Despite the categorisation of democracy into full, flawed, hybrid and authoritarian and the groupings into pluralism, civil liberty and political culture, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research division of the Economist Group, a UK-based private company, published its 2020 report and has it that democracy exists in 167 countries of which 166 are sovereign states and 164 are United Nations member states.
Democracy is a form of government that is remarkably stable, just and popular, which lasts over 200 years. It is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. The simple concept of democracy is in holding the popular wish of people. It is mostly described as leadership of the majority in the popular concept of “Majority rule, Minority right.”
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The Federal Republic of Nigeria has a total number of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which are further seen as two regions; North and South. The North has a total of 19 states, plus the FCT, while the South has 17 states. The details of the 2006 National Census which is the most recent, conducted by the National Population Commission during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo presents the North as the most populous with Kano State having the largest number of inhabitants.
The news that dominates the Nigerian media industry these days is more of threats, intimidations and harassments from Southern Nigerian citizens, including the Southern Governors’ Forum insisting that the next president must come from their region.
At the end of their meeting on July 5, 2021, the governors reiterated their commitment to the politics of “equity, fairness and unanimously agreed that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from Southern Region’.’
This is aside agitations and disturbing comments by some Southerners on their insistence and trying to coerce the country to pick a president from their region. The IPOB terrorists are having free days in South East and Yoruba Nation agitators too in the South West wreaking havoc all over.
These calls are considered undemocratic and also translate into disbelief in the democratic principles. No one cares to mention competence and merit, but the attention is centred towards getting a person from their region irrespective of whether the person has the prerequisite to be or otherwise.
Nigeria has a total of 91 registered political parties. Any individual or group that feels having an aspirant(s) that has the technical know-how on how to move Nigeria forward, the best option is to present them to any of the registered political parties or begin the registration process of a new party for possible adoption as a flag-bearer, mobilise support from all Nigerians and go to the polls.
It is a known fact that 20 is greater than 17 in plain numeracy. Also, it is indisputably true that Northern Nigeria constitutes the bulk of Nigeria’s population. If at a particular time, the Southerners feel they need the support of the North to install their own in the highest office of the land, then this should come with a lobby and appeal not intimidations and harassments.
A simple arithmetic reveals that out of the 24 years of Nigeria’s democracy, Southern Nigeria ruled the country for cumulative of 13 years, three months, while Northern Nigeria ruled for 10 years, nine months. If I may ask, honestly and sincerely, between the region that ruled for 13 years, three months and the one that has 10 years, nine months, which deserves to produce the next president?
We have found ourselves in a society that has so much distortions about the truth, is interested in conspiracy theories and spreading propaganda, but to put the record straight, Northern Nigeria has found itself in a very pathetic situation that it is always marginalised even when one of its own is leading the country because of the over-domination of Southerners in the critical spheres of governance. This led to the underdevelopment of the region. Few examples can suffice.
The number of companies that collapsed in Kano State alone between 1999 and 2007 were in hundreds, mostly due to poor electricity supply. At the same time, companies in Lagos and other Southern states continue to flourish.
In Niger State alone, Nigeria generates a very high percentage of power from the Kainji Power Station, Jebba Power Station, and Shiroro Power Station. Presently, the Zungeru Hydropower project is ongoing in the same Niger State which is expected to generate 700MW. But take a visit to Minna, the Niger State capital, and see how epileptic power supply is in the city.
There exist threats of further underdevelopment of the Northern Nigeria if a Southerner is imposed on the nation as the agitators demand.
The Northern Nigeria is at liberty to retain power from now to when God destines it because that is all that remains for the region to hold unto as the civil service and the economy (business) is dominated by Southerners.
The North should go back to drawing board and put all hands on deck to bring out an experienced, qualified, cosmopolitan, person of integrity and God-fearing individual that believes in the unity and development of Nigeria who will uphold the rights of the minority to contest for the upcoming 2023 presidential election and use its voting power to bring him into office for peace and progress of our dear nation.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Yusuf Alhaji Lawan wrote from Hausawa Asibiti Ward, Potiskum, Yobe State.