By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
One of the leaders of the Youth Party of Nigeria (YPN), Mr. Rex Adebanjo has said that the practice of zoning public offices robs Nigeria of her best brains, while allowing mediocrity to thrive.
Adebanjo who addressed journalists in Lagos on the preparation of the YPN for the 2019 general elections concluded that zoning a most-wicked thing. According to him, personal interest and nepotism always influences the choice of persons picked from the zoning pool. He opined, however, that it was necessary to give every part of the country a sense of belonging through “an inclusive arrangement because of our diversity.”
He said, “Look at how this zoning thing works. Look at all the presidents we have had. They are perfect gentlemen, but you can’t say they are most dynamic personalities from their part of the country. Start from Balewa, Shagari, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari. Even if you want to pick a northerner or Fulani man, will there be a consensus that those were their best candidates? Of course, not, because any committee that wants to pick somebody is going to pick a pliable person because they want to have influence on them. I have seen this up close. It has nothing to do with PDP or APC, it is just the way the system is. Even when the Alliance for Democracy (AD) was supposed to pick.
You would ask why did they not pick a Bola Ige? Because he was too radical. They wanted a Falae, because they felt, at least, he would listen. People always want someone who listen to them and sometimes they are not the best. These are not people who can chart their own course. When they get to government, they become imprisoned by a cabal. They system in a federation where you have to zone is designed to fail. Not that you can’t be inclusive, you have to because we are a diverse country.”
Adebanjo said his party was against the current situation that allows too much power to be concentrated at the centre. “That is why power devolution is the first agenda to any salvation to this country. You have to devolve power to the states and the local governments so that there is greater accountability. This has nothing to do with revenue sharing.
If you unleash the dynamism of the nation through devolution. Nigeria is one place that looks like we are trying to grow a plant and we are watering it from the leaves, rather than from the roots. It makes no sense. You have empowered the centre so much that everybody just feels that the centre is where they have to be.”