DEMOCRACY OF ZONING
When the Israelites' staged a triumphant re-entry into Jerusalem the supposed and promised home it was like a feat ever imagined, especially as the bush fire, the red sea divide and other fingers of God were both the torch-lights the energy and the arrow confidence in the gallant journey even as they imagined that the city had been reduced spiritually and physically and needed to be reconstructed for total redemption.
If this captures the true picture of a people with destiny, then this explains why the story is straight forward. Nigeria is not privileged to have such a straight forward story because of its multi-national background.
The Israelites heaved once a hefty sigh of relief, but Nigeria after Obasanjo's led journey to the democratic promised land would heaved twice, gasped three times, suffer hiccup and headache before re-articulating their Nigeria which they knew under Azikiwe and Balewa even as they discovered that where they are standing may not be the a democratic space.
Since Umaru-Shehu Yar'Adua's government is a lame docked interregnum of post Obasanjo's arena, it is high time we did a surgical operation of democracy in Nigeria, otherwise, we regrettably discover much later that zoning or no zoning is not Nigeria's problem. But then if democracy is the Christ of contemporary developing societies even as it is murdered on the alter of ego and selfishness then the consequence of the (original sin) and the parable of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle could be a child play with respect to Nigerian nation building.
1999 to 2007, to stop short of calling it Obasanjo-Atiku era is a historical period in the annals of democracy that would have far reaching consequences in politics, rule of law, nation building and development. If we curl this page out of the history book for a study we will discover that no new leaps have been made or ebullient discovery achieved, but rather booby traps and counterfeits of the notions of freedom, liberty equity and justice.
The wind and wave of seeming popular clam against zoning formula or rotational presidency in Nigeria is suggestive of the gullibility of sections of Nigerian and how fleeting, ephemeral and temporal the political maturity could subsists when the wind changes. Unfortunately political philosophy as the sword, the word and torch bearer in the ultimate search for liberty, fairness and justice can never in all possible worlds accommodate 'all weather birds' in its sanctuary.
In western political philosophy as well as in African communalistic philosophy, the concept of democracy has as its super structure the concepts of equity, freedom, liberty and fairness; each of these concepts at the same time does not exercise a maximum space as each compromises its essence vis-Ã -vis its relation to each and every other for the sake of justice.
When the ancient Greek people declared that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people there is nothing immutable about how this would be achieved just as when the Igbo sat as Umunna or the Swahili sat as Ujamma' and declared consensus democracy. However in the dialectical materialists conceptions of these, history and culture of the people sublimate in the historical dialectical materialistic formation over time.
In the present world order, Nigeria as a historical formation that abhors vacuum in the sense in which we talk of Nigerian history and cultures and by implication Nigeria's democracy where logically speaking zoning is not tangential to democracy backed by the reason of interpretation alluded above.
Suffice it to say that democracy, liberalism freedom and capitalism are bourgeois notions totally out of touch with the globalism of the materials basis of equality and fairness in the lopsided world social order where dog eat dog and grasses suffer as elephants fight. The weakness of these concepts as enshrined in a democratic system of government led to the ontological democratic foundation of zoning in a pluralistic culture.
The concept of democracy as imperfect as it is, as difficult as it is, is historically diachronically and synchronically manageable. The idea of government of the people for the people and by the people is not practicable, feasible and justifiable in a society of manipulators, opportunists demagogues and bourgeois democrats. For instance in the Greek way if you ask Nigerians to determine a case by raising of hands for or against you would discovere that all hands are not equal, some are longer, some shorter, some not seen at all. This results to a society of injustice, inequity and corruption as in Nigeria.
The debate about zoning is legitimate because it is a vision founded on Nigeria's unity. Those that want to throw away this baby with the water should better see it as a democratic option open to the long derailed Nigeria's unity. The wisdom of the past policy makers and philosophers did not loose oversight of the strength and weakness of the concept of democracy in various societies, time and places.
It is the ever continuous social engineering that led to representative democracy in western philosophy while the interlocution of cultural imputes discovered the African idea of consensus democracy. Other formations of democracy as a result of cultural convenience and uniqueness abound. This is because the classical democracy oversimplified its essence to the exaltation of the tyranny of the majority and to the chagrin of the oppressed minority. Again the world historical dialectical materialist order opens up the contradictions in liberal and representative democracy and capitalism as a phenomenon of the globalized world order.
Democracy today has evolved from the classical Greek or small population type to representative democracy and consensus democracy although the later is more unique to African philosophy, and later to zoning democracy. The concept of democracy is evolutionary and not static. It is existential, cultural, historical, dialectical and matemalistic. Due to the existential and political challenges of most societies zoning democracy has evolved and practiced directly or indirectly. Hence in the genealogy of democracy, it is not frightening to see these,
Consensus democracy is the making of compromises by a political group in favour of certain candidate or candidates, choice or choices while zoning democracy is the rotation of power from one geo political group to another in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and much religious society. The much sort after 'the best' in classical representative and consensus democracies is also discoverable among the variables (persons) in the targeted geopolitical zone in zoning democracy.
Hence, the evolution of democracy was motivated by the need to redress the imbalances between freedom and liberty, liberty and fairness and freedom and equity on quantitative calculus of justice. Justice is existentially founded on equity and fairness and not on bare notion of freedom and liberty which exists in a jungle or state of nature. A genuine and sustainable Nigeria state, for now, can and can only be founded on the foundation of compromises and restricted freedom and liberty which allows a peaceful mutual co-existence of all cohabiting nationalities.
Nigeria of today is not as sophisticated as American of today in democratic actions response and reactions. In Nigeria, opportunist, selfish and corrupt leaders as well as ethnic mischief makers erect barricades and road blocks that impinge on growth and one nationhood. Again as have been observed the use and misuse of power all over the world but especially in Nigeria in this era of globalization are as a result of overconcentration of power in the hands of elites . The insidiousness of shadow elites in the global economy who call the shots has killed what remains of classical democracy and further exposed the deceits of bourgeois and petty bourgeois democrats in representative democracy.
In the present confusion occasioned by the historical materialistic development of political actions and behaviors in Nigeria the northerners argue that the presidential zoning is to their turn the ijaws argue that it is to their turn since they have not ruled the country since independence, yet Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has held that nation hostage since 1999 neither has the strength of purpose nor the honour to obey its principle of zoning one of the strategies for which it tenaciously held the governance of this century for over a decade.
It could be discerned that the problem zoning as one of the democratic structures in an emerging or developing society like Nigeria is that either the principle behind it are not agreed upon or they are flagrantly disobeyed by opportunists and democratic pretenders who support every government of the day. These opportunists and charlatans because of their limited vision of one Nigeria would neither be able to have seen president Olusegun Obasanjo as a product of zone nor would they be able to use zoning as the rational basis for sustaining the leadership of president Goodluck Jonathan.
These otherwise authoritarian and undemocratic campaigners can not pontificate and propose when it will be the turn of the south or the North but for them it will suddenly be the turn of the north when the Vice -president Arch. Namadi Sambo takes over. For how long will Nigeria be governed by opportunism without fundamental and rational principles.
Maduabuchi Dukor is the Executive Director of Essence Library and Professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka