Malam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, stirred controversy with his recent statement on power rotation in the country. Daura, in an interview granted to the BBC Hausa, advocated a competent president in 2023 rather than the usual zoning one. His statement or opinion has since sparked up mixed reactions across the country with the socio-cultural groups such as Ndigbo and Afenifere condemned it. It is unarguable to say that since the return of democracy, the country has witnessed power rotation between the North and the South.
Although, the unwritten political arrangement is not constitutional,i t has been able to douse tension and to give other geopolitical ethnic groups the opportunity to rule the country.
In my piece entitled “APC and the question of power rotation” I answered several vexed questions regarding the call by some APC big wings on the need to jettison the power rotation and adopt competency as the prerequisite for the office of Mr President. One of such answers is that no region has the monopoly of best or capable hands to steer the leadership of the country. I also explained how the rejection of this simple gentleman’s agreement cost the PDP power in 2015. In my conclusion, I implored the leadership of the ruling party to take a cue from the sad or rather unfortunate experience of the former ruling party and resolve its zoning arrangement. While Mamman Daura might have expressed his personal views as guaranteed by the constitution. But being an elder statesman and a person close to the seat of power, baring his mind on zoning issues has come at a wrong time. His statement has started heating up the polity with the presidency disassociating itself from it. Until the 1999 amended constitution, the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha, came up with the idea of rotational presidency to address the perceived fear of power domination from a particular region. He ensured that the good idea was inserted in the 1997 constitution.
Sadly, the General Abubakar Abdulsalam military regime threw away the baby with the bath water. He removed the clause and conpounded the already heightened agitation. However, with the return to democracy in 1999, the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) adopted the zoning arrangement to build unity and national cohesion. The breach of the agreement by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan led to the defeat of the party in the 2015 general election. The Nigerian defective federalism has become an obstacle to socio-economic development of the country. There has been an intense agitation or call for fiscal federalism and power rotation in the country. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with over 360 ethnic nationalities. Thanks to the principle of federal character which is being practiced sometimes in breach for taking care of the nation’s diverse ethnic composition.
If the country could retain and use federal character in sharing of jobs and political appointments such as ministers and ambassadors, the rotation of presidency should not be an exceptional. Our ruling elite who are the beneficiaries of this arrangement should not deny its existence. It is high time both in words and actions our ruling elite adopted what would promote peace, unity and national development.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna state08169056963.