With election of President Muhammadu Buhari for the second term, it seems the door to 2023 election campaigns has been opened. Although, there were rumours that Buhari would seek a third term, the president had denied or debunked the rumours and assured Nigerians he would only serve for two times as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution.The president made the clarification during the recent NEC meeting of APC in Abuja. However, what has continued to baffle or puzzle many Nigerians is the question of whether the ruling party has reached an agreement on the controversial zoning arrangement or not.
In the build up to 2015 election, the then ruling PDP was enmeshed in power rotation crisis.The former president, Goodluck Jonathan, was believed to have breached the power zoning arrangement perfected and entrenched by his party.The inability of the party to resolve the crisis contributed greatly towards its woeful performance and ultimate defeat. Now, that is history.
The 2023 election is still far away. However, those who have been watching or monitoring the political development in the country may rightly or wrongly say that the re-alignment of political forces have begun in earnest. It appears the ruling party is in the state of dilemma on the issue of power rotation.The person who fired the first salvo was the governor of Kaduna State.
Nasir el-Rufai made his position known in a prologue entitled,”Defeating a determined incumbent- the Nigerian experience which he contributed to the book- “Power of possibilities and politics of change in Nigeria”- written by Salihu Lukman, director- general of progressive governors’ forum.He described zoning of political offices as barrier to political equality. He called for an expulsion of zoning and application of merit in our politics. Recently, the acting chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, Musa Liman Kwande stated that Northerners will only vote for Northern candidate.
In no distant time, other similar socio-cultural organisitions in the country will emerge and come up with their violent political threats.The threat and counter threats will unarguably heat up the political atmosphere and further divide the country along fault lines even before the election period.The framers of our constitution have done a wonderful job when they enacted laws that mandated each state to produce a ministerial slot. The 1999 constitution also came up with the principle of federal character in order to give every ethnic group a sense of belonging.
The constitutional provisions are aimed at adressing the problem of maginalisation and under representation across the political zone. You will quite agree with me, each of the six geo-political zones is blessed with people of timber and calibre.These people have excelled in various fields of human development and could hold any position if given the opportunities. No region has the monopoly of competent hands.
It is obvious power rotation has helped tremendously towards promoting unity in diversity. It has adressed the problems of power domination by certain zone in the country. By adopting the principle of power sharing before it was discarded due to selfishness and power greed, the PDP deserves commendation.The ruling APC should learn a lesson from PDP’s self-inflicted zoning problems that consumed it in 2015.The leadership of the party should speak up about its zoning position in order to calm frayed nerves and clear the doubts in the minds of their stakeholders, candidates and party supporters.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State