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To those committed to equity and justice, the ongoing argument of whether northern Nigeria should produce Nigeria’s next president, or the president should come from the south, is very troubling, dishonest and fraught with dangers. This argument arrogantly or ignorantly presupposes that we have only two regions in Nigeria. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

The facts are that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is made up of 36 states, a federal capital territory, and 774 Local Government Areas. Furthermore, due to the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the quest to address perpetual frictions and fear of domination among its component units, Nigeria was again dividedinto six geographical zones among which political powers should rotate. These geo-political zones were carefully carved based on geographical locations, similar ethnicity, economic activities and common political ideology. The six zones are the South Southzone, South East, South West, North Central, North West, and North East.

Those politicians and their media cronies who continue to argue that the next president of Nigeria must come from the “south” are the very people responsible for the impunity and injustice which has virtually brought the country to its knees. Their argument is disingenuous, almost unpatriotic and clearly not unsupported by any fact under the prevailing political circumstances in the country. For example, going by the argument that the south should produce the next president, we have reduced the country simply into only north and south zones, the very problem which the creation of six geo-political zones was created to address in the first place. No geo-political zone is superior to another.

Only two geo-political zones are naturally entitled to the 2023 presidential tickets of our major political parties. Since Nigeria’s return to democratic governance in 1998 (this fourth republic), only the North Central and South South zones are yet to produce a president for the country, or a presidential candidate for our two major political parties, PDP or APC.  If as a people we are truly committed to fairness, equity and justice, or we genuinely believe in equality of all tribes and nationalities making up Nigeria, let the APC and APC give their 2023 presidential tickets to only candidates from those two zones of North Central and South East.

The choice facing the PDP as a party seeking power to right the numerous wrongs of APC administration,rescue Nigeria from imminent collapse, and lay a solid foundation for unity among Nigeria’s nationalities in a country where equality and rule of law shall be the new norm, is therefore to choose between the former State Governor and Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki or Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra state. Only the zones represented by these two candidates have legitimate claim to the presidency under our rotational arrangement because their two zones have been excluded for too long.

It is now left for the party to consider which of these two men is better tested, more courageous to fearlessly tackle Nigeria’s problems, has better political experience and greater appeal to cross sections of Nigerian groups. In another words, which of these two candidates can appeal to all other geo-political zones ofthe country and win the 2023 presidential election for the party. Let Wike and others respect the yearnings of our deprived geo-political zones and promptly withdraw from the race.

The same principle applies to the APC. The party must give its ticket to a candidate either from the South Eastor North Central. It is fraudulent and disrespectful to think that there is a geo-political zone in Nigeria with no qualified candidate to rule the country. The continued and sponsored efforts to create the impression or confuse Nigerians to the effect that the country is made up of just north and south geo-political zones must be rejected because it is a fraudulent one under which both north central and South East will never have a shot at the presidency. Do not lump thezones together under any pretext. Let each zone speak for itself please.

Akinwale Gaskin writes from Abuja.

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