From Fred Itua, Abuja
Idris-Etanami Usman, an activist and publisher of Corruption Reporter, has waded into the ongoing conversation about a power shift to the South, saying the move will guarantee justice and fairness.
In an interview with Daily Sun, Usman noted that the debate over power shift is an indication of the trust deficit among Nigerians, particularly evident in the North-South political divide.
‘There is a trust deficit. But for now, I support zoning and power should shift to the South. As it is today, our unity is very fragile. Northern leaders should understand that they must do what is right. Eight years of the North, power should be ceded to the South,’ he stated.
‘It is only in Nigeria that you see more numbers in the desert than in the tropical region. This is not possible. We need a genuine census. You saw Kano state brought almost two million votes during the presidential election, but couldn’t do half of that during the governorship election. That should tell you something. With false figures coming from certain parts, the South can’t trust them.’
Speaking further on the issue of zoning, the activist also expressed the belief that the South East which has not produced any president in recent time, should be considered if the major political parties zone the presidency to the South.
‘As it is today, the South West has ruled for eight years. The South-South has ruled for five years. The South East has not ruled. If the South West wants to be fair, it should allow the South East and South-South to decide on who should be the next president.
‘If the South West produces a candidate, they will be at the mercy of the north. South East and South-South won’t work with the South West. I’m from the South West, but leaders from the South West should canvass for a president from the South East or the South-South.
Usman commended the inclusion of electronic transmission of votes in the recently passed Electoral Bill, saying that, electronic transmission of votes if signed into law, would go a long way in addressing the issue of rigging.
He, however, expressed fears of politicians gaming the system. ‘To me, these politicians have already created a way out. Notwithstanding, I believe it is a good thing. I think it is time to enlighten ourselves.
‘Let’s plead with the INEC chairman. He has to be firm and ready to ensure that only electronically transmitted results will be accepted. He should not give some areas preferences. He must be willing to ensure that what happened in 2015 must not happen again, where some parts used card readers and others didn’t do that.
‘The next level we should move to is yo make the process of voting seamless. Big Brother did that. We should also make the process seamless. We can stretch it and make the voting last for one week like they do in the United States. On the last day, collation will be made and things will be different. You don’t expect over 200 million people to vote in one day. INEC has a lot to do,’ he said.