By Chimezie Godfrey
A Coalition for Peace and Justice Advocates (COPJA), after a 3-day dialogue to deliberate on the situations bedeviling the nation, has canvassed that the Presidency of Nigeria should be zoned to the North-East to foster justice, equity and peace in the nation
The group in a communique issued on Wednesday in Abuja and signed by its Chairman and Chief Convener Hon. Yakubu Tsala, explained that all 6 geo-political zones of the country have been represented in the presidency at one point or the other, adding that only the North-East region has been marginalized.
The Justice Advocacy group also lamented over the alarming spate of killings and abductions which it said Nigeria has never witnessed in over a century of its existence as a nation.
The communique reads in part, “We resolved to advocate that the Presidency of Nigeria should be made to go round all the 6 geopolitical zones as a way of ensuring inclusion and national unity.
“It is a known fact that not all these 6 zones have produced the President of this nation. While the southeast has had the late Nnamdi Azikiwe (6 years) and Late General JTU Aguiyi-lronsi (6 months), the south-south has produced Dr Goodluck Jonathan(5 years), the southwest has also had Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (combined eleven years) and Chief Ernest Shonekan (3 months).
“The northwest has had General Murtala Mohammed (6 months), Alhaji Shehu Shagari (4 years), General Sani Abacha (5 years), Late President Umar Musa Yar’adua (3 years) and President Muhammadu Buhari (combined ten years).
“The north central has produced General Yakubu Gowon (9 years), General Ibrahim Babangida (8 years) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (1 year).
“The northeast has however produced a Nigerian President for zero seconds, zero minutes, zero days, zero weeks, zero months and zero years.”
The group further expressed worries as to why the President declined to sign the Electoral Reform Bill in 2019 which it said, will guarantee more credible elections. It therefore urged all stakeholders to come together, adding that it is time to embrace electronic voting and registration.
According to the communique, the massive recruitment of new officers and men into most of the security agencies is long overdue, owing to the inadequacy in policing and protection of lives and properties.
It therefore called on the Federal Government to do the needful on burning issues of restructuring and shun every attempt by haters of national peace to divide the nation.
“We are still doing back and forth on the issue of restructuring and we continue to run a dysfunctional, feeding bottle federation with a unitary police force and with over 68 items on the Exclusive List, including drivers’ licensing, vehicle plate numbering, primary and secondary education etc.
“This is despite the fact that the ruling party had in 2014 listed restructuring – along the line of power devolution and fiscal federalism – as the number one agenda on its manifesto
“Autonomy for state houses of assembly, judiciary and local government will help strengthen our democracy but the federal government cannot continue to hide under the reluctance of state governors to grant that.
“They all must take responsibility for the failure of this structure.
“We hereby use this opportunity to call on the President and Governors to do the needful in this regard,” the communique reads.