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2023: Zoning or no zoning

2023: Zoning or no zoning
September 23
11:16 2021

The trending word in the political space right now is zoning. Every day we hear threats and counter threats from politicians and armchair critics and leaders on which zone should succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

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On one side of the divide are people who insist that since the north has spent eight years in power, it is only fair power shifts to the south in 2023.

However, these same people went mute in 2015 when the north insisted that it was their turn after Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had ruled for eight years and Goodluck Jonathan had also spent two years as president, making the south enjoy 10 years out of 12.

If not for the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Jonathan would have won a second term making the south enjoy 18 out of 20 years of democracy.

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Also, on one side of the divide are people who aver that after the south had tasted power for eight years under Obasanjo and the north eight years under Buhari, the 2023 elections should be thrown open for anyone from any zone of the country.

We also have a third school of thought who contend that we have six zones in the country and power should be rotated among the six zones. They contend that the presidency should go to the north-central who had never produced a civilian president.

Personally, I don’t care where the presidency comes from in 2023 as having the president from your region or even state is not a guarantee that your personal finance will improve or bandits will not attack or kidnap you.

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An average Nigerian just needs the basic minimum of governance. With good governance, improved economy and security assured, an average Nigerian will have contended irrespective of who is providing it.

Sadly, our political elites have found ways of exacerbating our fault lines of ethnicity and religion, making every election cycle a do-or-die affair.

I also think for now we should not jettison zoning as we are not yet politically mature to discard it. But I also share the arguments that the presidency should rotate among the six zones and not north and south.

For now, I strongly believe that the president in 2023 should come from either the north-central, north-east, and south-east. The south-west has ruled for eight years, south-south three years, and north-west eight years, so for now they should take a back seat in the spirit of equity, fairness, and justice. If it is eventually zoned to the south, then it’s only natural that it will be zoned to the south-east.

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Again, the hypocrisy of the whole thing is that some of the people canvassing zoning in 2023 are against zoning in their states.

I am tempted to ask, when will an Idoma man become governor of Benue state, is the state created only for Tiv people? When will a Christian become a governor in Niger state? When will Kebbi south produce the governor? If not for divine providence, the Igalas see the governorship as their birthright in Kogi state.

In Oyo, out of five sections, only Ibadan and Ogbomosho have produced governors. Oyo, Oke-Ogun, and Ibarapa haven’t. Also in In Ogun, out of four sections, only one, Egbado has not produced a governor. Egba, Ijebu, and Remo have produced governors.

While we canvass zoning at the national level, we should extend the same courtesy to some states.

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Like I previously said, having the president come from my zone is not a guarantee that I will have electricity in my house for 24 hours or will have millions in my account. Having the presidency from your zone most times is just for bragging rights.

Even if we end up with zoning in 2023, we should look for the best hands in the zones. I believe every zone in Nigeria has at least 10 competent persons who can be president. Competence and capacity should be the two main criteria in 2023.

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