Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rotational Presidency

I have watched with dismay and distraught the polemics and arcane logic the various political leaders and interest groups have put forth to support their clamor for power (specifically the presidency) to be rotated, and for the presidency to remain in the south after 2007.

Let us take a critical look at this. This notion is obviously based on the premise that there are gains that will accrue to the region from which the president originates. Also, it reduces the status and import of the presidency and likens it to a regional or fractional office. It presumes, and perhaps even prescribes that the president holds the interests of his or her region above national interests. The presidency in its true essence prescribes that the president holds national interests above all else. That means the president is supposed to be impartial to the various interest groups and stakeholders who collectively make up the Nigerian body politic over which he or she presides.

If we agree that this is how a true president is supposed to conduct his presidential affairs and we are also all agreed that we want an able president, should it matter where the president comes from?

In a true democracy, people should not be restricted in their choice of candidates by stifling rotational and zoning matrices that are subject to the machinations and pander to the whims of selfish tribal politicians, who can only wrest power by shamelessly whipping up tribal and sectional sentiments. It smacks of insincerity and patent fraud to be seeking a constitutional instrument to entrench fractional regional based rotational presidency.

This formula is sure to breed a sense of entitlement, engender mediocrity and further divide Nigerians along ethnic and regional lines. At this stage in our life as a nation, we should be working towards unity and not disunity. Highlighting our regional and ethnic differences and using these as bases for deciding our leadership only serves to further divide us. There are words in the English language to describe this type of discrimination – Jingoism, Tribalism and Ethnicism are a few.

Nigerian politicians, it is time to shed the shameless garb of tribalism and don the cloak of nationalism. Rather than use the cheap and mean tactics of divide and conquer, be conscientious and embrace nationalism. You are first Nigerians before all else.

In the US, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California, even though he is not a native American, having immigrated to the US as an adult in the 1970s. Hillary Clinton represents New York State in the US senate only after being a New York state resident for two years. She is not a native New Yorker.

Where you come from should not matter in determining who should be a leader, what should matter is the candidate’s integrity and leadership ability. The more important issue to address in the Nigerian polity is how to get rid of corruption and engender able leadership and strive to improve the lot of the populace and not jostling for power through divisive derision and insincerity as the tribalist politicians are currently doing. There should be nothing stopping a Yoruba born Nigerian from being a governor in a Northern Nigeria state, or a native Igbo being a governor in a Western Nigeria state.


Chippla Vandu said...

Your viewpoints are laudable and progressive. It is hoped that more Nigerians will come to reason this way.

BRE said...

I agree with Chippla. You have stated your viewpoints very well in this post. It is the kind of message that needs to get out to as many people as possible in Nigeria and to be debated publicly amongst the electorate.

The Nigerian people are in a very special position right now on the world stage and I hope that this rare chance for the country to take a giant leap forward is not lost to the shennanigans of a few shortsighted, greedy politicians and businesspeople.

President Obansanjo needs to "Do the Right Thing" by upholding the letter & law of the Nigerian Constitution and make way for some fresh, competent blood in the national and regional politics of the country. Let's hope that he is listening to all of this good and free advice being offered in the Blogosphere.

Nilla said...

Ooops!! I have a post similar to this today (though mine is very empty in comparison to yours which is more detailed). If only I knew this i would have linked yours to mine...I can still do that if thats ok with you
Will be back to read more of your posts.

Anonymous said...

What is rotational presidency? I am doing a school project on Nigeria in general and haven't been able to find a good description of what a rotational presidency is and how it will help the nigerian people