By Onyeabochukwu Christian
It is becoming abundantly clear to the blind and audible enough to the deaf that the clamours for political zoning and other power-sharing arrangements as mechanisms for political correctness have overshadowed liberal democracy not only in Enugu State, but in Nigeria as a country.
Permit me to start this contribution by defining to a layman the meaning of zoning. According to the Oxford Dictionary for African Politics, zoning means a political practice in Nigeria under which political parties or cultural group in states or communities agrees to rotate power amongst contending factors, depending on the office in contention.
Zoning has also been defined by some school of thoughts as an undemocratic formula used by political parties to share power according to loosely-defined geographic ‘zones’ that are neither clearly explained nor sanctioned by the electorate. It is used to goad the citizens and railroad them into perpetual subservience to political elites.
Having defined what zoning is all about, we must ask ourselves if zoning is lawful, helpful and desirable to our political survival as a people? We must put to four way test the true intent and purposes of zoning in a society such as ours.
Therefore, it has become necessary to provide answers to these questions because the periodic restriction of political opportunity to selected groups in a political entity, no matter the intention behind it, is evil and must be jettisoned. Zoning, encourages sacrificing meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity.
At this point of our democratic development, our focus should be on building a system where the most capable and those with the best ideas take leadership position to create value for the wellbeing of the society and not the other way round.
Again it’s a big disservice to human race that a leader sees a problem he thinks he can resolve and offers his service to his people and such offer is blocked on the account of prearranged deals, which are not people oriented.
As the journey to 2023 political circle gathers momentum, I am of the opinion that the language should be about merit and not the usual chorus; it is our turn to produce the next governor. I am of the view that Ndi Enugu should pay more attention to the personalities involved in the contest rather than the usual déjà vu that have only served the interest of the elite. In all sincerity, 2023 governorship contest in Enugu State, yet again, presents an opportunity to us as a people to decide on the kind of governance we desire.
Therefore, I make this submission in good conscience knowing that zoning is like a prescription that kills instead of heals. It is also obvious that the consequences of leadership failure in our society today does not speak any language neither does it belong to any senatorial district in Enugu State or political party, hence the need for all hands on the deck to search for a selfless leader who will not rob Peter to pay Paul; a leader who will not pursue development drive based on cultural grouping in Enugu State; a leader who will not give to Agbaja five per cent and give 90 per cent to Nsukka or give Ndi Awgu 80 per cent and give Nkanu 15 per cent; a leader who will not place emphasis on the dialect one speaks. We want a leader who will take all part of Enugu state as his own constituency.
Finally, for the sake of equity and fair play, justice revolves around allowing any indigene of Enugu State, irrespective of his cultural grouping or senatorial district, as long as that person is constitutionally qualified, to contest and let the people decide whom they want, especially now that all senatorial districts in Enugu state have had the opportunity of occupying the number one seat in the state.
On this note, I am recommending for a liberal democratic tenets in deciding whom to trust into his hand the leadership of Enugu State come 2023.
Christian is the Cordinator, Coalition of Enugu West Youth Organizations and public affair analyst.