Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Editorial: Is This The Death Of Nigeria's Monolithic North?

Northern Nigeria is made up of North-Eastern, North-Western and North-Central. The three zones have more political constituencies than the South, comprising the South-East, South-West and South-South. Northern Nigeria despite its multiple ethnic nationality composition is known to be monolithic. This, analysts posit is due to the influence of Islam, the predominant religion in the zone.

Since 1960 when Nigeria gained independence, the North have dominated the political landscape, thus, the zone formed the first government at independence.

Even the military era, with the exception of the brief era of late general Agui-Ironsi and that of general Olusegun Obasanjo, both Southerners, was dominated by the North.

Reprieve came the way of the South in 1999 when in the aftermath of the protests that marked the annulment the 1993 presidential election believed to have been won by Chief Mossod Abiola, a Southerner, the North conceded the Presidency to the South, but was quick to install Obasanjo, who was then its stooge.

On completion of Obasanjo's second term tenure in 2007, the North took back the Presidency through the late Umaru Yar'Adua.

The death of Yar'Adua in 2010 while in office placed the Presidency in the hands of his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw from Bayelsa state in the South-South.

Inspite of the ascendance of Jonathan to the number one position, the North insisted that it would complete Yar'Adua's remaining tenure which it said would end in 2015, it evoked the zoning policy of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP).

When it became clear that President Jonathan would seek to be PDP's Presidential candidate for the 2011 election, a group of northern politicians under the auspices of Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF), organized and presented former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar as the North's consensus candidate for the PDP 2011 Presidential primary election.

It was expected that northern delegates would vote for the consensus candidate, going by the monolithic nature of northern politics. This would have placed Abubakar ahead of Jonathan.

It was however, a huge surprise when the result was announced and Goodluck Jonathan defeated Atiku Abubakar by a wide margin even in most of the northern states. The result of the primary election which observers dubbed free and fair and very transparent is an apparent disregard of the instuction of the NPLF, a thing that would have been unthinkable in the past.

At this juncture, chidi opara reports would like to ask if this is the death of Nigeria's monolithic North.

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