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Opinion: What The North Wants in 2023

It is quite strange that we live in a democratic society and only a few of us truly understands what the term “democracy” actually means. Democracy goes way beyond Abraham Lincoln's simplified version of “Government of the People, by the people, and for the people”. Democracy goes deeper to state categorically how the majority should have its way, while the minority should have their say.

While it pains me that we are still at loggerheads about which region should succeed the north in 2023 to the detriment of competence and qualifications, we are also forgetting that we practice democracy.

Recently, I watched the interview granted by the spokesman of the northern elders forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, where he stated his group's position about the calls for power to shift to the south. I am not a keen supporter of the activities of the northern elders forum, but I feel that there are some valid take home points that was made by the group's spokesman.

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Northern elders forum spokesman

Image culled from channels Tv

 What the North really wants in 2023

We live in a multi-ethnic society that was amalgamated into the country we know as Nigeria today. The union of over 500 tribes gave birth to a nation where smaller ethnic groups were merged with much larger ones, (For clarity, the word smaller in this sense refers to population strength).

The northern region of Nigeria holds the largest amount of ethnic groups. Nigeria is a country of over 200 million people, and half of that amount is found in the northern region. Since this is a democratic dispensation, why are there suggestions that the region with the majority population be left out of the race for the presidency? This suggestion is what many northerners don't understand. The northern part of Nigeria is not contributing a large share of resources to the national reserve. But, democracy does not concern itself with who brings in the elephant size share of resources, democracy is more concerned with majority rule.

Image culled from Google

Constituting a government without the proper participation of the Northern region is like not inviting the elephant to a meeting in the animal kingdom. Rotation of power is pertinent for the inclusion of the majority, but the Idea of coercing the majority instead of lobbying them into any form of power arrangement is undemocratic.

Before now, the north have always been consulted or involved in the scheme of affairs of this country. During the build up to the first elections of the first republic 1963 to 1966, politicians like Nnamdi Azikiwe from the eastern region reached out to the north to form a coalition. That coalition created an arrangement that gave the eastern region the presidency, while the northern region retained the position of the prime minister.

Nnamdi Azikiwe swears in Tafawa Balewa as prime minister in 1963

Image culled from Google

Based on that arrangements, all the regions were happy. Why can't such arrangements be replicated in today's political system? When has democracy changed its dictates?

On the other hand, the south is right to demand for a rotational presidency, but it should seek for more diplomatic ways to reach an agreement with the north.

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Government of Hakeem Baba-Ahmed


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