Time For The Cross River Voters To Zone Power To Who They Find Competent BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, Opinion, Politics

In your late twenties and thirties, you rose majestically to power in our State. Our State holds the record of having had the youngest of almost every public office at all levels in the country including notable ones like, youngest Senator ever in Nigeria (Senator Liyel Imoke @30). Youngest elected Governor ever in Nigeria (Donald Duke @36).

That generation of leaders cannot in all honesty claim that it was exceptional intelligence or leadership qualities that thrusted leadership on them. It is not debatable that they were intelligent, but it was rather a combination of opportunity and timing. The question of whether the vision of the numerous young leaders who have occupied positions in our State was able to unshackle the State from the under development that has lingered since it was a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and translated it to the paradise it is called, can be measured from our pitiable position on the development index in Nigeria. How far have we progressed since the past 23 years in the Committee of 36 States?

Any attempt to disaggregate or prorate this failure to progress, among the leadership interregnums in the State, without recognizing that the ruling class in the State has not fundamentally changed within the period and is in cahoots, is akin to playing the ostrich.

What is even more perturbing and my bone of contention is that, even the basic tenets of democracy weren’t developed within the period. Rather than grow and deepen democracy as a route to good governance, the obnoxious culture of transferring power from the ballot box to political demi-gods was entrenched. They seized the power to elect leaders from the voters and gave it to some individuals in their cocoons. And that’s how we have evolved up till the current disaster.

They ruined the concept of one man one vote and stalled the growth of the government of the people, by the people and for the people. They called it zoning to attain peace and equity. A practice where a few entitled people sit in their mansions and decide who becomes our leader, long before we cast our votes. But actually, what they refer to as peace and equity is simply reserved amongst themselves, the ruling class. Because there is neither peace nor equity in Cross River among the ordinary people. But like slaves in love with their chains, the same ordinary people, veiled by the cloak of ignorance and misinformation, continue to sing zoning. Defending a system that has not brought any yield for the ordinary people since it’s application. And so it is that people who became leaders all in their twenties and thirties and now in their sixties and seventies, still wanting to sit in their cozy mansions, most of them built with our stolen money, to “zone” who the rest of us in our thirties and forties and fifties should vote for. And we cannot continue to tolerate the same path that has kept us here.

It is now time for the voters in Cross River to zone power to who they find competent. It is the right of the voters to do so. That is how democracy grows. Democracy doesn’t grow by perpetually looking for short-cuts to make-up because you can’t or don’t want to do the right thing. It grows by following democratic steps and making mistakes and learning from those mistakes going forward. Democracy doesn’t grow by fear that, if we do the right thing, there will be trouble, so we have to look for a stop-gap measure and apply so we can continue to manage together.

No! It doesn’t work that way.

If you want to lead us, leave the zone you come from first. Answer how will you lead us and to where?

Yours sincerely.

Citizen Agba Jalingo, Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, is a Cross Riverian and writes in from Lagos.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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