Rotational presidency: Sure key to patriotism, unity

FOR some time now, there has been a renewed debate among Nigerians, at home and abroad, as to whether or not rotational presidential system is a good political ideology for Nigeria. While some Nigerians see the idea as a bad proposal, many others, including Dr. Yakubu Gowon (former Nigerian President), view it as the best political leadership option for Nigeria. As a Nigerian, with knowledge of the divisive nature of Nigerian socio-political make-up, I strongly and sincerely support the latter school of thought. In fact, a clear-cut, constitutional or formal arrangement, which recognizes the delimitation of Nigeria into some geopolitical zones for the purpose of rotating elections to and occupation of the office of the president among them, is the only sure door to stability, unity, patriotism and true development in contemporary Nigeria. Nigerians who are opposed to the proposed zoning/rotational presidential system in Nigeria have argued that it will endanger Nigerian unity, is undemocratic, and will hinder efforts geared towards electing credible and capable Nigerians into the presidential office.

In my view, those arguments are mere dialectical and mechanical chicaneries, motivated by ulterior political reasons, greed, ignorance of Nigerian socio-political chemistry, naivety about the meaning and spirit of democracy, and insensitivity to the stark realities of Nigerian society. Those Nigerians ought to know that nothing kills, nothing destroys a country or society more easily and rapidly than fear of ethno-political domination and feelings of marginalization. They ought to know that feelings of ethno-political domination and marginalization were the immediate or remote causes of many bloody revolutions, bloody civil wars; the disintegration and balkanization of ancient and modern kingdoms, empires, and nations known to human history. Opponents of rotational presidential political system in Nigeria should know that tribal and sectarian resentments, hatred, and distrust engendered by political domination and marginalization essentially led to many of the pogroms, genocides, and ethnic cleansings recorded in world history.

They ought to know also that the ultimate goal of the proposed rotational presidential system in Nigeria is to eradicate or abate ethnic resentments, tribal distrust and promote national harmony.

To all intents and purposes, Political domination, whether from individual persons or ethnic group(s); whether created by elections or coercion, is an evil wind that blows no nation, no people any good. Precisely speaking, fear of political domination and feelings of marginalization generated devilish ethnic rivalry and distrust between the German Jews and their blue-eyed, blond-haired Aryan white neighbors before and after the First World War. This ugly situation, in no small measure, precipitated Adolf Hitler, an Aryan German, to see the Jews as eternal enemies that must be eliminated during his administration as a German Chancellor. As a result of this distrust, Hitler never hesitated to unleash the Holocaust against the German Jews during the Second World War, an operation in which about six million Jews were reportedly massacred and consumed in Europe between 1939 and 1945. Again, the disintegration of Tsardom of Russia in 1721, Russian Empire in 1917, and USSR in 1991 was caused by social unrest, series of bloody civil wars and revolutions triggered off by fear of ethnic or class political domination.

Likewise, in 1918, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which was later renamed as Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was formed, but in 1945 it balkanized. In 1946, Federal Peoples’ Republic of Yugoslavia, which was later called Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was established, but unfortunately it broke up in 1991. And in 1992, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, renamed later as State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, was formed; however, this new country disintegrated in 2006, and even Serbia was further split, as Kosovo seceded from it as a sovereign nation in 2008. It is indisputable that all these serial break-ups and dissolutions in former Yugoslavia were engendered by civil wars and inter-ethnic distrust occasioned by political domination and its inherent feelings of marginalization among her component nationalities. It will also be recalled that it was this fear of ethno-political domination that led to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

In Africa, feelings of ethno-political domination and marginalization have been the greatest and most intractable threats facing the independent existence, unity, and stability of almost all the countries on the continent. For instance, Sudan got her independence in 1956, but she has virtually known no peace since 1955, when her first civil war broke out between the Muslim Sunni Arabs in the North and the Christian entities in the South. While Sudan was enmeshed in her second inter-tribal war, which started in 1983, the third one ensued in the Darfur Region in 2003 between the Muslim Black Africans in the West and the Arabs. Again, inter-ethnic war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) engulfed over five million Congolese lives between 1998 and 2000. The Rwanda genocide of 1994 in which about 800,000 Rwandans were reportedly exterminated was a direct or indirect off-shoot of the 1990 civil war that ensued in that country, between the Tutsis in the South and their Hutu neighbors in the North. Fear of ethnic political domination and feelings of marginalization were squarely the root causes of all the civil wars, inter-tribal/religious conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan, Congo, and Rwanda. In Nigeria, they triggered the fall of the first Republic and Nigerian civil war, and they led to Niger-Delta uprisings, which started in 1966 with Isaac Boro, as the ring-leader.

  • Nwadike, Attorney at law and Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, writes in from Raleigh, NC, United States.

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