ZONING CAN'T DIE -EX-MILAD BAWA
Former military administrator of Ekiti State, Col, Inuwa Bawa, has joined (MILAD) he said that the last has not been heard about zoning. He said voters would during the April elections defend the system as a way of stabilizing the polity. He spoke with Daily Sun in Jos, Plateau State. Excerpts:
The time frame almost marred the voters' registration
The voters' registration was fairly done despite the hiccups at the beginning. When people start analysing the exercise, they put a lot of blame on Prof. Attahiru Jega and his team but it is not their failure but our collective failure. I do not know why we stuck with this time frame of May 29, as if this is something ordained from heavens. This time frame is made by us and if we find that it is not conducive, why not change it? The heavens will not fall if we should.
Check the time Jega was appointed as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all the things that needed to be done in between that time and the May 29 date, you will see that there are some human efforts, to get things right. We are still sticking to that timetable that it must be it as if, it is sacrosanct. If we want to get things right we must give it the right time. We are thinking of May 29 and working backwards with the time available. What is special about May 29?
The voters' registration and even the procurement of the Direct Data Capturing DDC machines would have been done properly and the ad-hoc staff would have been trained very well for the job. They could have found out the defects of the machines we have purchased and know how to cater for the rural areas where there is no electricity and other problems that may arise. We do not know how much INEC has gone with the printing of the ballot papers and ballot boxes and see how much time we have left.
It is too late to call for a shift but I feel if we had not stucked to May 29, we would have given INEC ample time to execute its assignment. May 29 has no relevant as far as Nigeria is concerned. October 1 will have been a better date because it is our independence date. Shifting the handover date now will be given a lot of interpretations. Many may even say it needs constitution amendment. So, we should not blame INEC for whatever we get. It is important that by the time the new government comes in there should be a proposal to the National Assembly to adopt October 1, as our handover that than this May 29 that has no significance. That will enable us to know where we are heading to right from the onset and start planning for it.
PDP presidential primary
The coming election would be the hottest contested election in this country. There are a lot of things that are at stake and unfortunately for us, all of them are not what the country need at present. Before the PDP primaries there were lots of mudslings and the country was polarized between the North and the South, and along religious line. It was very unfortunate.
The country was so very much muddled up. The North used to be called the conservative but realistically if you do not want to be emotional about it, the North has been the most progressive as far as politics is concerned. From the First Republic, it was only the North that had three parties. They were the NPC and NEPU and UMBC. In the East, there was the NCNC and in the West, there was the Action Group. In the Second Republic, the same thing repeated itself. There were the NPN, GNPP and PRP. But in the West, we had only the UPN. In the East, there was the APP.The same thing is repeating itself.
If you look at the pattern of voting during the PDP you will see that the North voted massively for the President Goodluck Jonathan. Look at what Atiku got in the South-South and South-East, about nine votes. This does not augur well for our political awareness. We should have gone beyond regional or sectional consideration when it comes to politics. We should be able to vote for the best. For Atiku I believe whatever goes round comes round. It was a mistake for him to have gone back to PDP. If he had remained in the ACN which is waxing stronger now I think his chances would have been much better.
CPC needs an alliance to defeat PDP
I do not know what went wrong in the alliance between ACN and CPC. The alliance talk was going on fine and in earnest but somewhere something went wrong. I am not an executive member of CPC and would not know what happened. Whatever went wrong was very unfortunate because that alliance could have strengthened the resolve to remove PDP from the centre and from many other states so that we can have a new beginning. But then both Gen Buhari and Prince Tony Momoh said the talks have not completely collapsed. I hope so but it is getting too late.
We need that alliance in this country, not for the sake of CPC and ACN but for the sake of our country. If we are to remove PDP, that alliance is the springboard that would do that. We must still go back to alliance with either ACN or other parties. The alliance did not break down over presidential candidate but ACN would prefer Buhari to fly ACN flag. He said he cannot do because such a change will bring confusion among his supporters from the North. It is even too late for him to do so.
Hooliganism in politics
Hooliganism is not peculiar to CPC. The incident that happened in Jos during the crisis was just a coincidence. There were lots of problems in trying to enforce internal democracy. Up till the time INEC closed the date for registration, there were lots of confusion. CPC is a new party and had gained wide acceptance from the masses which are the voting majority, many politicians with different intentions crossed over to the party. There are some who are genuinely interested in what the party stands for and know that it has what it takes to move this country forward.
There are others who came in just because of that clause in the electoral law that anybody seeking political office must do so on a platform of a party. Some of us who do not have the financial muscle like the people who crossed over have found ourselves stepping aside. I brought CPC to Kebbi State but unfortunately the money bags have taken over.
Whether we like it or not, money still plays a lot of significance in Nigerian politics. People do not care about the party's manifesto or agenda they are just there to get a vehicle to get what they want. There should be a way to check this crossing over. There are people who changed party up to four times within three months just to get a platform. We must be able to say if you cross over, you must wait for at least two years before you seek any elective post so that the party could properly assess that person.
Buhari will beat Shakaru even in Kano
The CPC has made inroad even in the South where we have candidates for all the elective posts. I am not sure of the South West. I think CPC did not fix candidates in the South West because it is thinking of having alliance with ACN. I do not think they had any problem with the North producing candidates. This is because Buhari phenomenon has been entrenched for a long time in the minds of the ordinary people who are the voting majority.
Buhari brought Ibrahim Shakaru into the seat of government in Kano State when he was in the ANPP. I do not think his coming out to contest would make any difference as far as the fortunes of Buhari is concerned even in Kano State not to talk of other parts of the North. Adamawa State, Ribadu cannot have any effect. He is yet to cut his teeth politically. He should have started from something lower before taking Nigeria as his own constituency.
Tunde Bakare as Buhari's choice
People have said so many things about his being Buhari's running mate; some of which are unethical. Apart from being a pastor, we all know him as somebody who will say it once he sees the truth. He is also a human rights activist. He was a convener of the Save Nigeria Group. As a person, he is fully qualified. I do not see what the hullabaloo was about.
They expected Buhari to go for one seasoned politician. One must remember that all the times Buhari went for the so-called political juggernauts, they ended up not making any impact. They all disappointed him. So, why should he not try something outside and see how it works? Bakare in his own capacity is overly qualified to be the vice president of this country. He is very upright and is already giving the direction the government of CPC would follow.
What we need in this country is the cleanup of its moral aptitude. People are so much into pursue of wealth that they have forgotten that God exists. People tend to do what they feel like doing which do not augur well for them as people and for the country in general. That is why there are kidnappings, robberies and people have to bribe to get things done. They are doing this with impunity because they have forgotten there is God.
Our moral attitude under BB ticket would be sharpened. We will know that we are our brothers' keepers and all these conflicts will be a thing of the past.
We will have solutions to all these problems. In his first tenure as military head of state, he correctly identified indiscipline as the cankerworm of national life and it was a correct diagnosis. He had already said he is going to serve for one term and he has identified power sector and security as his main priorities. With him and Bakare you will know their antecedence and what they can do for this country. Saying that Buhari is a fanatic was just propaganda of Obasanjo to discredit him. It is good for everybody to be his religion's fundamentalist. What is wrong is being an extremist.
Votes must count
It is a wrong attitude for Nigerians to still believe that their votes would not count at the end of the day. This the only time Nigeria has to get things right. People are aware of this and Buhari has said this is the last time he would be contesting. There is a great disenchantment with the PDP-led government since 1999. Let people come out to vote, protect their votes and leave the rest to God. I believe this time around, votes would count and if they don't, there will be chaos. It is not like before when we reap what we did not plant. There is political awareness now and with the advent of mobile phones, result at a particular poll will be communicated more immediately to everyone. We cannot erase rigging totally but it will not be to the scale of the last two elections we have had.
People will enforce zoning with their votes
Whether we like it or not, zoning, rotation or federal character or whatever name you give it is part and parcel of our culture. We have not developed that much in terms of cohesiveness in governance to jettison this arrangement. There must be a kind of agreement that makes each part of the country to feel as part and parcel of the larger entity and have something at stake in the running of the country. In real politics, majority carries the vote. If we follow that, probably it is only one section of the country that will hold on to the leadership of the country. We need to have our indigenous solution to our problem. That was why zoning issue came out. It was done initially to pacify the South West on the June 12 issue but realistically speaking it is something we have to do it.
For jettisoning the June 12 issue, I do not think the PDP will win the presidential election. It must have some effect on its presidential candidate because it was in their party constitution. Even if it was not, it was an agreement which he Jonathan signed when he was a deputy governor in Bayelsa State. For him to come out to say it was not so, it shows how serious the party is. People will now look at Jonathan as somebody who could not keep faith with simple agreement and therefore incapable of running this country successfully.
With him contesting under the banner of the PDP, he has muddled up the whole system because in 2015, where will the presidential candidate of the party come from?
The Igbo are already saying it is their birth right to produce the president in 2015. So what are you talking about? On one hand you say no to zoning, on the other hand you say it will be your turn to produce president. So what are you talking about? The PDP has lost its chance to produce the next president by making this blunder. The election will prove this.