Let Nigerians decide

Since we have shamelessly decided to divide Nigeria into two - north and south, because of selfish political expediency; then we should be honourable enough to put forward the names of those seeking the seat of president come 2011. The argument of zoning or not, should be given the back seat for now, it's time we analyse the personalities of those seeking power based on zoning arrangement.

The different associations calling for zoning and anti zoning have flooded the entire political landscape of the country in the last three months. All trying to put forward their cause on why zoning should be respected or why it shouldn't. And notable names have reason to assent their names and signatures depending on the benefitting scale that favour them.

With respect to the elder statesmen involved in this national farce, none among the pro zoning and anti zoning groups, is involve in this struggle because they love Nigeria; I beg to be corrected. The battle is simply about parochial interest, ethnic and religious survival. The competence of leadership is not even an issue in any of their deliberations. Those who are asking for zoning are obvious supporters of some candidates interested in having an easy ride to our presidency if their region get the mediocre slot to vie for the presidency, while other qualified candidates are blackmailed into accepting that it's not their turn. Their excuse is that Nigeria is a peculiar state and failure to continue with zoning means persons from some parts of Nigeria would never be president, if it is abolished.

The other part oppose to zoning argue that it has outlived its purpose. They further alleged that to retain it would amount to legitimatising mediocrity in leadership position in Nigeria. Also they argue that the age long marginalisation of the people from the geo-political zone president Goodluck Jonathan hails from is enough reason to allow him to seek to continue in office; claiming they are the one laying the golden eggs on which our country is presently surviving, and have never rule before.

Head or tail, some of the reasons adduce by the contending groups seem reasonable but they are not sufficient to reduce leadership particularly our presidency to mere ethnic or regional sentiments. Besides, the so called 8 years south west presidency is laughable; because contrary to the existing arguments that the presidency was given to the yorubas to assuage them, Yorubas were actually short changed. Yorubas in 1999 massively voted for their choice who was Chief Olu Falae, not Obasanjo. Obasanjo was the choice of a cabal, who were bent on making a Yoruba man president, mark my words not a Nigeria president from Yoruba extraction. They knew Obasanjo as their man, a man who they can trust with power and would not question their endless strangulation of Nigeria state; but to OBJ's credit, we must acknowledged that he ruffled some feathers while in power, probably as a result on his unforgiving spirit. Remember they watched him go to prison without pressing the right buttons to prevent it.

The claim that zoning exist in the first place is subjective. If there is truly zoning why didn't the overwhelming choice of the yorubas emerge the president in 1999? At least the people of a geo political zone should have a more profound knowledge of which of their sons or daughters is good for national leadership and would be a pride to them based on his performances in office. Yorubas didn't have that in 1999, so in 2003, Yorubas were compel to fall in line; in spite of their reservations they ÔÇśvoted' OBJ massively. The rest they say is history.

Nigeria is no longer north or south, for God's sake there was an amalgamation in 1914. It is our proclivity to keep looking backward instead of moving forward that have held us bond to this dichotomy even after it was abolished. The usage of northern, western and eastern regions in the 50's and 60's were mere nomenclature for what we called states today. We are only creating more divisiveness when we keep aligning to regional blocs like Northern Governors' forum, Southern Governors' forum etc; they have no benefits to the people or to our peaceful co-existence.

Questions rattling my head are, assuming we agree on zoning, will this ÔÇśnorth' be presenting a Christian northern candidate? Or a Nupe, Gwari, Kabba, Igala, Idoma, Tiv, Junkun, berom, Kanuri etc candidate or are we going to see the same Hausa/Fulani stock? None of these Northerners have been president before. Since the argument about zoning is for every part of Nigeria to taste power, then it's logical to consider one of them. Can we now see the dangers inherent in zoning?

Why must I insist on having a Yoruba man or woman as president of Nigeria if there is a better candidate from Igbo or Hausa extraction? What is the joy of a Yoruba presidency, if I will still go to bed hungry, insecure and hopeless? I think we should stop flying this kite of tribal or regional presidency and start talking about competency.

President Goodluck Jonathan is having a field day in power; no one is analysing his performances so far. We are busy falling over ourselves on ethnic and religious lines. In the last three months, because of zoning and no zoning, we have no precise knowledge of his policy framework. How do we then assess him if he seeks to continue in office in 2011?

Atiku Abubakar should be advised to go back to school and be literate enough to aspire to rule a country as advance as Nigeria. Honestly, his diploma in law and abysmal performance as vice president for eight years, are not good credentials for a Nigerian president of the 21st century. While Babangida only wanted to be the longest serving ruler in Nigeria. Shamefully, forgetting his eight years of infamy; he has nothing to offer. The ÔÇśnortherners' calling for zoning should present their qualified candidates, and let them slug it out with Goodluck Jonathan (that's if he is contesting) and others. They should stop denigrating their people by playing the weaklings.

In 2011, every qualified Nigerian with requisite foresight for pragmatic statecraft should aspire for presidency. Poverty know no tribe, region or religion, this is the time for competent, honest and forthright leadership; Nigerians have suffered enough.

By Olurotimi Adeola This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.