Considering Democratic Principles, Can Zoning Solve Ethnic Crises In Nigeria?

One of the challenges that have befallen present-day politics is the ethnic crisis. Some set of people from a particular ethnic group has monopolized governance and refused to give other ethnic groups a chance to take over leadership.

Judging by the Nigerian presidency, power has been in the hands of the northerners for the past seven years. Although, one may say that before the power came back to the North, the South had it. As true as that is, it was never intended for the South to test power when they did. Somehow the legal system had to enforce a standing rule in the case of the death of a president while his tenure was still on.

The prevalent ethnic crises that are seen presently in the tussle for power have been an issue of concern for our nation at the time. It is indeed a matter that begs the question of how these occurrences can be curbed or, at the very least, brought to a low ebb. One might suggest a rotation of power across zones which is not a new suggestion. But the question to ask is this: Will things get any better? Over the years, the idea of zoning has existed in the constitution but has not been implemented as it ought to. We can see that what needs to be done here is not to come up with novel suggestions but to work towards implementing what has already been existing. To make this possible, we have to restructure the legal system in Nigeria. A legal system that works and is always ready to intervene in cases of breaches without any bias or political favoritism is what we need to establish. There is no telling how this can go a long way, not just to make power rotation across different zones to be effective but will also give room for more modifications to take place as well.

The issue of zoning might introduce a bias or create a situation where the zone whose representative is in power channels resources towards his zone alone out of the allocation made to take care of all other zones. For the period when a particular zone is in power, there will be a state of unrest as other zones being deprived of their entitlement will not sit back and watch such injustice thrive till a tenure is up. As much as zoning can allow each majority ethnic group to test power and provide governance in the country, it cannot solve the ethnic crises that will arise when a majority ethnic group refuses to give their support to the zone in power. To handle this, a decentralized system of the presidency can help rescue situations like this. Think of a policy that allows representatives from each zone to preside over the affairs of their zone and account for all the allocation at their disposal to a general leader.

An arrangement like this can help quell the drive for selfish interest since each zonal representative will be held responsible for any mismanagement or misappropriation of resources given to them for their zone. This will create a system of accountability and transparency. Of course, with a legal system that works, abuse of power can be checked in a case of excesses.

One other way to make zoning of good use in solving ethnic crises is by restructuring our political parties. No political party should be ethically biased. This implies that policy adopted by any political party should not be to exert dominance over other ethnic groups. A political party should adopt a practice where there is an ethnic balance in their hierarchical arrangement. A political party should remain a political party and not a sentimental group or an ethnic group. When this is in place, a party can push a representative rotationally and not always tilt towards a particular zone.

As much as Nigeria operate on a multi-party system, the concentration of a power-hungry set of people from a particular ethnic group in some parties has practically reduced Nigeria to a Bi-party system. As the rest of the parties only exist to be part of the number and never get a chance to participate in governance. This makes it look more like political parties are being voted on and not candidates. The government might not have much say in this regard, but I suggest that a blend of ethnicity should be encouraged in existing political parties. To make zoning work and reduce ethnic crises in Nigeria, there should be a rotation of parties that take over governance as much as different zones provide their representatives. Each party should be allowed to serve the nation in governance instead of just counting as mere existing parties in Nigeria.

A zoning system that does not allude dominance of a particular political party is what we need to solve the ethnic crises in Nigeria. When power is rotated across different zones and political parties, it will give each ethnic group and party the benefit of fair consideration and, in turn, quell the murmurs from the masses, which have been the root cause of ethnic crises in Nigeria. To put all these in place and get Nigeria working properly, we must consciously build a legal system that works such that anybody and everybody is subject to the long hands of the law when they default in any way regardless of their social status. Or else we will have a failed state where everyone is right and free to do what they feel is best to the point where the government cannot exercise control over these happenings.

To solve ethnic crises in Nigeria, we must make government about the governed. Their interest must be prioritized, and their well-being insured. What more is true leadership if not selfless service to humanity. The more we see leadership as a call to service and not a career where we expect to make a profit, the more peaceful and developed our nation will be.

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