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2023 election: Enough is enough

By Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim

 

Yesterday, the bickering over which region should produce the President in 2023 made the major headlines, adding a corrosively divisive ting to an already badly fractured polity.

While we recognise the freedom of expression of every Nigerian, utmost care is needed now more than ever before not to complicate the delicate situation of the country by pitching one section of the country against another. This will be pouring gasoline into a raging inferno. Nigeria is technically at war in the North East, North West and some parts of North Central Zone. Hundreds of thousands of lives, including that of children are already lost, millions are displaced, economy and livelihood disrupted. What is needed now are conversations that can help national cohesion, not ones that will further tear the country apart.

We need the unity of the country to confront our security challenges, as well as the economic challenges confronting most Nigerians. Where the President comes from and his or her religious persuasion are irrelevant.

If we allow Ethnic nationality groups prompted by different factions of the political elites to continue to drive the debate on our future, we shall soon arrive at 350 confusing pathways as Nigeria is made up of 350 ethnic groups.

The other day, I saw a video of people speaking that even if the Yorubas are to produce a President, it can not be from Ogun, Lagos axis again after Awo, Obasanjo, Abiola, Shonekan, Diya, Osinbajo and so on and so forth. This is what you get if you yield the polity to ethno religious tantrums.

Nigeria is a modern State, not an ethnic Federation. Its subnational component are States and Local Governments and her primary focus is citizenship rights not regional and ethnic charters.

What ever hue and cry that were raised in the past about a section of the country been excluded from being President (assuming the claims were correct) has been settled by our experience since 1999 return to democracy. Of the 22 years since 1999, the nation as seen 14 years of President from Southern Origin -Obasanjo’s 8 years and Ebele Jonathan’s 6 years. When Buhari by the Grace of God ends his tenure in 2023, we would have seen Presidents of Northern origin for 10 years. This should be enough to lay to rest the divisive arguments about power rotation.

Power rotation argument is always emotive and it tears Nations apart; exactly what led to genocide in Rwanda causing the killings of 800,000 souls and same thing that ignited the collapse of Yugoslavia to an extent that virtually every county wanted to become a country.

Any politician that wants to contest to be President from wherever can jolly well jump into the ring, there is no need to continously blackmail the country by hiding under ethnic nationality groups. While political parties can Zone party offices they have no power to zone elective offices. It is the constitutional right of every Nigerian who meets the qualification criteria to stand for elective office regardless of their ethnic descent or religious persuasion. There is no need to split hot air over this any further.

What Nigeria needs are conversations that can strengthen National unity, inspire hope for Peace, Security and Prosperity.

Enough is Enough!

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