Zoning: To Be Or Not To Be - Nigerian Politics - Presidential Race 2011

18 September 2010

By Ahmadu Hussaini

With the 2011 polls less than a year away, one can feel the political tension ventilating in an atmosphere of grim uncertainty. Arguments are been traded for or against certain political arrangements, and neither fate nor chance seem to be involved in any of these. These are arguments of our own creation and choice, and whoever wins should accept full responsibilities or bear great consequences. These are arguments not about Nigeria or the Nigerian majority but about certain minority of elites and their notorious craze for power; arguments about the PDP and not Nigeria.

The North and those sympathetic to its interest are seeking to reclaim power after a brief and fateful interruption. Three years ago when Obasanjo’s PDP succumbed to the North’s agitation for a northern presidency, the North was to forsake some of its brightest contenders in submission to Yar’adua’s fait accompli. And later on an opportunity presented itself in the guise of the election tribunal in what was principally an ‘all northern affair’ and the North willingly sacrificed the integrity of its most learned son at the helm of the supreme bench in defense of the status quo ante. The resulting mess was quite unbearable for both Yar’adua and Nigeria. While it cost the life of the former, the latter had to stagger and scamper aimlessly to make a narrow cross. Will the PDP now entrust the North with another responsibility considering the region’s role in the previous impasse that nearly cost PDP the profiting Nigerian enterprise if not for the reluctance of a bewildered military? Oh poor north, how dare thee!

Those on board the Jonathan band wagon are urging him to continue but to continue with what? Right from the day that dubious resolution was passed to activate Jonathan presidential authority he has demonstrated in deeds and utterances that the prerogative of presidential authority lies in the power to appoint and dismiss government officials and not about meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the deprived citizenry. His choice, first as a vice presidential candidate was unworthy considering his previous record and his ascension to the presidency could not have been more damning. But it presents him the rare opportunity to rewrite his unremarkable and encroaching past or hasten its tragic conclusion. They may flatter him with names just as the good luck he seems, or the God sent or the anointed, or the first Nigeria’s PhD president. But they didn’t tell us the PhD stuff he is made of when he blundered and parried before CNN’s Amanpour with great in-articulation and naivety. Or the PhD stuff he is made of when he gawk and gawp gleefully and un-president-likely at the slightest glimmerings of international media camera in great over-awesomeness to fate. They didn’t tell us who he is either, meaning; they either have more to learn or much more to hide. Now how do we go about zoning?

The Zoning agreement is a power sharing deal by a party whose contribution to democracy has never been remarkable. It seeks to limit the fundamental constitutional right of average Nigerians to political choice and aspiration. Be that as it may, it appears to highlight the chasm of distrust within the nation’s sociopolitical crust that is always veiled within a veneer of pretense, incompetence and opportunism. If the PDP decides to rig the next elections as it usually does and the Nigerian people are unwilling to stop it then zoning will be the better option for such a soulless nation and its passive citizens. But if the PDP intends the contrary and/or the Nigerian public are unwilling to tolerate any further abuse at their franchise then zoning is undeserving of such a proud people and their beloved country. What Nigerians need is a leader of great competence and sound character and not someone ready to subscribe to the sentiment of personality or identity and who may not hesitate to plunge the nation in to chaos to satisfy his oligarchical lust.

As for Jonathan Goodluck, the name has done everything for him. It remains with him to either live to its decent expectations or got trapped by its very antithesis. The debris of history is littered with the remains of men and women so lucky in their various endeavors and had achieved everything but none before falling victims to ingratitude, and their end was such a nemesis that historians had had a hard time fathoming. Whatever Jonathan is going to decide and whatever Nigerians are willing to tolerate or risk, the bottom line is, it’s now or never. May God guide us. Ahmed Jijo writes from ABU ZARIA.


Ahmadu Hussaini can be reached at ahmadujijow@yahoo.com




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