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A MEMORANDUM ON ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY IN NIGERIA.

This memorandum was submitted and admitted as one of the memoranda complied at the 2005 National Conference in Nigeria, it had been written a few years before. It was first published in a Nigerian National Daily Newspaper on the 29th June 2005. The intention behind this memo was to solve one of Nigeria’s recurring political decimal, which could also be applied at other levels of Government.

Find below a re-production of the article:

‘MEMO TO CONFAB ON ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY:

A BI-TRIANGULAR ARRANGEMENT 

By Bernie Omatsola Grant

Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 

WHAT IS THE BI-TRIANGULAR SYSTEM?

The Bi-Triangular system is a system of rotation of the presidency of the Nigerian Federation (subsequently referred to as the Federation) that takes cognisance of the principle of equity, equality, fairness and justice. This concept is a system that is established on cultural, historical, political and inter-ethnic foundations and realities of the Federation.

It is based on the six geo-political zones/regions taking into cognisance the foundation of the federation, which was built on the North and the South and further recognizing the various blocks that exist within the two major areas of the Federation.

ILLUSTRATION

This system makes use of imagery, i.e. we are to imagine two triangles, each super imposed, one on Northern Nigeria and the second on Southern Nigeria.

Based on this formula, the presidency of the federation should be rotated.

EXPLANATION

The system should firstly rotate between Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria and vice versa every five years. Then the three zones in each region would also rotate the office when it comes to the turn of that region, based on the six zones of North-West,   North East, North-Central, South-West, South-East and South-South. For example, the South West, it can be said has it at present.

It will then be the turn of the North at the next change of power, then the decision of which zone gets it would be made, presumably   North-East. Then when it rotates back to the South, the South-West would be out of contention for the position (i.e. knocked out)   and a decision as to which of the remaining two zones of South-East and South-South would be made. Then when it goes back to the North, a decision as to which of the zones, apart from North-East, would get the next slot either North-West or North-Central,   let’s say North-Central. Then when it is the South’s turn, if we say the South-East had it the last time, then the South-South would   produce the next President. When it would be the North’s turn, naturally North-west would get it. (This line-up/set-up should not be taken as conclusive; it is left for Nigerians to decide).

A sort of time-table would have been created starting with the South-West, North-East, South-East, North-Central, South-South, North-West, whereby on the expiration of every zone’s tenure, the South-West would again start the process.

This creates equity, continuity, unity, stability and sustenance of the Federation and final death knell to the Political Power Problem (P.P.P) in Nigeria. 

CRITERIA

For this system, to succeed and be lasting.

For there to be a reduction or total elimination of cries/fear of marginalisation, which leads to the unnecessary bickering and hunger for power.

For there to be an avenue to solving the problem of alleged power imbalance i.e. the power riddle.

Some fundamentals have to be entrenched into the constitution of the Federation, i.e. be the Nation’s grundnorm, namely;

1) Five (5) year single term for the office of the president of the Federation.

2) Rotational Presidency along six Geo-political Zones

3) Six (6) Geo-political zones should be entrenched into the constitution, so there would be no tampering or altering.

ARGUMENTS

1) On implementation, this system would solve the minority question in Nigeria. Thereby creating a real sense of equality and equity.

2) The system would also create a true sense of belonging. Every section of the Federation would feel they were true stakeholders, with a right to the highest office in the Land (as of right), as entrenched in the constitution.

3) This system would also to a large extent solve the issue of military incursion into the governance of the Federation, whereby a time-table of sorts would have been created and no section of the federation would reasonably want to tamper with the time-table, as this will disrupt or permanently impede their progression to the office.

4) The (5) year single term is a necessity for various reasons:

a) It would ensure a complete rotation in thirty (30) years, when the circle/ rotation would start again. This would save us the situation, where we now find ourselves still searching, after forty-four (44) years.

b) It would also solve the desperate tendency of Incumbents wanting to retain power at all costs, which would further divide and impoverish the country, i.e. treat/ address more dissent.

5) This rotational system has been used, to favourable results in Canada, one of the present world’s solid, enduring and formidable democracies. This is a country that has two main divisions/blocs, the English side and the French side. In spite of this, they have been able to establish themselves as a leader in the comity of Nations of the World. The recent hand-over/rotation of power from Jean Chretien (a French Canadian) to Todd Martin (an English Canadian), shows the magnanimity, sense of equality and unity of the people of Canada, devoid of/ without any bitterness, rancour or cheating.

6) Adoption of this system would create a solid foundation for Nigeria to build upon and if truly implemented with all sense of   fairness, would make Nigeria a great example to emulate, especially within Africa, then to the world.

7) This system would allow the Federation to solve its Political Power Problem (P.P.P) and enable the country and its leaders to concentrate on nation building i.e. improving the economy and standard of living of the citizens, without distractions.

8) if we are to accept that Nigeria is made up of over a Hundred tribes/ethnic groups, dividing ascendancy to the office of President among six major blocs/zones, should not be a problem and should be seen as a way of creating a Nigerian style democracy that respects its uniqueness and cultural/tribal proliferation, all for the love of our country, Nigeria.’

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