By Aliyu Ammani Junior
Leadership has been one of the common unbalanced difficulties in Nigeria’s political space since independence: 1964 Federal Election Crisis, January 1966 coup, 1966 counter-coup, Nigeria/Biafra civil war, Gideon Orkar’s failed coup, post-June 12 political crisis, and more. All in one way or another—linkable to one part’s sentiment of being marginalized, omitted, or denied the sense of representation.
Ideally, merit, competency, integrity, and capacity are the benchmarks in selecting a leader, not a power rotation or sharing formula. Nevertheless, the situation in Nigeria, a complex country of multiethnic and multi-religious organizations with uneven federalism that is almost consolidated, is not about competency, merit, integrity, and capacity.
A centralized structure ravaged by agitation, deep suspicion of fear of ethnic and religious hegemony demands a rotating power between north and south to accommodate the emotions and sentiments of these regions and their people. Providing a rotation formula would go a long way in sustaining a united Nigeria considering the existing deep divisions among Nigerians. It will produce fairness, equality, equity, justice, a sense of possession, and identification.
Unless a requisite equate is attained, where every part and tribe has developed a sense of possession, identification, and the federalism is no longer leaning; Nigeria will always require a practical formula for unifying the diverging segments that formed ‘The Federal Republic Of Nigeria.’
The fault of power rotation is theoretical and unrealistic; some argue that it is ‘undemocratic’ because it deprives certain people with competence, capacity, and experience the right to be voted—for when zoning does not favour their locus. There is no universal structure of democracy; what is universal about democracy is the basic principles that guide it. The focus of democratic practical demands remains locally confined. As a substantial social value, democracy has complex and diverse considerations and needs. Therefore, it should be hacked to suit local conditions and circumstances.
It is deceiving and tricky to limit the democratic system to mechanical conditions (popular will) without referring to instrumental conditions like the blanket sense of identity—inclusiveness—possession from every component.
Another narrowed argument against the rotating formula is that it is ineffectual and of no help – since a typical citizen from the leader’s zone is not better comforted ‘materialistically’ than other citizens from distant zones. Realistically, it is restricting, reducing, and neo-Marxist to limit the decisive quest of political aspirations and struggles to ‘distribution of resources’ without appreciating other factors; recognition, possession, and sense of identification. In a heterogeneous populace, it is significant to feel represented and connected by having someone from your spot and its experience, occupying a high post (including the office of the President) at least—in a while.
As earlier acknowledged, in usual events—merit, competency, integrity, and capacity should be ‘benchmarks’ in deciding a leader, not a formula. Undeniably, the merit, competency, integrity, and capacity test is a dubious and probable trial. With a power rotating procedure, the questionable and possible trial remains untouched. Except that something is going to be fixed, every portion will develop a sense of possession, identification, and responsibility “I played: it’s time for someone.”
Aliyu Ammani Junior