By NBF News

The National Constitutional Conference recommended division of the country into six geo-political zones for the purpose of power sharing at the federal level. Quoting Solomon Akinbode and Remi Anifowoshe in Elements of Politics (edited by Anifowoshe R, and Enemuo F), 'the idea of rotation gained popularity, particularly in the south'.

The committee on power-sharing in the constitutional conference also noted that 'power sharing is invariably touching on questions of equity, fairness and justice in the allocation of the fundamental indices of power…'.Though, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar who took over after the death of Abacha didn't adopt this recommendation in the 1999 constitution, the PDP still implemented it in an informal level.

Political parties are part of the institutions of democracy recognised by the constitution and as such the constitution recognises the existence of party rules and regulations. Where were the opponents of zoning when successive Igbo senate presidents were being impeached and replaced by senators from the South East as against the constitutional stipulation of deputy senate president becoming the senate president? If zoning was respected then, why not now? Simple, Jonathan is the president with all the resources at his disposal, so, one stands to gain more asking him to run than insisting on zoning.

Some are even saying that Jonathan's case is divine.hmmn.Is it more divine than when Gen. Abacha died and Gen. Abubakar side-stepped Gen. Useni to become the Head-of -State and C-in-C? But unlike Jonathan, Gen. Abubakar did not allow sycophants to create the 'divine' theory as the basis for his continuation in office. If Gen. Abubakar a military Head of State with all the coercive powers-in the national interest- could relinquish power within a year, why not a civilian president in Jonathan?

While we (southerners) excoriate the north for (I don't believe they are threatening

anyone) threatening fire and brimstone if zoning was not respected, no one is accusing the south-south of blackmailing the country with the threat of disturbing oil flow if Jonathan does not run. No group has a monopoly of rulership but everything must be done according to the rules of the game (I mean both formal and informal rules). If Jonathan wants to run, I think he should dialogue with his northern counter-parts instead of employing blackmail against the north and claims of ignorance of zoning to seek the presidency. He should placate the north who are still pained with the loss of their son, late president Yar'Adua.

If Jonathan decides to use the power of incumbency to contest as against dialogue, whether he wins or not, national cohesion will never be the same again. Nigeria will produce many presidents from the north and south and as such, 2011 is not a 'do or die' affair. The north is at the receiving end today, tomorrow might be the turn of the south.

Seye Akanmu-bode, A political scientist writes from Palmgrove, Lagos.