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Presidency by zoning rather than by personal merits

3 min read

By Dr. Johnson Greg

As a young naive person, I used to quarrel with the idea that we cannot simply find the best Nigerian, irrespective of his ethnicity or religion, to be the president of Nigeria. It would seem that zoning any national office works against meritocracy. So I thought.

But on a more serious note, zoning is not necessarily against merit. Each country has certain rules and conventions that are there to promote peace and trust and effectiveness of outcomes in politics. In America and Britain, they have all kinds of rules that seem to work against meritocracy. Political party system seems to work against meritocracy because if the best man fails to meet the requirements of a political party, that party will not submit him for the people to vote for him. The requirement of money in party politics seems to be against meritocracy. The electoral primaries where candidates are selected by party delegates appear to be against meritocracy. The American electoral colleges appear to be against meritocracy.

So, in Nigeria, zoning is essential for managing the unity of various ethnic groups within a single polity. Various ethnic groups in Nigeria have right to ensure they are included in the zoning formulae. They also have the right to seek to be the favored zone.

Afenifere is seeking to have the 2023 presidency zoned to the West. The leader of Afenifere just spoke to the press and he showed expectation that the presidency would be zoned to the Yorubas. Read;

2023: Afenifere Leader, Pa Fasoranti, Opens Up On Tinubu

  • ‘The North may rig the South out’
  • Says daughter’s murder would have been swept under the carpet had ‘strings not been pulled’

Leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, speaks on the 2023 presidency and the speculation that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is planning to take a shot at the nation’s highest office.

Although Tinubu spoke recently that he had not made up his mind on the issue of running for the presidency on the heels of the removal of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as APC National Chairman, said to be loyal to him, the speculation has refused to go away.

Fasoranti also discloses that he was told by the “powers-that-be” that no investigation would be carried out into the murder of his daughter, the late Mrs. Funke Olakunri.

Do you believe in the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu if the presidency is zoned to the South?

I am not a member of his party but I have interacted with him. He means well, we may try him.

The Igbos are also hoping that the presidency would be zoned to the East. The Igbos have two unique and conflicting situations in their quest to be favored by the zoning of the presidency.

First situation: The Igbos have not produced a president since after the war. It thus becomes a compelling question of equity and justice to confirm that the civil war is truly over by allowing the Igbos a full return to the Nigerian union by having an Igbo president. Also, being the party that has been excluded all this while, an Igbo presidency will be a breath of fresh air that will usher in the spirit of a national rebirth. That in itself shall be a transformational event.

Second position: The Igbo quest for inclusion is undermined by the reemerging sentiments for secession. Indeed, unlike other zones, the Igbos come with discordant voices. Some Igbos even so naively think that there could not be an Igbo president until the country has been restructured. What a naive position. Who is to lead the reform process better than an Igbo president when the Igbos have been in the forefront of the quest for restructuring?

The 2023 presidential election is a golden opportunity for the Igbos to produce the president of Nigeria. The North must concede the presidency to the South. The Igbos must prepare well. They must reduce the level of discordance in their voices. Otherwise, the Yorubas will be glad to snap up the opportunity.

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