The official zoning of the Presidency to the south in 2023 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a major political statement that is bound to shape the future of leadership in the country post-2023.
This deft move by the APC has made it a political imperative for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership to have a rethink and officially zone the Presidency also to the south in 2023.
Any attempt to jettison the zoning policy which is central to PDP conventional policy will be fraudulent and unacceptable. If the PDP picks a northern candidate for the 2023 elections and because the Nigerian electorates are still largely parochial, that candidate wins at the general elections, then the north will rule for another 8years, making 16years at a stretch.
If this type of ” clever political manouvering,” is employed to alternate northern candidates between political parties, then it is possible for the north to rule the country in perpetuity.
This is wholesomely unacceptable and undesirable and will not augur well for our national unity and peaceful coexistence. There is no doubt that what I am proposing is a form of political concession. But this is not strange in our political system and history.
To assuage the southwest in 1999 after Abiola’s victory and unfortunate death, a national concensus was adopted to ensure the emergence of a southwest President.
Also, pre-independence, the entire south had to wait for 2years for the North to join the union and form the federal republic of Nigeria. We also have since implemented various concessionary policies to ensure continued unity of the country. These policies include the federal character policy and the concession for the educationally disadvantaged states in the federation for the purpose of giving children from the less educationally developed states to gain admission into tertiary institutions across the nation.
Therefore for the purpose of equity, fairness, and continued unity of the country, our party the PDP must categorically adopt the same position as the APC and zone the presidency to the south.
To do otherwise is to exploit political crass opportunism which will be insensitive to the current feeling among most self-respecting southerners in the country. It is an undeniable fact that cannot be ignored that a zone in the south is yet to produce an elected president.
These are not normal times in our country. Hatred and ethnic disharmony are rife and separatists movements are getting more and more entrenched in our polity.
Any politics that does not take into consideration the barometric pressures within its polity is self-serving and destructive.
The unity and continued peaceful coexistence of our nation can only be predicated on the time-tested principle of equity, fairness, and justice.
Doyin Okupe is a former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to former President, Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs.