By Gabriel A. Agude
06 September 2020
There is a school of thought with the conjecture that recent events in the Nigerian socio-political space are all indicative of on-going calculations and permutations for regional relevance and political preeminence for control of authoritative power at the Centre in 2023.
Evidentially, the postulation of this school of thought is unhidden and not far from the truth. Another unhidden truth about the goings-on, particularly in the political arena and amongst Nigerian politicians all over the federation is that, though the period of next electioneering campaigns vis-à-vis general election is a few years away, alignments and realignments have begun in calculative gang-ups for which particular geopolitical zone will produce next president to lead Nigeria.
It is quite bewildering that all the open talks and surreptitious moves about which geopolitical zone produces next president is still about North-West, South-West and South-South; the regions which have literarily monopolized political leadership of our country at the centre since the beginning of current democratic dispensation in Nigeria in 1999.
Undoubtedly, this is where the whole affair of who leads Nigeria at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in 2023, becomes imperatively interesting and thought-provoking, especially, for North-Central Nigeria.
It is stating the obvious that North-Central Nigeria has been condemned to playing the third fiddle in the political affairs and configuration of our great country in the current democratic dispensation in our country. This uncomplimentary historical development, which, of course, dates back to the First, Second and the aborted Third Republics, is the encumbering group albatross which North-Central Nigeria should no longer accept from those who believe that the political leadership of our great country at the centre is their exclusive preserve. The reasons for this position are compelling and deductively evident.
First and foremost, North-Central Nigeria cannot continue to be the slave-partner in the Nigerian Project because our constitution, particularly the 1999 Constitution, is unambiguously and explicitly against inequality in running the affairs of this nation. This Constitution conspicuously provides that there should be equality, social and political justice for all Nigerians.
In particular, Section 17, subsection 1 of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria states: “The State social order is founded on ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice”. The consequential question implicit in the quoted portion of our Constitution is apparent and the question is: Where is the ‘ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice’? This question is quite pertinent in a situation whereby three out of six geopolitical zones, evidently created by late General Sani Abacha for socio-economic and political equity, believe and scheme in perpetuity, to be the ‘men on the horseback’; while the North-Central and other two zones should remain on their kneels as beasts of burden forever. Considering the foregoing scenario, one may not be of the course of civility to admonish current political leadership and powers-that-be across regional boundaries and partisan politics, to begin to eschew all actions and decisions that can resurrect the ghosts of insurrection in the polity. It was Dr. Nelson Mandela who once told the world that, “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, no one of us can truly rest.”
In its entirety or all ramifications, the late president of South Africa is warning Nigeria, current politicians and political leadership of our country, for, indeed, it is gross inequality to hold on to the belief that other geopolitical zones do not matter in leading Nigeria at the centre. Of course, Dr. Nelson Mandela’s warning is also rife in another regard that none of us can truly rest in Nigeria as ‘injustice and gross inequality’ persists in power-sharing as well as in all affairs and political configuration of our great country.
To the current ‘powerful’ Nigerian leaders, particularly the ‘political juggernauts, men of timber and caterpillar’, there is wisdom in not being too comfortable and complacent in the injustice and gross inequality that monopoly of power and leadership of Nigeria at the centre, constitutes.
Though a parody to civility and civilianized democratic governance, the Dimka and Gideon Orkar’s unsuccessful coups of 1976 and 1990 respectively, were expressions of pent-up anger and feelings of injustice and gross inequality that Dr. Mandela talked about. We should be all reminded that if the Gideon Orkar coup had been successful, there is a possibility that the map of Nigeria would have been mutilated and quite different from what we have today.
While one’s prayer and aspiration of ordinary Nigerians is that balkanization should never be the destiny of our country, Nigerian socio-political fate-deciders should be guided by history that former USSR was once a country, so also was Czechoslovakia and others. The counsel here is that all Nigerian political leaders concerned with what the shape or shapes of things will be in 2023, should take the recoil to their drawing boards and patriotically consider those other geopolitical zones that are yet to produce the president since 1999, especially the North-Central. For indeed, and as Aristotle immortally established, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”
*Agude wrote from Jos, Plateau State*