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2011: LET US UPHOLD ZONING

By NBF News
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The 2011 elections that will hold in Nigeria will be an important one. The election will be the first election to be held in the beginning of the second 50 years of Nigeria's nationhood. From all indications especially looking at the controversy so far generated by the zoning arrangement in the ruling PDP, mishandling the election and the issues around it could put Nigeria on a difficult path. We all are witnesses to what happened in Kenya, Guinea and now Cote D'Ivoire over disrupted elections and disagreements over who wields power.

In the case of Sudan, the insecurity of the Northern Sudanese to the rights of their Southern countrymen over the issue of power sharing led to many years of war and devastation. Now, Sudan will be split after the January 9, 2011 referendum where it is expected that the long oppressed South will vote for a separate state.

One thinks that Nigeria from independence in 1960 has practised zoning in various forms and even the Federal Constitution recognised this when it talked of balance and federal character. The PDP constitution also provided for zoning and rotation of political offices particularly for the Presidency between the North and South.

The PDP agreement on zoning in my view is an ingenious arrangement that shows that some of our politicians and statement are thinking people who care the peace and stability of the country. Thus it will be a great disservice the country and our democracy if for any reason, the zoning policy of the PDP is tampered with.

With the south through the South west having taken eight years, 1999-2007, it is only fair that the North also take an eight year shot at the Presidency till 2015, when it will return to the South for the Southeast or South-South to have a go at it. One thinks that after all the zones have taken a turn, then if it is the desire of Nigerians, then the arrangement can be jettisoned. However, in my view, we should retain zoning in perpetuity to ensure permanent peace and harmony in our country as our contribution to democracy in Africa and the world. If the idea of zoning was sold to Sudan, Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya and Rwanda, the sad experiences of those countries with elections would have been averted.

•Adebisi, a Political Scientist, wrote from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife.