North-South: Abeg Make We Zone Poverty Too...

By Prince Charles Dickson, RichZone, Aso Rock Villa Abuja
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"This is the only history every young Nigerian needs to know: IBB and Abacha between them spent 13 years: there was no light, no water in Minna and Kano. Obasanjo spent a total of 11 years all by himself: there was no light, no water in Lagos and Abeokuta. Today, neither Minna, Kano, Abeokuta nor Lagos still has water or light. Do not join the crowd of ethnic rabble-rousers". -Compatriot 'Bayonle Charles Ayanleke

Former President Ibrahim Babangida sometime last week reiterated that the zoning agreement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party must be respected “because Nigeria is in a peculiar situation that makes zoning inevitable.”

Babangida's statement said further that the issue of zoning or rotation was imperative “to keep the union stable in order to encourage and sustain developmental initiatives across board.”

Over a hundred northern leaders recently converged in Abuja to demand that the zoning arrangement by the PDP be respected by all the stakeholders.

Also, prominent northern elders recently met and demanded that Jonathan must abide by the pact.

Furthermore two separate rallies in support and in condemnation of zoning would soon be held so that political jobbers can as usual chop part of the national cake that no one cares how it is baked.

While many politicians in the North insist on the zoning formula, pro- Jonathan forces are said to be working round the clock to scuttle it. How are they working, and with whose money or permission and for whose gain?

On the scale of recent quarrels on this zoning matter I have equally decided that I zone out offices in my home, my wife would now be the head on a rotational basis, every other four years I get to be the head of the home after her turn. It's called turn by turn ala chop dem chop democracy. It is to our collective shame that we have elevated mediocrity to such a level.

What really is our peculiarity, what indeed is the chaos that zoning would stop apart from the continued poverty that it has always promoted? Niger state has produced two heads of State, how has that transformed Niger state into a heaven of investment or made it any better than Lagos, or Calabar or even Jos with its multi hydra-headed annual crisis.

While we reflect on all these discourse on zoning, when our monies are stolen by politicians and office holders is it zoned? A union that cannot be stable without the zoning of power should everyone not vamoose to his/her tent?

When will we zone the super chickens or eagles, as one of the reasons for their failure at the on-going World Cup could be because the players were not well zoned to scored nor zoned to defend? They simply lacked the zoning spirit. Aiyegbeni's miss or Kaita's red card was it zoned, or now that Jonathan in his own ignorant wisdom of FIFA's status dabbled into football which zone suffers his banning of the national teams?

A nation that lacks Medicare is desperately concerned about which region or religion the President comes from or adheres to, a nation whose students have continued to diminish in terms of performance is bothered about zoning? How will zoning address the decline in UNN and bring the excellence in ABU to Ife. Our once first class universities are now gloried secondary schools without good principals, and we are zoning the failure.

There is a thin line between senility and wisdom in the aged and sometimes deciphering it can be an exercise in clumsy thought because both camps may have a point but the issue here is about correct and verifiable argument that rest on the peoples welfare.

And in the light of the zoning palaver no one cares about the people's welfare, it's about power, power and power, and as usual for the select few at the hungry expense of many.

No one leader both for Jonathan and the zoning proponents have been able to show us a blueprint of moving Nigeria forward. Just empty irritating mosquito noise from a failed group that cannot even produce 6000megawats of electricity between them all North and South.

As the case has always been, we remain an easily excitable nation with many emotions straying away from the reality. A government person steals and is caught he/she goes rapping that it's his/her political foe and enemies from his village. And his people go "...leave our son alone, it is our money...bla bla bla..."

Just musing let me throw out this controversy between the North and South which zone has stolen most? Who is most guilty for a backward Nigeria? My sensitive answer is you, me, them, all of us, that have not done anything and behind this veiled answer many of us can please commission a study and come back with statistics and tell us, Who suffers, which zone is disadvantaged for it.

How many universities are in Ogun state alone, how many in Jigawa? How many prostitutes in Port Harcourt, or the popular Obalande road, how many do we have in Katsina? Who zoned almajiri to the North and area boys and militants to South?

Which zone wants bad roads in exchange for the presidency, roads are bad in Kogi, Lagos-Benin, we need a 2nd Niger Bridge, go up North and see some terrible roads, Jos-Kaduna, Kano-Abuja, Gombe roads amongst many, can we rezone the malaise of poor leadership that led to all these?

Sanity, accountability, good governance, provision of infrastructural development is not the preserve of any zone. We just have closed our eyes or refuse to see how our old rusty and confused leaders are bent on making sure we remain in the Stone Age.

Patricia Etteh, the hairdresser and former speaker that was thrown out by the Integrity group would now be honoured with a national award, reason; it's been allocated to her zone.

There is a high girl-child abuse in the North, both educationally and otherwise; the reason being that it's in the zoning arrangement. The high rate of kidnap in the SouthEast and environs is a zoned problem.

This is the difference - when Obama was elected, he pointed out that his kids would go to a local school in Washington with all the other ordinary kids. When Brown & Blair were leaders, Thatcher before them, they always stressed that they would only use British goods & services for their children. Cameron & Nick Clegg have emphasized that their kids only go to local schools with ordinary British kids. But Nigerian leaders rush their kids away from the country they rule. Blair's wife gave birth in the local NHS hospital. Ditto Cameron & Clegg. Nigerian rulers run abroad when they have a headache.

Nigerians should start asking more of their leaders who zoned these priviledges' to them at our collective expense. Whose exclusive preserve is poverty, how do we zone the bad roads, high infant and maternal mortality rates, dilapidated schools, how do we zone pension arrears? How do we zone our failures as a nation, in all these please lets zone poverty equally too.

Prince Charles Dickson