By Owolabi Salis
The objective of this article is to introduce a novel democratic system that can help resolve most of the problems the Nigeria is experiencing including ethnic and religious crises, banditory, marginalization of minorities, leadership and party impunity, fraud and electoral problems, corruption and inability of Nigerians to live freely in any part of Nigeria etc.
The parliamentary and the presidential systems are not able to solve Nigeria’s problems. The system we operate now is that the more crises you are able to create and distribute, the more political relevance you enjoy. The question is can we have a novel system that can address Nigeria’s problems at the same time. Yes. Read on.
One best solution is to practice a form of democracy called “Equitocracy” or “diversity based democracy”, an equity based system that helps to reduce and or eliminate Nigeria’s problems. With this system, Nigeria will assume the name Federal Equity Republic of Nigeria or Equity Republic of Nigeria.
How do we select a Leader under a novel system that will be acceptable to all and wipe out or reduce the challenges. We have 36 states in Nigeria. For clear understanding, we are going to make 36 evaluations based on the best three parties that are recognized from the states. The first evaluation to ask Abia State to present to Nigerians three candidates from their State that are competent to rule Nigeria. These candidates from Abia State will be evaluated state by state by the 36 states. Let us take these candidate’s parties or platforms to be A, B and C. The people of Lagos State may prefer C to others (say 30:20:50 in %) while the people of Sokoto State may prefer A (say 60:30:10 in %). In this case, C won Lagos State while A won Sokoto State. Other states’ votes in the federation will also be analyzed in the same manner for the candidates from Abia State. The candidate with the highest states wins will be the winner from Abia State. 36 states will have to be won which may be won as follows: 25:4:7. In this assumption, A wins 25 states, B wins 4 states and C wins 7 states. A is therefore the overall winner from Abia.
In the same manner, other states in the federation will be asked to present three candidates to Nigerians for evaluation and votes. The candidate A from Lagos State may have won as follows: 36:0:0 while the candidate B from Kano State may have won as follows: 0:35:1 and so on for other states.
All the candidates from the states that won with the highest states will be collated into an Equity Council and the one among them that won with the most states points will be the President or the Governor-General. If there is a tie of highest states points, the one that won with most states points and votes will be the President or the Governor-General. If there is a tie of highest states points and general votes which is highly unlikely, there will be a general election for the tied candidates. All the other winners will be Governors in their respective states and the runner up to the Governor-General or President will be Governor in the affected state. In this case, all Nigerians are involved in the election of the Governors and the Governor-General. This is governed by Equity Rules that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands and among equal equities, the strongest is the law. To be elected as a member
of the Equity Council, you have to be a lover of Nigeria or be seen to be so; you have to campaign with clean minds.
The above arrangement can be designed into one ballot paper to make it easy for voting as follows:
Advantages – How does the equity system address the above problems militating against Nigeria?
1. The President or Governor-General can emerge from any state and there will be no ethnic tension because all ethnic groups are relevant and participating. Terrorism, banditry, gangsterism, agitations and all other vices that have political undertone will die down automatically.
2. There will be no marginalization and political domination. All ethnic groups are relevant and participating proportionally. The chances of North West producing the President or Governor General is 7/36, South West is 6/36, North East is 6/36, North Central is 6/36, South South is 6/36 and South East is 5/36. The zones that are hopeless because of marginalization and domination under the presidential system are now hopeful.
3. There will be no force and or domination of the incumbent in elections because the incumbent is retired to his or her state.
4. There can never be party imposition and impunity. Political competition will be at its best and the best will start emerging for the country. The system kills selfishness.
5. Equity and love will be enshrined promoting confidence and trust in the system by the populace.
6. Nigerians will be able to live freely in any state of their choice because all Nigerians are involved in electing all Governors. Governors are then likely to make policies to promote national unity in their various states.
7. There will be no need for fraud, rigging, rituals, violence, political deception, politically induced killings and monetization of votes. The system neutralizes all these vices. You have to come to equity with clean hands.
8. Of course, there will be no need for bad campaigns, unattainable promises and damaging vote negotiations. No candidate can be held ransom. These vices are neutralized.
9. There is no need for clashes between political personalities and rival parties. Lawsuits and bribery of electoral umpires will be reduced if not eliminated. Opportunities are now open for qualified personalities in Nigeria.
10. There will be no excessive political tension and destructive criticism as present in our presidential system. Leaders will now be focused on advancing the interest of the people rather than focusing on managing crises throughout their tenure as common in our presidential system.
11. There will be little or no human rights abuses and disregard for the less privileged
12. There will be political cooperation among Nigerian personalities because you need cooperation to win other states points.
13. There will be no rigging because to rig, you need assistance from the people of other states and if they give you the assistance, they will be rigging themselves out. All the problems above are eliminated or reduced.
14. After some time, the religious sentiments will be disbarred in the minds of the people.
The above arrangement can be adopted for the Senate and the local governments.
After forming the system, it is advisable to have a Commander-in-Chief, C-in-C, supervisor for some time for the system to gain the people’s confidence. A modified system may also be practiced whereby there is head of government and ceremonial head of state and C-in-C. The head of government may be done through the Equity System while the C-in-C may be done through the general voting. After some time, the two can be merged.
By High Chief Owolabi Salis,
B.Sc., M.Sc., FCA., ACIB, LL.B., B.L., NY JD bar.
Ahmadu Bello University
University of Lagos. Distinguished Fellow 50th anniversary.
National Cultural Titles Akinyegun of Owu Kingdom, Ogun Obong Adaha Uyo, Akwa Ibom Ofure of Esanland, Edo
Magayaki Giade, Bauchi
Enyioma Ndigbo Gburugburu Etitti Mgboko Abia Jagun Bashorun of Ibadan Land, Oyo
Olori Eyo Agere of Lagos Apashe Igede Ekiti
Section Speaker on Democratic Reform in Nigeria, Nigeria meets the world 2007. Aspirant, Lagos Governorship, PDP, 2007, 2010
Aspirant, National Secretary, PDP Candidate, AD, Lagos Governorship, 2019
US: 1179 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213. USA Tel: +19174030566
Email: [email protected] WhatsApp: +19174030566 (Preferred)
Discussion of Diversity Based Democracy – New York, September 25, 2007
Present: Ambassador Walter Carrington, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Bolaji Akinyemi, Olisa Agbakoba, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Ambassador Emeka Anyaoku, Former CJN Mohammed Uwais. New York, New York. 2007.