Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The entry of Aliyu Muhammed Gusau into the Nigerian presidential race has been long expected. His longing for the presidency is not as sudden as his late entry into the race seems to show. He has been in the race for the past four years.
When the presidency cowed every one into silence in 2007, Muhammed Gusau was the only candidate that stood to challenge the anointed candidate in Governor Y’ar Adua that later became President. Despite all odds, Alhaji Muhammed Gusau stood his ground and with courage challenged candidate Y’ar Adua. That incidence was a demonstration of his vision for Nigeria, that he had a mission for Nigeria and would not for sentiment compromise such vision. Since then, Gusau has stood firm in the eyes of Nigeria as capable of challenging the status quo standing him as a symbol of change. If he was not that courageous, he probably would have considered his personal relationship with Y’ar Adua’s family and his respect for President Olusegun Obasanjo who championed Y’ar Adua course and shied away from contesting against Y’ar Adua.
Muhammed Aliyu Gusau has more than any Nigerian distinguished himself as a silent operator nursing the security of Nigeria like an egg.
That this country remains in tack, free from breaking internal strive and destabilising external aggression stands to the vigilance of this intelligence officer who served military President and elected Presidents unequivocally for years putting Nigeria on his lap 24/7 so that this fragile country of ours may survive.
Since the rule of Gen. Babangida to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime to Y’ar Adua and until recently to the present regime of President Jonathan Goodluck, this gentle man General of the people has been the eyes and ears of this our great country within and without. It is therefore no accident that this quiet operator was among few Nigerians invited to the inauguration of the 44th President of American President Barrack Obama.
His declaration to contest the presidential election has brought relief to many Nigerians who have been looking for positive change.
The issue of zoning has become so contentions and polarizing because the perceived beneficiaries of zoning have been either five cent or a nickel.
But since Aliyu Muhammed has reiterated his wish to be President, the Nigerian people have the opportunity to tackle the question of zoning intelligently, squarely and rationally.
What is zoning?
The need for zoning was brought about by the need for all different ethnic groups, or zones to have benefit of actualizing the freedom to be elected president. This was brought out by the need to balance the politics of a divided South against the united north that has the potentialities of permanently dominating the presidency if such remedial effort like zoning is not effected.
In order for the South to have the opportunity to produce a president there was need to zone the country into six zones, North West, North East and North Central from the Northern Region and South East, South West and South South in the two eastern and Western regions. For too long either through military incursion or civilian regime, the North had been historically favoured by its number to produce President. So the idea of zoning the Presidency was promoted by the Southern statesmen. During the Constitutional Conference of the Abacha regime, this question polarised the Country between the North and South so much that it thinned the thread that put us together before part of the North agreed with the idea of zoning in understanding it was necessary for compromise position. But the issue of zoning had been on before Abacha. If not for the cancellation of the primary election won by Gen. Musa Y’ar Adua for the SDP and Alhaji Umaru Shunkafi of NRC for the presidency either of them, Northerner, would have been President.
The annulment of June 12 election won by a Southerner that followed the SDP/NRC cancelled primaries made zoning imperative.
Even though, zoning is not embodied in the Nigerian constitution, it has been embedded in the minds of the Nigerian political class as an article of faith.
It is not a PDP arrangement alone. Even now those who are critical about zoning in the PDP are longing for northerners to be their Presidential Candidates. Gen. Buhari is the CPC’s, the ACN has virtually thrown its Presidential towel on the shoulder of Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, a northerner and the ANPP of course would ultimately go for a northerner. Only parties who do not care much about winning the Presidency in 2011 would field a southerner just because it is understood that Southern Obasanjo’s eight years in office should be balanced with a Northern eight years in office to compliment the Y’ar Adua term terminated by the faith of dying in office.
Those who support Mr. Goodluck Jonathan on the other hand engage in the fallacy that Umaru Y’ar Adua and Jonathan had an eight years tenure which Jonathan has to complete in 2015. Nothing can be far from the truth. The truth is that Y’ar Adua had a northern slot for four years and it was not automatic for him to have a second term if he was not dead. And if he was alive and was to go for second term, he was not bound to take along Jonathan Goodluck with him. Therefore those Jonathan’s apologists are only trying to exploit Y’ar Adua’s death, in a double jeopardy, to deny the north its second term.
The Board of Trustees of the PDP headed by President Obasanjo has spoken, it stands by zoning ; the National Executive Council of the PDP has also spoken in favour of zoning even though both recognise the individual rights of president Jonathan Goodluck to contest like every other person. But the right to contest in the constitution is not a must right. In decent societies, the President does not ignore the regulation of his sponsoring political party to claim a nebulous constitutional right. If Jonathan contests against the rule of his party, he has a moral question to answer. He has been an advocate of party discipline advising ordinary people like me to respect the rule of the party. He would not be in position to do that if he defies his party, win or lose. We are talking about moral decadence breading corruption. In decent society, the head resigns if he has cause to disagree with the policies of the organisation.
President Olusegun Obasanjo has led Jonathan Goodluck to a wrong path by openly defying the wish of the BOD which he leads by pushing the South West PDP to endorse Jonathan.

Those of us who recognise the moral inappropriateness of their actions would stay to do what we believe to be right, now that the North has given us a choice in Aliyu Muhammed Gusau.

Bari Adedeji Salau
Public Affairs Analyst


  1. This is a thought provoking article on very sensitive political issues threatening our young and fragile democratic experiment but if I may be bold without unnecessarily offending any of our so called big political thinkers, I respectfully think that the main problem of these issues (zoning and nomination of vice presidents) is the senselessness behind the rationale of adopting these issues in any democratic system. It is oxymoronic. The idea of zoning as a foundation for a young democratic system is simply repugnant, politically suicidal and absolutely immoral in my opinion. And what exactly is the point of compromising the vice-presidency for the immediate selfish political gain. That is definitely not how to build a nation!! Remember the Obasanjo/Atiku debacle. It is only in the barbaric tribes of the weak minded where you will have a president fighting with his own appointed vice president. What exactly is the point? Where is the continuity of political progress when a vice president can not continue the agenda of the president after he or she leaves the office either by death or term limitation? This in my humble opinion is absolutely insane!!!! We cannot build a vibrant democracy on this kind of weak foundation. Remember the story of a house built on sand.

  2. As one who is keen in seeing a total transfomaion of Nigeria polity and a democratic evolution it behoves on me to wade into this messy discuss as to who is quallified to contest the 2011 election in Nigeria.Without doubt every nigerian has the constitutional right to contest election into any political office be it to the office of the presidency or as lower as the office of the councilor of any ward in the nation.However, when there exists a gentlemans agreement withing the present Ruling Party of the PDP we expect those leaders who signed to this agreement to respect and abide to the rule of engagement hitherto agreed to.When such is ignored and basterdised who then can we entrust to our collective Fate?If Goodluck Jonathan believes in luck as his mementos let him rides on with his campaign,how many so called American vice President had won Presidential election in the last few decades? This writer endorsed IBB long before the bandwagon effects,however, he who emerges as the candidate for PDP will earn my prayer to clinch the coveted price to lead us to a total transformation of Nigeria nation.A note of caution to the rulling party;The opposition Party is getting stronger every minute ,so be weary of ' If I dont get it you dont either'.Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.By Dr.Almaroof