By Dr. Dons Eze
Having been in power for several years and not willing to part with it, the North has come up with another strategy aimed at keeping them in power beyond 2023.
Head of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Kitchen Cabinet, Mamman Daura told the BBC in an interview that “This turn-by-turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done thrice… It is better for this country to be one…it should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere. It is time for the country to unite and go for the most competent person to lead the nation”.
He continued: “since Nigerians have tried the rotational presidency about thrice already, it would be better to go for the most qualified candidate in 2023, irrespective of whether he comes from the North or the South, which would be better for the nation’s unity”.
This is an interesting proposal by the head of Cabal who has just woken up to the need for Nigeria to be governed by those who have the competence, and not merely as a result of geography of birth, that is to say, where one comes from, as has been the case since the country was formed.
Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a high elementary school teacher, was nowhere near the class of the encyclopedic and scholarly Nnamdi Azikiwe, the erudite Obafemi Awolowo, the mathematical Chike Obi, etc., who wanted to be Prime Minister in 1960. Balewa became Nigeria’s Prime Minister, not because he was the most competent, but because the North did not want anybody outside their region to rule the country.
When Yakubu Gowon seized power following the July 29, 1966 counter coup, there were at least six military officers that were senior to him, but the Northern soldiers, at that time, never wanted anybody outside the North. Also, Murtala Muhammed was not the most senior military officer when he upstaged Yakubu Gowon in 1975 and took over the reigns of power.
When Murtala Muhammed was killed in the Dimka coup of 1976, a Lieutenant Colonel Shehu Yar’Adua was promoted above many of his seniors to the rank of Major General to enable him deputize General Olusegun Obasanjo who stepped into the shoes of Murtala Muhammed.
Shehu Shagari, with a higher elementary school certificate who was warming up to go to Senate in 1979, was quickly drafted to the Presidency, and he was to defeat the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo to become the first executive President of Nigeria, not because he was the most competent, but because the geography of his nativity was on his side. Shagari’s deputy, Alex Ekwueme, had two doctorate degrees. The list is endless.
If competence were to be the criterion for being a Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari, who is still searching for results of his secondary school leaving examinations, would not have been bossing Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Zoning of elective political positions was introduced in the country in 1979 by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), aimed at giving every section of the country a sense of belonging due to complaints in several quarters that one section of Nigeria had monopolized the political leadership.
The election of Olusegun Obasanjo, a Southern Christian, as President, in 1999, was based on the sentiment that the South West region was badly injured following the annulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential election, believed to have been won by MKO Abiola, a South Westerner. This was later found to be a very mistake by some Northern irredentists, who marshalled out several arsenals against the Obasanjo regime.
The introduction of Sharia Islamic legal system by most state governments in the North, less than one year of Obasanjo’s Presidency, was one of the many ways by the North, to protest against political power shifting to the South.
When Obasanjo served out his term, he was succeeded by Umaru Yar’Adua, a Northern Muslim, who later died barely two years in office. Yar’Adua was succeeded by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian, and it became very difficult for the North to swallow. Throughout Jonathan’s tenure, what they had been drumming into our ears was that the North had not completed its turn of the Presidency. They then vowed to make Jonathan’s path very rough if he did not concede power to them, and subsequently released Boko Haram against the administration.
That was how they came to foist Muhammadu Buhari on us, with the belief that the North would be satisfied or placated, for peace to reign in the country. But this never happened.
After five years in the saddle, nobody, in all honesty, can adjudge President Buhari to be competent? What of the massive corruption currently going on in the country under his watch? What of the general insecurity in all parts of the country? What of the economic failure of the administration, the inability to provide jobs for teeming unemployed youths, infrastructural decay in various parts of the country, etc.? What of the political and judicial rascalities going on everywhere, nepotism, election rigging, refusal to obey court orders, etc?
Now that the North is about serving out its term, with eight unbroken years through Muhammadu Buhari, but not wanting to cede power to the South, Buhari’s nephew and Cabal-in-Chief, Mamman Daura, the voice of Jacob, wants the country’s Presidency to be by competence. Quite interesting.
But we would like Mamman Daura to give us the parameter for measuring competence. At any rate, if competence were to be the yardstick for being the President of Nigeria, I doubt whether any of those Northerners who ruled the country would have been anywhere near the seat of power.
In a stable and sane society, nobody talks about zoning or rotation, but competence. Zoning or rotation promotes mediocre or sacrifices merit on the altar of mediocrity. But Nigeria is far from being a stable or sane society, so zoning was introduced to hold its fragile unity.
If Mamman Daura had canvassed for competence prior to 2015, before they intimidated us with Northern Presidency through Muhammadu Buhari, we would have listened to him, but not now that many people are looking forward to power shifting to the South in 2023.