The Politics Of Zoning And The Search For National Identity
he wind is as usual blowing not only hot, but with such a fierce ferocity that will make the 1960s war trumpets a mere childish play. The actors both real and imaginary are all geared towards a battle line that can spell doom for this country. All of them, without any differential, are pursuing interests and purposes that are in direct variance with the very tenets of our national destiny. In a simple grammar, these actors and actresses of national perdition, are not Nigerians and will never or can never think, act or sacrifice for Nigeria. They are people given to personal and self seeking motives that have no linkages whatsoever with the interests, aspirations and security of Nigeria or Nigerians.
For the past few months, the entire country is agog and in a typical state of political frenzy and democratic rage over an issue that is not national in conception or in application. The entire political space and democratic environment had been taken over by these political charlatans and democratic misfits, the hangers on and urban gorillas who have no base or constituency. In their politics, of course, in their own democratic permutations, there is no country, no nation and no people. What exist as far as they are concerned is their personal and greedy ends. And in pursuing these ignoble ends, they resort to all known and unknown means to justify their ends; the price, consequences and overall effects on our national stability, survival and unity notwithstanding. In this their desperate plans the least beneficiary, that is, if at all there is any, is not Nigeria, and most certainly not Nigerians.
I religiously and professionally followed the dynamics that operates and drives the political concept known as zoning. From its inception in 1998, throughout its manifestation in 2003, its gestation period in 2007, up till this moment of its democratic madness, the concept, by all reckoning has truly lived up to its expectations. As a Nigerian production, with all the trappings of its Nigerian-ness, zoning, despite all its shortcomings, has some answers to the nagging and persistent national political instability that have been our political albatross. It was able to create a sense of national political sense of belongingness in the polity. It was also able to accommodate the various political tendencies, aspirations and interest of all the centrifugal as well as the centripetal forces in the various tribal, ethnic, religious and sectional camps that define Nigeria’s political challenges. In the zoning arrangement, the political elite and democratic opportunists in this country are assured of their guaranteed role, relevance and access to the national cake.
In an ideal political system, zoning is an anathema of some sort. It is apolitical, undemocratic and runs counter to all established political philosophies, ideologies and cultures. This turn by turn arrangement will deny this country it’s much sought after vibrant leadership and is tantamount to gross under utilisation of the abundant leadership potentials that abounds throughout the length and breadth of this blessed country. The application of this concept in the last one decade had shown that, it lacks both capacity and capability of engendering national unity and development. It creates mediocrity, opportunism, patchiness and political clientalism at the expense of merit, service, patriotism and sense of nationalism.
As a political scientist, and as someone who followed the application of this concept from the beginning, I make bold to say that, there is virtually no Nigerian interest in it. I search for Nigeria and Nigerians and tried hard to cling to even an imaginary lead but could not find any. Just like our independence struggle against Britain, this struggle also has fallen short of having a national outlook, aspirations and platform. Every contender, aspirant or candidate is pursuing a goal that is tribal or ethnic, religious or sectional sentiment. Same also goes for their followers or supporters, who are everything but national, Nigerian or Nigeria. Between them and their followers, we have people who are at best our political enemies and democratic adversaries.
Current political realities and events suggest that sincere and patriotic Nigerians must look beyond the charade of this ignoble concept in determining who leads this country come 2011. Our collective national destinies must not be compromised on the altar of personal ego, tribal, ethno-religious or sectional sentiments. Nigerians must outlive this political nonsense and define their positions based on issues that affect them individually and collectively. We must navigate the political horizon and comb the democratic space and pick a Nigerian who has all the necessary status in terms of honesty, sincerity, discipline, experience and records of achievements in office; a Nigerian who is tested and trusted. In this zoning, let us search for Nigeria first.