I feel sorry for my generation and up coming generation because almost 60 years after independence, we are not talking about development, but about religion, ethnicity and region. Religion which is the most sensitive divisive factor in politics has now, unfortunately,taken the centre stage.
Candidates for election are not being assessed because what they can do for the nation, but what religious group or ethnic group they belong too. We have descended so low despite the fact we are more educated than those before us.
From 1966- 1975 ie 9 years, Gen Yakubu Gowon, a Northern minority Christian ruled this country with his Deputy a Christian from minority South South. There was no noise anywhere and heaven didn’t fall. From 1983- 1985, Gen Muhamadu Buhari ruled this country with him a Northern Muslim and his Deputy, equally a Northern Muslim and heaven didn’t fall and there was no protest from any quarters. If you will say all were military regimes, but what will you say when in June 1993, Christians and Muslims all over the country voted for a Muslim- muslim ticket and was adjudged as the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the history of this country. We still got it right even after the brouhaha of June that nearly tore this country to pieces. Reasonable Nigerians agreed that the South West have to be placated and for first time in the politics of Nigerian lexicon, two major parties produced all the two candidates being Yorubas and Christians. Gradually these formula of agreeing on political direction of Nigeria is giving way and all kinds of charlatans have invaded the political landscape, overcharging it with irredentist, megalomania formula that are being ignorantly executed thereby crippling the political health of this prosperous and vibrant nation.
This hypocritical religious colouration of our politics is likely to banish this nation if we don’t retrace our steps because based on historical facts, no nation survives religious war. We are playing with fire and it will burn us.
As a way out, we have to go back to the late Alex Ekueme panacea to stem the tide of religious and ethnic politics. This fine and most educated leader ever produced in our political landscape had argued during the 1996 constitutional conference that the country be divided in to six geopolitical zones namely South South, South East, South West, North West, North East and North Central. And each of the zones should hold power for 5 years and after it had gone round for 30 years, then the arrangements will be reviewed. He was shouted down and call all sorts of names. Today for failing to listen to our elders statesman, we are still battling not with development, but with how to share power amongst the competing federating units and it is becoming more violent, more unpatriotic and taking a very dangerous dimension. What a shame.
To avoid the impending political doom that could lead to disastrous consequences, we have to go back to drawing board and revisit Alex Ekueme’s panacea that was thrown out based on sentiments.
Fighting corruption, fighting insurgency, fighting poverty, fighting other vices in the system will not give the desired result when you have not gotten it right politically. By way of conclusion, I want to refer us to Late Dr Nkawme Nkrumah of Ghana who changed Jesus’ quote which says seek first the kingdom God and his righteousness and all others things shall be added to you, but Nkrumah changed it to seek ye the political kingdom and all others things shall be added to you.
Folks no matter how much power you wield, you can not achieved much if you don’t tackle the structural defects in the political equation. I can say without fear of contradiction that all the vices inherent in our country are bye products of structural defects in the political structure that appears exclusive ands not inclusive. If we don’t work on getting the structural defects right , so long we shall we continue to fumble and stumble without concrete socio- economic advancement.