Competence is invaluable than zoning in Nigeria
Nigeria is coming of age, part of growth and maturity is self examination. This issue of zoning in People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deserves the re-visitation and re-examination in order to determine its relevance at this present polity. The great thing about democracy is the coming together of free people with free will, thus making decisions that are binding to their vision and aspiration. Hot debate in Nigeria on this issue of zoning must be carried out in way that it promotes the ideals of the country, ultimately enhancing goodwill. This debate must be based on peace, fairness, unity and progress for greater good of Nigeria.
Competence should be upheld in this equation because it is superior and has precedence over geographical location and zone. While zoning can become a tool to promote fairness, it does not necessarily bring about competence in the polity. No amount of zoning can make Nigerian economy to grow and give jobs to millions of unemployed Nigerians. No one is suggesting that the issue of zoning should be dismissed outrightly or relegated to insignificance. Zoning has its place in Nigerian politics due to long history of denial and unfairness on the mostly perceived weak groups and minorities. But the discussing of zoning must be shaped by competence; for allowing mediocrity to thrive inorder to safeguard and protect zoning at all cost has its repercussion for at the long run everybody will be a loser.
In this demanding stage of Nigerian evolution what she desperately need are competent men and women of goodwill from any part of Nigeria to channel the vision of the country to reality. Nigeria needs pragmatic and patriotic leaders from any section of country to manage the affairs of the country as president, governors, senator, legislator, chairman of LG and counselors. Nigeria must be willing to trust one another inorder to maximize brotherhood and interdependence with each other. The best way to increase patriotism and citizenship is to encourage Nigerians to be Nigerians not just Ijaw, Efiki, Igala, Hausa, Yourba, Igbo etc. The time has come for Nigerians to freely live in any part of the country, calling it home and realizing their political, educational and commercial ambitions without going back to the so-called native soil or village.
Zoning for one thing does not increase our cohesive force of togetherness rather it highlights our lack of trust among fellow country men and women. Zoning maybe antithetical to democratic process for it inhibits the free participation of common people to elect the leader they chose fit. Therefore in that case zoning can become a tool for ‘gerrymandering’ which goes contrary to its purpose and justification. The zoning might have a grandiose purpose of writing the wrongs of the past but we must make sure that it does not dominate our politics for it has the propensity to dampen our freedom and liberty in our blossoming democratic dispensation.
Nigeria’s fierce debating on zoning is healthy for our democracy, but our country must seriously look into the issue of competence. We need enlighten leaders to build our country, leaders who are patriotic to the nation and who believe in the verses of our national anthem and national pledge. The time has come for Nigeria to become part of economic super block, utilizing her time amply on discussing economic issues, rather than a nation obsessed with the debate of which hamlet or clan will produce a president.
It will be unfair and un-sportsmanship for politicians to use the issue of zoning to diminish any region of the country in order to make a point or score cheap political point. Such an attitude and mindset will not foster amity but rather heat up the country’s polity. It is unwise and imprudent to gain politically at the expense of the unity of our great country.
Nigeria can stand for fairness without disconcerting competence; the most important thing to every Nigerian at this stage of our development and history is to foster unity, peace and economic progress in the country’s political landscape. And our ambitious politicians and their cohorts must stand up for Nigeria.
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. http://www.afripol.org/