2023 presidential elections: No Room for Zoning

At some point during Nigeria’s history, some leaders came together and decided it is the best of the country’s interest that leadership should be shared across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. From here, the idea of zoning was birthed.

Zoning, in the Nigerian context, means each six geopolitical zones: Northwest, Northcentral, Northeast, Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest will rotate the Presidency amongst themselves. It is unknown around what time zoning became functional in Nigeria. There are schools of thought that believe that the zoning formula may have influenced Obasanjo’s emergence as President in the 1999 elections. What is certain is that the emergence of Umaru Musa Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan as President and Vice President after the 2007 presidential elections were based on the zoning formula. Though this arrangement was not openly declared.

But the problem is this; Zoning is not backed by the constitution. At best, it’s just a private arrangement among private individuals with private interests. The problem of zoning, not being constitutional was further complicated by the death of former President Yaradua.

In 2010, after battling months of sickness, Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yaradua gave up the ghost. This paved way for his erstwhile vice, Goodluck Jonathan to take over the helms of affairs in the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The next year was an election year. The president who was supposed to contest for 2nd term was not available. He didn’t even complete his first tenure. This created a dilemma in the political system. Should the vice president step down to obey the zoning formula? Since he was aware of the zoning arrangement when he emerged as Vice President, it should not be too hard for him to obey this unwritten rule. Or should he complete his tenure and let it be the turn of the Southsouth? We all know how it eventually turned out: President Jonathan ruled Nigeria till 2015 when he lost to the current president Muhammadu Buhari. 

Presently, there have been calls for Igbo Presidency. It’s quite understandable where these calls are coming from: Southeast Nigeria. Some sets of people from the region are claiming to be the “marginalized” region. The solution they suggest is for the presidency to be zoned to the East.

Some are also of the opinion that it is the turn of Southern Nigeria. In their opinion, power should be rotated between North and South in every presidential cycle. Since a Northerner ruled from 2015 till date, a Southerner should be made to rule in 2023. The idea is even gaining traction among the Northern big wigs. Major northern politicians have openly expressed the notion that the 2023 presidency is for the South.

To make things clear, we support all Nigerians who present themselves for elections including people from all the six geopolitical zones. However, what we don’t support is basing such candidacy on zoning and consensus agreements.

For Nigeria to thrive as a democratic Nation, we must fully adopt democratic processes in choosing our leaders. Which means equal rights and equal opportunities for all candidates. This will further uphold our shared values of fairness and justice as stated in the coat of arms.

The zoning arrangement is anti-democratic and unconstitutional. Nigerians, as logical people, must be able to differentiate between what is right and wrong based on our Constitution. Our constitution is the documentation of our shared values and ideals. Anything outside that should be frowned upon by all not encouraged. Those who feel marginalised must lay down all biases and learn the ropes of political manoeuvring involved in winning elections.

In conclusion, when people want to do something wrong, they bypass laws. It is very common among the powerful elites in Nigeria to do things outside the laws of Nigeria. To them, it’s a thing of power, a way of insulting the entire populace. It’s like them saying to us: “See us, we have broken the law and you can’t do anything about it”. Rather than us condemning it, we are playing into their tricks. This may be in part due to our disunity. However, this is a wake-up call to every Nigerian to reject Zoning and accept equal rights and equal opportunities for all presidential candidates.

Author: Newstopz400

1 thought on “2023 presidential elections: No Room for Zoning

  1. Zoning is like a private arrangement between politicians. It only came into the fore because things didn’t go the way they expected, for example the Jonathan saga. Politicians make all kinds of behind the scene deals and arrangements. But I’m not sure zoning is a bad idea; if we want to go by “competence” all the time. The north and the muslims might be producing the president all the time. Well written article.

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