With the next presidential elections in Nigeria around the corner, there have been speculation and actual campaign groundwork by would be and aspiring presidential hopefuls. The mind-boggling scenario that is beginning to shape up is a denegation of an unwritten but widely accepted agreement of rotational or presidential zoning among the major (Abacha Created) six zonal structure.
There has been several diatribe and disputation among zealous supports of the divide on whose turn it is to produce the next presidential candidate. Depending on which side of the divide such apostle comes from. There is a unanimous contention that the southwest is out of the race having produced Obasanjo for the last six years or so. Others have argued with such eloquence that, it is the turn of the North, using the old North/south divide as a parameter for dividing the country into dual zones. Such argument no matter how you look at it denies the tripartite colonial landmark zonal demarcation of the country and this poses a conundrum.
Despite who becomes the president, there should be uniformity of concordance by all that such a president should look beyond his zonal configuration and strive hard to build a viable democratic federal Nigeria for the future generation. I have been reading and following hard the various declarations and underground campaign by presidential loyalists. They seem to be all missing the salient issues bothering on our survival. Or maybe they all deliberately choose not to disclose their stand or views on crucial national questions.
There seems to be an absence of Nigerians on the stage who, unbiased, want to sow the seed of honesty and integrity among the new generation. There seem to be an absence of symbol for long lasting democracy that believes in a true federal system and a lasting union. None seem to have proffered solution and how they would achieve those goals along side those that believe in such principles.
While we all seem engrossed with what zone and who among them is a better candidate to become president, we seem to deliberately ignore reoccurring issues that have threatened and would forever threaten our country and limit our socio-economic growth if these candidates are not asked to let us know what their views are on the following questions:the present federal centralized police command, statism, citizen, electoral system, education, revenue sharing and revenue allocation, religion separation of power, corruption and accountability, rule of law, federal character and quota application, armed forces, judiciary and federalism or federal system.
These are the pertinent questions that we as Nigerians need answers to and not whether the candidates come from any particular zone, region or ethnic nationality. It goes beyond wanting the president to come from any particular zone, perhaps the solution to make Nigeria work as we all endeavor it to be may not be found in the awkward arrangement known as rotational presidency. Nigeria needs a leader that would overhaul the system. It needs a national leader who sees the entire country as his constituent. It transcends our pretension that rotation would automatically usher in the utopian Nigeria of our dream. Rotating the presidency would not automatically diminish among public servants, it would not perhaps address the police system, it may not even prevent the Raphael Ige, the former AIG who obeyed the last order to illegally remove an elected and sworn civilian governor of a state. What is happening to the introduction of sharia law in some states of the country? Are we living in two different nations? Nobody is trying to understand the clamor of the Niger delta. The solution is not to send an army of occupation to devastate their communities or dilly-dally on revenue allocation, what about resource sharing?
Why is it that the last six years all the police inspector generals have come from one geo-political zone? Could it have been that they were previously suppressed and have now been liberated? Did we inquire further to find others who were or are suppressed and not yet liberated? Did the same thing happen when all the service chiefs came from one zone? Or are we properly applying the principle of federal character and quota system?Have we discussed electoral system to ensure a free and fair election and succession to power? Why do we include state of origin in many of our applications in both federal and states admission and job offer?
Is it necessary to have a judiciary that is not attached or controlled by the weight of the federal government? Shouldn’t Nigerians be concerned with a transparent police that is decentralized and autonomous with each municipality, state and local government area having it’s own police to protect life and order? Shouldn’t Nigerians be concerned about taxation as a viable means of source of revenue? Shouldn’t Nigeria fine-tune the lapse and loopholes in obtaining a driver’s license and the much talked about national identity card scheme?
Have we as a nation become so blinded that we fail to see that our hospitals have degenerated into what late sani Abacha once described in 1983 as a “mere consulting clinic and death traps” with other nations advancing toward medical and health insurance including welfare package, to us as Nigerians, it is an abominable option to provide these basic facilities to our citizens who are less endowed?
I challenge all aspiring presidential candidates and those for upper legislative house to provide their views on some of these fundamental questions and issues. Only then can we assess the worthiness of each candidate for 2007.