Nigeria is currently in a state of so much uncertainty like we have never known since the 1967-1970 Civil War ended. There is so much disorder, insecurity, incompetence, criminality and violence in the nation that you can touch the tension in the air. The irony is that we do not seem to be willing to walk away from the disastrous precipice the nation is sliding towards.
Other nations like South Africa, Liberia, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia have effectively managed their own issues by killing the evils of religious bigotry, partisan blindness, regionalism, and tribalism. Jacob Zuma was forced to resign by his own party. They did not blindly defend his ineptitude and corruption. Mugabe was forced to resign by his own comrades and party men when he was turning governance to a family business. The president of Ethiopia was forced to resign by his party when the people said they needed a change.
Liberia had a very peaceful transition from one president to another. This is a nation that fought a very brutal civil war. This is a nation that is in the Guinness Book of Records for the most fraudulent election in history. In 1927, Charles Dunbar Burgess King was said to have defeated his opponent, Thomas J. Faulkner, with 243,000 votes to Faulkner ‘s 9,000 votes. The irony was that only 15,000 people registered. Some people even claim that the population of Liberia was not up to 243,000 then.
I will not be surprised if such a funny thing does happen in the 2019 elections in Nigeria, now that children are registering to vote in some parts of the country. Anything can happen in a nation where snakes now swallow money. There is a competitive drive to out-register each other along party lines, tribal lines, religious lines, and regional lines.
To prevent disaster, I think the following should be put in place:
- We should use the six geopolitical zones as regions
- We should have only regional parties.
- They should contest elections only in their regions. This will make politics less expensive and break the links of political cabals that hold all to ransom. It will also nullify all the efforts made to register children and ghosts.
- Each region (geopolitical zone) shall produce a president through their regional elections.
- The six presidents will form a presidential council.
- There will be a ballot between them to select who will be the presidential spokesman for two years.
- It will be rotated every two years based on the ballot supervised initially by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the council of former presidents and vice presidents.
- In 12 years, we would have had 6 presidents from all the geopolitical zones, instead of one man staying there for 8 years. It will save us the cost of running presidential elections every 4 years. It will promote collective leadership. It will stop the dictatorial tendencies of most presidents. No president can “corner” all offices to his region or tribe because of No. 9 below.
- The remaining 5 presidents will be in charge of ministries like defense, external affairs, finance, works and housing, petroleum, etc. They will have ministers of state under them.
- If a president from a region is not performing he can be recalled by his people.
- If he is incapacitated and cannot function, the region can either conduct a fresh election to replace him or we can have the person who had the second highest votes during their elections to replace him.
- The senate should be scrapped.
- A house of representative of equal numbers from each state is enough because we have a presidential council in place already.
In Spain, there are regional presidents, but in the Nigerian system, they will function as a presidential council not regional presidents.
In this system, we will no longer be fielding our 4th division politicians. Every region would want to send their best to represent them at the federal level.
Politics of regionalism, religion, tribes, and partisan myopia has not helped us. There are poor people in Gowon’s town; the same goes with Obasanjo, Buhari, Sani Abacha, and Goodluck Jonathan. I saw a Senator’s house just beside a poverty-stricken homestead.
That the president is from your village, region, denomination, or religious inclination does not translate to any advantage, unless you are in their camp. I recently saw Muslim beggars in front of a Catholic Church, and just not far away, I saw Christians buying things from Muslims.
The people must realize that the drive to out-vote each other on basis of the four evils of religion, regionalism, tribalism, and partisan blindness does not help the poor.