president of Nigeria. Therefore, it has become pertinent to emphasis that while zoning may not be the antidote to leadership failures in the country, it will help to douse tension and stabilise the polity..

Ibrahim Mustapha,Pambegua, Kaduna state08169056963

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