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The Politics Of Zoning In Nigeria By Muideen Adeleke

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Politics is said to be as old as the evolution of humans. The definition of the concept keeps increasing as more scholars join the queue as far as postulation continues in the field.

Though it originated from the Greek word political, which implies, affairs of the cities, politics has been defined as a set of activities associated with making decisions among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status.

Among all forms of government practiced globally, democracy remains unarguably the most popular. Unfortunately, democracy in Nigeria can no longer be defined as the government of the people by the people and for the people.

A retrospective look at the concept of the politics in Nigeria in the pre-independence and post-independence era, indicates that the game thrived on ideas with clear party ideologies as inherited from colonial masters.

It is however apt to state that, our collective search for a home-grown system of governance has paved the way for the injection of extraneous variables which have ultimately corrupted the country’s democracy and distorted the psyche of the citizens.

It is on record that the 30-month civil war the country experienced in the aftermath of the 1996 coup d’etat and the seeming imbalance between the north and south necessitated the adoption of some terms, such as Federal Character, Educationally-disadvantaged and quota system, in the scheme of things.

It is pertinent to state that, aside from the constitution which contains varied provisions for the administration of the county, there are few unwritten ground norms which are today regarded as conventions. This is the category under which the rotation of power between the north and south falls.

Ordinarily, no Nigerian should be bothered by which geo-political zone produces the next president if variables such as justice, fairness and equity had permeated the people’s psyche in our march to nationhood.

It is an irony of sorts, that what started as the creation of awareness of the gentleman’s agreement on power shift has been dogged by much intrigues and politicking. The matter had started to generate twists and turns following the communique released after the July 2021 meeting of the Southern governors and the agreement reached on certain policies such as banning of open grazing and power rotation to the South in 2023.

Thus, the political parties, especially the two frontline ones, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have continued to dodge, albeit tactically, the matter, while they rake in huge revenue from the sales of nomination forms to the presidential aspirants.

Suffice to stress that prior the position taken by the Southern states’ governors, the duo of Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Ganduje of Kano State had lent their support for power to shift to the South next year. This was contrary to the view held by the former Governor of Nasarawa State then, who recently took over the mantle of leadership of the ruling APC.

It would be recalled that a coalition of civil society groups in January, called on major political parties in the land, to think ahead of their conventions by using the zoning formula to ensure the country remains united.

We posit that since the incumbent president Muhammad Buhari a northerner is due to complete his two terms of eight (8) years in 2023, nothing should be done to alter the seamless power shift arrangement, between the two divides North and South).

This opinion warns that any ignoble alteration contrary to this could threaten the fragile cord that connects the north to the south and take the nation several steps backward in our collective match to a one and invisible entity.

Now that the Peoples Democratic Party PDP has belled the cat by throwing the presidential ticket open, all eyes are on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on whether it will follow suit, even as the consequences of such a decision appears grave on the unity of the Nation.

Muideen Adeleke (muileke69@gmail.com) is a journalist with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, Osogbo.

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