BY STEVE OTALORO
The narratives credited to certain quarters of the political class clamouring for the retention of the presidency by the North should be seen as an act capable of provoking disunity and civil strife in the country. This incendiary folklores would not only impair our sovereignty achieved in the 60s by our founding fathers, but would also endanger the unity of the country fought for and earned upon the blood of our fallen heroic soldiers to keep our nation one.
The presidency, having spent eight years in the North to give President Muhammadu Buhari two terms, is, adequately, provided for in the schedule of political arrangements as obtained in the country since the Obasanjo administration in 1999 to date. Therefore, any projection not in tandem with the above concept is meant to seek support by appealing to the desires and ignorance of the ordinary northerner; rather than the rational approach to national issues which by far is superior to the said demagoguery of political opportunists.
Those politicians promoting the concept of ‘northern presidency’ to stop at it or be viewed as marauders with incendiary comments, deliberately, to escalate the present security challenges in the country and seek to further polarise the country for more troubles than the ones on our hands at present.
The Nigerian political elites are deliberately promoting disunity as political weapon. This is a dangerous trend capable of creating unending crisis in the country. Acts like that, clearly, demonstrates negative imagery of the country and is capable of misleading the country on a journey of departure from its present station of peace and prosperity.
Politicians, during this season elections, must focus on those positive areas pertinent to uniting us as a nation. Everyone must ensure that what is passed across to the public are materials that enhance national peace, unity and development in view of the critical time the country is passing through at present.
Favourable unifying comments are what should be promoted in the media to ensure that tensions are not further exacerbated.
Politicians are to observe decorum during campaign activities. The rank and file of the political class must shun acts capable of promoting disunity. We must ensure that words said by us are those that project cohesion, but not chaos. We must express our love for this country rather than emphasise on tribal and religious differences and generative of wrong belief in deluding a section of the country to appear superior to others.
The only major factor to the sustenance of unity in the country is continual rotational presidency. The falsehood preached around that the ‘southern candidates do not have the numerical strength to win an election’ must be jettisoned. Chief MKO Abiola defeated Alhaji Bashir Tofa in 1993 election, ditto, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo repeated same feat against Muhammadu Buhari in the 2003 election.
Nigerians vote on merit, their judgement does not center on religion or ethnicity. It is the political jobbers within the fold that nurse within them the belief that the best way to control people and to access money and power is to drive wedges between the people. So, they start to play up the differences between the ethnic divides! God will rid this country of them.
The freest and fairest democratic election to date in Nigeria was won by a Muslim presidential candidate from the South with a Muslim from the North as Vice Presidential candidate. They won in Christian dominated and Muslim concentrated states. I, therefore, urge Nigerians to allow themselves to not be used by political rabble-rousers as a tool to foist a break up on the country.
The political class are to align themselves with their party constitutional dictates which recognized the northern and southern parts of the country as symbiotic partners in the allocation of party positions and offices at the national level as a realistic yardstick for national development.
The PDP’s ploy to not, officially, zone the presidency to the Southern part of the country would, eventually, boomerang. Their ill-fated strategy at fielding a Northern candidate against the APC’s envisaged Southern candidate will sort of push the South into a renewed impetus to defend its dignity by voting, massively, for a Southern candidate. However, for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, we must, in earnest, right the wrong ahead of such occurrences.
Nigeria democracy is still fragile and needed the utmost protections we can avail it. The political class should not, by its careless utterances and actions, subject it to factors capable of structural destruction.
Therefore, ‘southern presidency’, this time around, in 2023, should be considered sacrosanct to the continual unity of the nation.
Steve Otaloro is a political analyst, media strategist and public relation practitioners. email; firstname.lastname@example.org