23

Mar

COLLEGIATE PRESIDENCY AND NATIONAL HARMONY 01102012

2012-10-01

COLLEGIATE PRESIDENCY AND NATIONAL HARMONY

BY: LES LEBA 


Our political godfathers in their wisdom have attempted to bring some sanity to the acrimony, insecurity and instability generated by the struggle for the lucrative centre with the concept of rotating the presidency along North and South axis or more loosely, amongst the generally accepted six geopolitical zones.  However, the constitutional provision for a maximum of 2 – 4 years terms could mean that each geopolitical zone would produce a president every 48 years (assuming each president controls the treasury for eight years).  This also implies that all other eminently gifted, qualified and socially committed presidential materials from all other zones would be wasted in every 48 years cycle with little chance that the best available candidate at any point in time would be the one from the geopolitical region in line for the Presidency!  

In the above political dilemma, particularly where the plunder of resources takes precedence over service and wealth creation, Nigerians become victims of the greed of a parasitic political class – invariably championed by autocratic leadership in the last four decades.  Indeed, the greatest threat to our contrived democracy is dictatorship!  If we want sustainable peace and stability in this country, our constitution should ensure that the best available presidential materials from each geopolitical zone at any one time have unfettered access to contest for and become President.  Our constitution should also ensure that no one person controls power long enough to become as formidable as to successfully engineer term elongation and perpetuate a dictatorship!

So, how do we tackle these pitfalls?  Some eminent Nigerians have rightly argued that the first requirement for a sustainable stable, just and egalitarian nation should be the adoption of a truly federal constitution where the centre devolves more of its powers to the states/regions as the engines of growth, so that the states/regions will freely exploit their internal human and material resources and pay appropriate dues to the central government.  Such a structure would motivate each region to look inwards and develop its own God-given human/material resources to the best of their ability, rather than wait for monthly handouts from Abuja.  These regions will consequently create additional wealth with attendant improvement in social welfare and security.

Additionally, we may also consider the adoption of a six-year collegiate presidency to douse the tension and attrition created by the usual battles to install a one-man power centered presidency, and the incessant clamour and grandstanding by each geopolitical group for their turn each time an incumbent’s tenure expires.  Under this arrangement, each political party would field a team comprising six candidates selected from each of the six geopolitical zones for the post of president for six-year term in office.  Each member of the victorious party’s collegiate will serve as president for only one year while the other five members of the collegiate would serve as vice presidents with direct oversight responsibilities for a discrete set of ministries and/or parastals.  The five vice presidents would also be rotated annually from one set of ministries to the other, so that in a six-year term, each member of the collegiate would have served for one year in every segment of federal administration with also one year as president.

Such structure will be more cost-effective and also make it impossible for one person to consolidate hold on the seat of power or remain long enough to eventually constitute a dictatorship!  Furthermore, the abiding intense desire of geopolitical groups to see their own person in the top seat would be realized as each region would perpetually have a member in the collegiate presidency.  Nigerians would also be able to enjoy the benefits of the contribution of an eminently qualified ‘PAN-Nigeria’ presidential star team, jointly faithfully pursuing its party’s manifesto in place of the possibility of a manipulative personal agenda.  

At states and local governments levels, the same collegiate system of administration comprising ethnic nationalities can also be put in place to ensure cohesion and harmoniously carry along the majority of the communities in each state.  However, very cogent arguments can also be made for the abolition of the enormously wasteful and unviable 36 states structure with its huge operational costs supporting little or no contribution to the well-being of citizens, yet providing ample opportunities for more political adventurers to line their pockets; besides, legislators’ emoluments and allowances would be constitutionally pegged at par with a level not higher than that of a permanent secretary in the federal and state/regional government respectively.   

The choice is ours to make; do we want to live in apprehension and wallow in inequity, ethnic and political attrition within our body polity or do we truly want to break the chains of our bondage and release our true potential as a great nation?

SAVE THE NAIRA, SAVE NIGERIANS!