Today, former VP and recently failed Presidential flagbearer of the PDP, Abubakar Atiku, suggested that the Presidency should be rotated from one Zone to another.
One of his justifications is that it will prevent the gang up of 2 Zones dominating the Presidency.
I find this suggestion intriguing.
The bit about preventing a gang-up is an undisguised shot at the North West and South West who, combined, account for 45% of the electorate. Since 1999, these 2 regions have produced 4 of the 5 Presidents. The only exception is Goodluck Jonathan, who first got there by the work of providence (death of the incumbent) before securing a full term for himself at the polls.
The import of this suggestion seems to be that Atiku does not think he can win Presidential elections because he does not come from the NW and SW. He also thinks it’s a disadvantage for others not from either of these 2 zones.
But Atiku cannot go to equity on this position….
In 2011, he adamantly refused to back down for Jonathan (from the SS), insisting that the North should produce the President to complete Late Yar Adua’s tenure. Ditto in 2015.
Then in 2023, against all the arrangements in place that the successor to Buhari will come from the South, he got in the race that denied Nyesom Wike the PDP ticket, and also forced Peter Obi to the Labour Party. The rest is history.
But while Atiku clearly doesn’t live by the precepts he’s now preaching, his suggestion is worth a debate. There’s no doubt that politicians without a large home base have an uphill struggle to get to Aso Rock. For example, someone from the North Central, an amorphous region of countless ethnic groups, all competing against each other, is disadvantaged when facing someone from a major ethnic group.
So how do we engender inclusivity and give all a fair chance at producing the President? Keep the current gentleman agreement to rotate between North and South (with the zones in each fighting it out)? Rotate amongst the 6 zones as canvassed by Atiku?
Perhaps the right answer lies elsewhere. That is, to build a nation of people less focused on geography and genealogy; and more on character and competence. Hopefully, the coming generation of citizens, more attuned to the global village, will find the resort to base instincts of tribe and creed less attractive. That will be the real deal!!