By Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi
In reference to the undemocratic, unconstitutional rotation of the presidency, the late National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, on the 27th April 2012 asserted at the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta State, that the worsening insecurity in the North-Eastern part of the country, exacerbated by the frequent and deadly attacks of the extremist Boko Haram sect across the country, could be traced to the politics of exclusion and undemocratic practices in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
What he meant was that after eight years of President Obasanjo – a southerner, the unwritten gentleman’s agreement of rotational presidency of the ruling party PDP gives the Northern Nigerians rights of the next eight years of rule, but with the unfortunate death of President Umar Yaraduwa, and the insistence of President Jonathan, to discard the arrangement for his constitutional right to contest regardless of the fact that the north only ‘enjoyed’ two years of its presumed right to the presidency, caused a conflict. This friction, he believes, made the northern politicians make Jonathan’s regime ungovernable by supporting or triggering BH attacks.
In his words: “And I would like to say this, though the PDP people will not agree with me, they would like to attack me, but I hope they do it in private; PDP got it wrong from the beginning by saying Mr. A can go and Mr. B cannot go and these decisions were made without looking at the constitution. Is it possible that somebody was thinking only Mr. A could win and if he could not win, there would be problems in this society,”
A day later, in his reply, President Jonathan disagrees: “I have read it from the papers. I don’t believe it is the undemocratic practices of the PDP that gave rise to this or any other militant groups,”
But they all agree that ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY is an ‘undemocratic practice of the PDP’.
GEJ went ahead despite the agreed ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY and contested. He won the elections with the support of his party and the SW votes which PMB later enjoyed.
Then by all intent and purpose, this singular act has killed ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY and has nullified it, and Nigerians have moved forward. So, who is that bigoted individual or group that wants to TURN THE CLOCK BACKWARDS of promoting undemocratic principles in 21st century Nigeria based on ethnic, regional, or narrow religious parochial considerations?
The jinx was already broken when President Jonathan contested in 2011 and 2015. In one he won and lost in the other. This proves, like Abiola’s case, that Nigerians are ready to choose their leaders irrespective of their differences. This is exactly what the nation needs for genuine stability. The nation needs competent leaders that would cement the nation and move it forward.
To achieve that, a diverse nation like ours needs to abide by the full tenets of a scientific democratic setting whereby every individual is given his constitutional right and opportunity to aspiring for whatever position he/she desires for so long that people are ready to vote for him/her. This is the surest way Nigeria can break the unethical concept of the rotational presidency that has been producing leaders of mediocre ability and political mistrusts and suspicions of subversions.
There should be no more place for divisive slogans of retrogressive ethnic, regional, or religious chauvinism, Nigerians need to be better treated by their politicians. We are no more fools.
May Allah bring peace and tranquility to our Nation. Amin