A recent piece in the Economist highlights the system of zoning, that Nigeria employs to alternate power between the north and south of the country. In the Economist’s words: “Candidates are picked alternatively from north and south behind closed doors and presented to voters in rigged polls.”
I have to agree with the message of the piece, which is essentially saying that zoning does not work. In a country of approximately 150 million people, they need a government that consists of the best people for the job – through merit rather than where they come from.
Since independence 50 years ago, Nigeria has not achieved its full potential as ‘the giant of Africa’. Public services across the nation are all but non-existent, corruption is rife and democracy, in the true meaning of the word, is not being practiced.
Another extract: “The zoning system…tends to produce poor leaders. Only the well-connected get to the front of the queue. Usually they are incompetent,too,since the regional barons who anoint them like weak figures who will not challenge the status quo.”
Food for thought – What do you think? Is zoning an out-dated idea that produces poor leaders, or is it still the best way to deal with ethnic tensions within Nigeria? Comments below.