Politics of zoning has been the major problem bedeviling democracy in Nigeria right from 1999 to date. This is happening considering agitations of various regions fighting the presidential race.
Nigeria being a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, our political system shouldn’t be divided in such a way. The case is that, no matter how clean the conduct, antecedent and pedigree of a candidate are, people don’t bother about it rather what matter are the candidate’s tribe, and the religion he practices.
While that’s not where the spider exactly spins, had the zoning formula been exactly working then it could be trusted, but the game is full of deceit among the major ethnic groups. When the Hausa/Fulani negotiate and supported the Yoruba for a tenure having the intention that the Yoruba will shift power to them when the tenure elapsed, then the Yoruba will still move again and negotiate with the Igbo; still, when it comes to the Igbo and the Hausa/Fulani the case is the reverse.
What I am emphasising here is that, there are many elements of hypocrisy in the politics of zoning. Already, the waves of politicking for the 2023 have started hovering over the nation; where power will be exactly shifted, especially by the major political parties.
Though, the polical gladiators are trying to foresee where the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will pick thier candidates based on the zoning formula, I don’t think the game will be exactly played by following the due process of the zoning formula.
The point is that, taking a look at the APC, right from the 2019 general elections, the Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, and the Yoruba ignored the merger schedule. That’s to say things were already falling apart among them, because almost all the zones, tribes are agitating for the seat.
There was an assertion by Malam Mamman Daura that there is no need for zoning of the presidential tickets by the two parties to any part of the country, thereby suggesting that competence should be given a priority.
Indeed, he is very right that competence is the number one prerequisite which should be given priority but the phenomenon of politics never gives competency a role to play rather recognises regionality. The two big political parties condemned Mamman Daura’s statement even though he is right. I have seen what Mamman Daura foresees already because if it’s the politics of zoning, neither North-east nor North-west not even the North-central can support the Southern region in maintaining the presidential seat in 2023 but rather each of them will come with their candidate to fight for the race, and even negotiate with the South-south and some parts of the South-east.
Therefore, rebuking the rebuking of Mamman Daura by some political gladiators was a big mistake. In the actual sense, zoning will never suit Nigerian politics but will instead destroy it. Thus, I advocate that we need to go for competency if possible and avoid considering that a candidate is from this or that region. Nigerians are keenly interested in who will replace the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari as his tenure elapses in 2023, that’s for the ruling APC; and they are absolutely right. Somebody like me will take it simply by considering the merger agreement, which we are all aware that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, from the Yoruba axis, is smarting to contest for the presidency.
But due to the distrust of zoning formula he may lose the ticket to another candidate from the North. And if that happens, it will mark the end of the APC, because the Yoruba will never support the Hausa/Fulani again to retain power.
In fact, that is my point of entitling this article “Zoning: The game of distrust”. This is because the Hausa/Fulani will definitely lose the ticket in the APC, an act that will afford them a chance to negotiate with the Igbo under different political parties to produce the president again in 2023. The main opposition PDP will pick its candidate from the North based on their zoning schedule and will probably win because they will have massive support from the North.
The South-west and part of the South-east agitating that since the incumbent president is from North-west, his vice from South-west, power will be shifted to South-west. That means, the game will only be played between the two zones only and if so what about the other regions, are they not qualified to produce a president?
In the same vein, some political analysts said the two big parties are expected to choose thier presidential candidates from the North for them to take over the mantle of rulling this country. Therefore, power will still be maintained in the North. I’m not against north as I’m a northerner, but always thinking of how we can develop our political system, irrespective of religion and regional sentiments.
Instead of going wiser in politics we are goinggoing blindly; we shouldn’t mind where a candidate is coming from if not, we will keep on diminishing our democracy and jeopardise the peace of our dear nation.
Someone will be busy talking about equity, fairness and justice in power rotation among the six geopolitical zones, to me is nonsense because the equity and fairness we are talking about won’t be determined on region, religion or political party but on competency. A polical analyst, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, said, “I foresee a situation where any candidate who comes from the North will still carry the flag in 2023. Today, I am a chieftain of the APC, but if the APC zones it to the South and the PDP zones it to the North, I am going to follow the northern candidate because I won’t follow a loser.
“I sympathise with the entire South of this country. It’s like up till now the South does not know the political arithmetic of this country. The North has a unifying factor; they have something in common that brings them together. If you want to look at it region by region, the South can never rule this country any time, except the North wants it to happen.”
Sorry to say this, Chief Ojo, people like you shouldn’t be discouraging people in such a way. North is just the name of the region; we need to fix it they way we like it by ourselves. But am telling you that you truly believe in the zoning which you are not supposed to as an elderstateman because your words sound discouraging.
So talking about South-south, South-west, North-west, North-east or whatever should be neglected for us to build a better Nigeria; I learned that the more we keep on prioritising politics of zoning the more we degrade our democracy.
Rabi’u writes from Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria.