A pro-democracy activist and National President of Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), Comrade Razaq Olokoba has frowned at the conduct of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), towards the zoning formula in the country.
In a brief interview in Lagos Thursday, 24 March, 2022, the rights activist and political observer described the abandonment of the zoning system and power shift arrangement as a great threat to the unity of the country.
What is your take on the way the PDP appears to have jettisoned the zoning system for president in 2023?
To say the least, it is a coup against the unity and oneness of the country. The gentleman agreement is that presidential slot should shift southward for the sake of the much required unity in the country. It is not a gainsaying that, only justice, fairness and equity can guarantee continuation of the oneness the country has been enjoying.
The PDP’s conduct is nothing but civilian coup to topple democracy which can never augur well for the togetherness of the country. And I pray that the leadership of the party would rescind the suspected decision and come back to the acceptable formula of zoning for the general good of the good people of Nigeria.
But don’t you agree that the system is not constitutional?
It depends on how you look at it. Mark you, with due respect that, constitution is made for the people and not people made for the constitution. Our situation in Nigeria calls for a home grown solution to our peculiar political and democratic problem to forestall any tendency that can lead to disintegration.
Those behind the rotational presidency and power shift system are lovers of unity, oneness and togetherness of Nigeria. And they should be praised for their wisdom and initiative. If the system is practised a bit, it can be discarded when the country eventually attains right nationhood where the political awareness and democratic maturity are high. But right now, zoning is the only panacea to threat of disunity.
If we have been practising regional democracy where the Centre would be weak, nobody would be bothered about where the president comes from since every region would be growing and developing at its own pace. But in a situation where the centre seems to have cornered enormous power so much that every state would have no option than to go to Abuja cap in hand, let that power go round so as to give every axis of the country a sense of belonging.
But democracy is a game of number…
(Cuts in), Recall that I have spoken on that severally and I would not mind repeating it for the umpteen times that, to nurture the most successful and most productive political alliance ever between the north and the south is for the power at the centre to go round. So, by 2023, it is expected to move down south for the sake of the required unity.
Anything contrary is an open invitation to crisis of an unimaginable proportion. In my last interview, I called attention to the global trend now that numerical strength nowadays is no longer used to bully or oppress people but it is used for nation building. I said, if you look at bigger democracies ahead of us like in the United Kingdom (UK), the highest population among the Scottish and Irish are English people. I reminded that, yet, they devise a system that allows other ethnic groups to be comfortable with the way the political affairs of Britain is handled.
I recall it is not only in Britain, but also in several climes across the globe; numerical strength is used to cement relationship and not to break the spirit of togetherness and oneness. That is the angle I have wanted our northern brothers to consider. And I am also of the conviction that, the best way to sustain the unity of the country is to abstract trust and understanding from other regions so that when power moves to the south-west, it will set a better example to other ethnic groups that the northerners are people that can be trusted and best people to align with. These are issues that should be looked into towards next year-(2023) for the sake of the continued survival of Nigeria.
What is you impression about those declaring presidential aspiration from the north?
Waoh! They are fantastic politicians some of whom have been tested and found worthy. I am not saying they are not eminently qualified. All the Atikus, the Tambuwals, the Zulums, the Bunis, the Kwankwasos, the Yahaya Bellos and a host of others, are seasoned politicians of note.
However, my argument is that, they should also be told that, eminently qualified presidential materials are also scattered across the southern part of the country. Talk of Tinubus, Fasholas, Osinbajos, Anyims, Kalus, Fayemis, Okorochas and others are there in abundance.
Those mentioned are tested hands from the north and the west that we know can handle the affairs of our nation very well. But the issue on ground now is for the country to reach a consensus that the power should move southward in 2023. There is no doubt that, Nigeria is a well blessed country with abundance of human and natural resources to tap from whenever the need arises.
So, I believe we should rotate the power to give every region the required sense of belonging which is the vital ingredient for unity of the country. The gentleman agreement of zoning system should therefore be upheld because it would be beneficial for sustainable democracy. Zoning agreement, if honoured, will enhance good governance and impact positively on the lives of most Nigerians especially the vulnerable in the society.
In addition to that, we should all realise that, no region has the monopoly of anything. A region that has little numerical strength would have some other things like natural resources to contribute to the nation one way or the other. The bottom line is that, every region should be allowed to have the taste of the presidency as a form of compensation for the token being contribute to the nation.