It is like our politicians especially in the southern part of Nigeria don’t yet understand how the politics of 2023 elections should be played. I observe that the long colonial and later military rules in the country, their use of force over the citizens and the resistance from the citizens at a point have created a lot of undemocratic tendencies in the citizenry.
Recently, after their several meetings, the Southern Governors Forum came up with a declaration that the next president of the nation must come from the south with a threat that they wouldn’t allow the north to hold on to power come 2023. For those who are familiar with the politics of Nigeria, one can be tempted to say that they are asking for a legitimate right. For example, the current Nigerian president is a northerner and he actually took over from a southern president. Unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution is silent about rotational presidency and one expects our Governors, among whom are senior lawyers, to note and know this.
In their reaction, The Northern Governors Forum recently had a meeting where it countered its southern counterpart. The Northern forum insisted that the issue of rotationalism is alien to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It declared that the next president will come from the north. To make it worse, both fora (forums) have been backed by their politicians, opinion generators, agitators and different segregation groups. But studying their communique very well, one will discover that what the northern governors are saying is “negotiate your position with us”.
This point must always be made: In democracy, number is sacrosanct. Democracy
still remain the government of the people by the people and for the people and It is a generally accepted fact that in democracy, the majority will always have their ways while the minority will be allowed to have their says. And this is what the Northern politicians want to explore. But a wise minority can have its way but not by any undemocratic utterance or action. It will go deep into the majority, have friends within the majority and ask for what it wants. It is only a few politicians from the South who are doing this presently and the leading figure is Asiwaju Amed Bola Tinubu.
Currently in Nigeria, the total registered voters in all the six geopolitical zones are as follows:
Bayelsa 472,389Akwa Ibom 1,714,781
Grand Total – 66,878,004
(culled from Google search)
From the above data, the southern part of the country has 30,263,973 registered voters while the northern part has 36,614,031. The North has over six millions voters above its southern part. The bulk of northern registered voters comes from the North West while the bulk of the southern registered voters comes from the South West. Politics is played like Chess and Draft games. A good politician will look at the fixed and variable factors of the above data and then see what he/she can do to achieve his/her target. For example, a visionary politicians will work tediously on having large votes from the North West and South West. Just sitting down in a room and issuing demands and threats can only succeed in a banana republic.
But what we have seen the Southern politicians doing presently is not the best politics that will help them achieve their aims. Getting votes is a serious job that demands opening discussions with their northern brothers and sisters. The discussions will also mean that they will negotiate their positions and negotiation in politics entails “give and take”. You cannot always have your ways in negotiation. One of their position should be that rotationalism should be inserted into the Constitution so that there will always be peace and tranquility in the country.
The southern politicians are very right in asking for rotation of the office of president but this can only be achieved in the party politics. Those in the various political parties must befriend others in their parties and negotiate with them. If really the southern leaders are serious about their positions, they must know that their negotiation will affect some of their recent actions and must go to the table with stronger and higher arguments.
We must be aware that Nigeria can only be split into different units when all of us by simple majority concur; it won’t happen by use of force, killings of ourselves, issuing threats, maligning the names of those we perceive as enemies of the southerners.