The political atmosphere is getting charged and that is because the period to elect new leaders for the nation is almost at hand. If what the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told us is anything to go by, by August the process to elect new leaders and or return those who may have done well would commence with party primaries.
Trust Nigerians, especially our politicians, to introduce some drama and even bizarre actions into what ordinarily should be a straight forward business. Suddenly we see our brothers and sisters who don’t attend functions or care for their people, now waking up and discovering that it is an important aspect of human existence, that social relational capital is important if not of more significance compared to financial capital. This is the beauty of democracy, especially of elections. Elections bring politicians to their senses and credible elections make them stand by principles, in fact more than 70 per cent of our national problems are traceable to incompetence.
Poor governance culture has been with us for this long because of one thing: non-transparent, credible elections beginning from the people themselves, who mortgage their conscience for a pittance, the party system which organizes indirect primary system also called delegate system which is susceptible to imposition and corruption to the general elections, which in most cases we have seen are a caricature of the real thing. In most states political activities have heightened, incumbents who have served one tenure, primarily executives, want to go back for a second tenure and those who have done the constitutionally allowed two tenures want to follow the discredited path of nominating their successors.
In some instances the level of degeneration has become so base that they want to choose their in-laws as their successors. Before, the trend used to be for outgoing chief executives to look for a crony of far lesser capacity and with a disposition near stupidity to succeed them. The intention is to have somebody record worse performance than them so that in the eyes of the traumatized citizens the preceding era would be acknowledged as better than the subsisting order.
When people, including very educated ones, blame our woes partly on effects of zoning and of a bad system, I agree only to a very minor degree. Zoning is not negative. Given where we are today, it is not difficult to find one very qualified and capable material to govern even from small nuclear families. The trouble has been what we have allowed a few ill-tempered men and women to do with our processes. When one man has to nominate for the rest of the people except God is in it, the motive can hardly be pure. It is important to state clearly that it is the intervention of wicked and evil men that has made pursuit of sense of belonging such a bad matter. The other one would be what Thomas Sowell rightly observed, when he said: “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.” Those who are favoured by a bad order never want to give it up but the truth is that such unreasonable hold provokes conflicts and makes stagnation if not backwardness inevitable.
I see the contradiction in our nation when those who dominate affairs in local governments and states fail to see the need for rotation of strategic offices but at the federal level are the most vociferous voices demanding for rotation or zoning, fairness, equity and justice. I like merit, but at the level we are today, where an intangible factor such as cohesion is badly needed, we would have to add to merit some other things to get what we want. Like I said earlier and I draw further strength from William Penn, who said: “No system of government was ever so ill-devised that under proper men it wouldn’t work well.” Our challenge should be when we say zoning we should have a credible democratic process that will produce the choice made by the people. I am worried when some political parties say in Nigeria of today that they have jettisoned zoning. For me this is living in utopia, a state that is yet to come.
As it relates to Abia, the state was founded on the pillars of equity. The founding fathers knew that rotation would serve well until such a time development outgrows its importance. I have the Abia Charter of Equity and it is there. I have been in the politics of the state since 1999 and I can confirm that zoning has been behind the political game. When Orji Uzor Kalu was the governor credible people like us from Abia South stood by him when some of our sons challenged him and that was because a lot of us and the people of Abia felt that zoning was good. I was in government and holding a prominent position when a meeting of key Abia stakeholders was convened and the issue of zoning was again discussed and ratified and that paved the way for Chief T.A Orji to become the governor of Abia State from Abia Central.
He did well by going to Abia South to select his successor. Whether he allowed him to be in power is a different matter but I want to believe the gesture calmed nerves and ensured peaceful co-existence and it should be allowed to run through the one tenure remaining. The other day some “Abians” said only the governor who hails from Abia South should be the sole beneficiary of this arrangement. This is not right just as it is anti-democratic. Let the parties field as many and let the people make their choice, it is also possible the governor could be the choice at the end but the important thing is that let the people have opportunity to make a choice. I strongly recommend rotation.
Next time week I will write about Ngwa and Ukwa political relations. Happy Easter celebrations in advanced.