Zoning Agreement in Nigeria

It has become a political practice in Nigeria that political parties in their bid to ensure that no zone, or region is left behind in the allocation of power, the need to protect the minority and those who might not have the required political strength to fully push for it course on the national table brought the need for the zoning system which has been adopted by many political parties in Nigeria.

While we advocate the need for meritocracy in politics and governance, that is the need to ensure that our realities are ruled by a system which celebrates merits over all other factors. Where tribal differences, political affiliation, class, or social status does not matter, but men are given positions, based on their qualifications for such roles. This school of thought is a progressive one in every sane society and also a much needed one in a pluralistic society like Nigeria where we have the fusion of various ethnic groups and cultural differences, however while meritocracy must be celebrated, it is important that in its practice, we apply common reasoning.

When we concentrate power in the hands of a few who share the same background while other groups watch, it is a slippery slope to creating a politically imbalance society where some grow too powerful at the expense of others. It is indeed a dangerous one.

Just as it is a dangerous one for the All Progressive Congress (APC) if it fails to honor and respect the zoning arrangement which was reached and agreed by all when the party was founded by its various founding fathers.

Within the Nigerian socio-political purview, the political ball has seen itself majorly move between the north and the west, leaving the south-east out as the only region who are yet to produce a candidate for the presidency. Many has call this marginalization of a part for another, whatever term it is that is given to it, it is one which must be corrected in order to ensure that we secure one of the factors that will go a long way in cementing the beam of our national integration. One that is shaky now.

One of the tenet or the values of the zoning arrangement is to ensure fairness in the course of the nation’s power distribution, the north have hard its equal share of the nation’s ultimate power seat, while the west have also had it representation over the years, if we must say that we do commit ourselves to the path of national dialogue through reason, one built on fairness and justice, then we must not just as individuals but also as a collective entity ensure that we drop every pursuit of personal glory for the overall good of all.

Whatever side we belong to on the political side of the coin, we have to ensure that we do the needful, as posterity will be the judge of all, the ultimate goal of each and every one of us must be to see that we sustain the federating outlook of the nation Nigeria. And this must involve honoring the zoning arrangement.

Meritocracy can also thrive with Zoning, there is no exclusive group or race that are naturally designed to always rule, all over the Nigerian federating states, across the borders of region or ethnicity, we can be rest assured that we should be able to men of honorable means and methods who can steer the affairs of our nation.

In achieving this, our political classes do have a very significant role to play, the founding fathers of the various political parties in Nigeria probably saw into the future when they made the move to entrench in their party constitution the need for a zoning system.

No doubt, we cannot deny the fact that the nation’s political class do have a vital role to play in shaping the future of this nation, where it is right now is to a very great extent the product of their work and internal arrangements. We are at a very critical time when we must act for not just the sake of the glorification of our respective parties but also for the good of all.

The political ruling class must see itself as a major frontier to ensuring the sustenance of our reality, the zoning agreement may be a written or non-written one, however we have seen it coming to play on numerous times, politics must not just be seen as a game of numbers, it becomes a breach of agreement when we fail to honor our agreements, not when others within our socio-political circles have benefited greatly from it. It affects the trust and bond that holds us together as one.

The Nigerian society is one that if it is not well tended can be volatile, this is why we must pay close attention to the yearnings of all, and we function in a democratic society where everyone must be involved in the governing process of the nation. To overlook a part because they do not have the numbers is detriment to the working and the sustenance of our democratic system.

While we might have a flexible system, one that always gives us the room and the luxury to change policies or rules of engagement for our own good, we must not allow this become a culture or lead to it being turned to a manipulative element.

The race to the next presidential election in Nigeria has already started, the recent political movements and arrangements as noticed in our various political circles is a testament to this realities, a lot of political issues and cliques will definitely emerge in the process, while these various political parties makes their various move to either sustaining political power or to secure political power, it is the hope of all Nigerians that they will all put first the nation’s interest at heart and this pursuit will come first before any other even as we seek to sustain the unity of the Nigerian federating units.

Marcus Amudipe

November 26, 2020

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