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Subtle subversion in Nasarawa State

Zoning has it tap roots in that crisis and it was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cook-up. Like the former Speaker of the House of…

Zoning has it tap roots in that crisis and it was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cook-up. Like the former Speaker of the House of Representatives rightly pointed out, the Nigerian media elevated it to a national issue which should not have been the case. If truth must be told, it shouldn’t have been like that non-PDP parties should have steered clear of what looks now like a booby trap put before some state governors who are latching on to this opportunity to undermine people’s interest. But if Nigerians have agreed to discuss it , no qualms. And another way to go about it is via a referendum at state levels given that we have a short time to the next election. And if that was not possible, state governors would have done an adhoc stakeholders consultative dialogue to gauge the people’s feelings and stand on this crucial matter. We did not get any of these except what the governors think for themselves which we are now being given to swallow hook, line and sinker. We need not to tell anyone that, among other things, democracy is an all-comers affair and about representative capacity, because this is more of a cliché, so it would amount to dissipating valuable energy if we continue to pontificate on it. Everybody simply knows that. In an ideal situation, our governors would have been morally right and empowered to speak on the people’s behalf, but the circumstances which brought so many of them to where they are now are more than suspect. It is on the strength of this that when the Northern State governors recently converged in Kaduna to decide and concretise their stand in favour of zoning, avarice, greed and selfish interests blinded the sense of judgement by the senseless ones.  As a PDP state, we in Nasarawa State are more than worried by the current events in our dear state regarding this debate and stand on zoning. As pointed out above, democracy is representative in nature. As things are, it is just the exact opposite as far as this zoning thing is concerned. We do not know where Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma got the mandate to go and vote against zoning on behalf of the state. Any right thinking indigene of the state is not only worried that that single cast of Doma against zoning is a misrepresentation of the state but a counter-productive misadventure.  Indigenes of the state did not and are still not favourably disposed to jettison zoning, because to them, abandoning zoning amounts to an ungentlemanly conduct. It is against the spirit of give-and-take which the arrangement was supposed to uphold. It has also torpedoed the sense of belonging the arrangement was supposed to guarantee. Zoning will give hope to the oppressed whose liberation time is not just here for them, but also, that they can be whatever they want to be in terms of holding any public office from the ward to the toppest echelon of political office in Nigeria and even beyond. If zoning is shelved, the oppressed would continue to remain oppressed. The implication of this would be too grave to experience. It might interest people to know that it is on account of perceived political oppression that the horrific 2000 crisis took place in which thousands of innocent lives and billions of naira worth of assets were wantonly destroyed in Kaduna. Dr. Chris Abashiya made this clear when he told a New Nigerian Weekly reporter that the 2000 crisis was not actually because of Sharia, “that it was because of bottled-up political oppression by the Hausa-Fulani of northern Kaduna over their southern brothers.” Such comments like “we are tired of being professional deputy governors” by the southern Kaduna is as a result of   perceived marginalisation. And only zoning could douse this kind of negative perceptions. By the way, why should Governor Doma vote against zoning as a huge beneficiary of that contraption? I swear, our governor would have in no way, smelt the Nasarawa State Government House let alone occupy it and as well dream of a second term if zoning was not in place. If he thinks otherwise, I challenge him to prove me wrong. If Doma’s ethnic status is anything to go by, he cannot stand side by side the bigger tribes in the state that would continue to rely on their numerical advantage to continue to hang on to power till thy kingdom come as the Igalas are doing in Kogi State.

At more than 60 years of age, Doma would do better by being honest with himself by standing with the people’s wish, for there lies his strength. If he chooses otherwise – which is what he has done by voting against zoning – he has only bitten the finger that fed him which is unlike an old man of his age. With this, what kind of story is he going to be telling the younger ones who would come after him? I think I want to leave him to ponder over that.

By standing against zoning is to grandstand against the people and that is the greatest disservice any leader can bequeath to his people. Or are they still trying to remind us that we are yet to be done with dictatorship despite willingly embracing democracy some 12 years ago? If anybody or group thinks the people can be taken for a ride and be held to ransom, there better be a rethink. The era of such mundane day dreaming has since vanished from the enlightened psyche of Nigerians. Since some of our leaders still live in the past, they should be rudely reminded that on this zoning thing in particular, the people are no longer ready to be short-changed again as has been proved in Yobe, Kaduna and Borno States. Very interestingly too, Nasarawa State people have joined in this good thinking and are also acting true to type.

Augustine wrote in from Akwanga, Nasarawa State

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