Associate professor of Inter-group Relations in University of Abuja, Dr Philip Afaha, has picked holes in the micro zoning of political offices across Nigeria. He observed that the trend could be antithetical to democracy and cannot enhance development but reduce the radius of search for competent leadership to insignificance.
Afaha, who is the head, Department of History and Diplomatic Studies in the university, stated this while defending moral and intellectual capacity over illiteracy and micro zoning in Akwa Ibom State.
He declared that, “it was time to call the bluff of the opportunists and insist on leadership as a responsibility for the best hands if the state must consolidate on the sterling achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
The university don, who was House of Representatives candidate in the 2007 elections, maintained that the concept of zoning is either deliberately misrepresented or misunderstood by politicians and as such may hurt democracy in Nigeria if not checked. He noted that those who birthed the zoning principle in 1998 had reasoned that the president of the country should be rotated between north and south while the governorship positions among the senatorial districts in each state.
“Why are the politicians trying to corrupt the principle for parochial interests?” he queried.
Afaha’s comments came on the hills of similar admonition by top politicians including Senator Effiong Bob calling on the leadership to focus on recruiting literate and competent hands as councillors and chairmen of councils so as to drive the development of the rural areas positively. He described the strident calls as “a newfound realignment of powerful forces towards moral and intellectual capital of political office seekers.”
The don added that, “Effiong Bob has been at the forefront in supporting Gov Emmanuel in calling for the liberation of the politics of Akwa Ibom State from the clutches of pedestrianism. Micro zoning will but reduce the radius of search for competent leadership to insignificance.
“From Governor Udom Emmanuel, Idongesit Nkanga, Effiong Bob and Chris Ekpenyong, there appears to be a consensus among elders to clean up Akwa Ibom politics,” he stated.
He reiterated that the criteria of moral and intellectual capacity should form the basis of choosing leaders in the state and across the Nigerian political landscape especially at the rural level. While condemning those who protested against the move for cult-free and merit-based politics in the state, he said “expectedly, those who benefitted from the misnomer that has become the politics in Akwa Ibom State will blackmail and insult these elders for choosing to sanitise the turf. Those who feel threatened by the new reasoning will attempt to deploy every form of subterfuges to mislead the masses and misrepresent the zoning principle,” Afaha posited.
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