Tag Archives: election

Is ‘zoning’ letting Nigerians down?

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.


Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka speaks on Nigeria’s ‘bloody decade’

The Nobel laureate described the past decade in Nigerian politics as ‘bloody’ and criticised the practice of suspected murderers being allowed to stand for election from their jail cell.

The Nobel winner slams Nigerian politics

These inflammatory comments were made last Thursday at the book launch of Microseconds Away From Death – written by former Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State Governor, Mr. Wale Adedayo. Commenting on the violent nature of political proceedings in the country, Soyinka said: “A lot of assassinations and attempted assassinations have gone on. In fact, it has been a bloody decade. Of all these high profile murders, amazingly, none have been solved. It is really amazing. In some cases, suspected murderers are even sprung out of jail and stand elections right from their prison cell and are catapulted straight to some of the most powerful places in the law making houses of this nation.”

One example of criminals being ‘catapulted’ into positions of power is that of Theodore Orji. In 2007,  Orji was in prison on charges of financial fraud, yet managed to get elected as Governor of Abia State –  to takeover from Uzor Kalu, who was serving as governor at the time – and was said to have been the helping hand in Orji’s appointment.

So what do you think – is Soyinka justified in making such comments? What do you think of the circumstances around Theodore Orji’s appointment and his subsequent work in Abia?