The Coalition for Peace and Justice Advocates (COPJA) has called on the political class to ensure the presidency of the country is rotated round the six geo-political zones of the country, rather than narrowing it only to North and South.
Specifically, it called for zoning of the presidency to the North East, saying the zone that is yet to produce a president, in either civilian or military arrangement, is the one who should produce the same in 2023.
The group while stating that it was out to pursue the cause of justice and fairness in the polity as a condition for peace and progress of the country noted that capturing the six geopolitical zones would ensure inclusion and national unity.
According to a communique read by its Chairman, Hon. Yakubu Tsala, COPJA said it summoned all its members to Abuja for a three-day confab to brainstorm on the way forward for the country.
It stated, “It is a known fact that not all these six zones have produced the President of this nation. While the Southeast has had the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (six years) and Late General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi (six 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 hours, zero days, zero weeks, zero months and zero years.”
COPJA further noted that to make matters worse, more than any other zone, the North East had been at the receiving end and is the worst casualty of the challenges facing our dear nation.
It added: “Due to the many years of neglect, the northeast occupies the lowest rung of the country’s socio-economic ladder as poverty, insecurity, unemployment, hunger, power outage and poor Infrastructure are most predominant in that part of the country. With the highest number of IDP Camps and out-of-school children on the continent, reputable global institutions have also declared the northeast as the most unsafe place to live in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Yet, this is the same part of the country that is most strategic to the country’s corporate existence and territorial integrity, sharing borders with a lot of strategic neighbours; same northeast that boasts of veritable water resources, fantastic tourism potential, the most arable land and conducive climate for agriculture, expansive landmass for all manner of economic activities as well as abundant mineral resources and crude oil deposits. What the northeast needs is leadership and quality attention from the federal government.
“Even in the dictionary, justice comes before peace and progress comes after peace. Nigeria will only make progress if it finds peace and that will come only if it does justice… justice to all component parts.”
The group also deliberated on the problems bedeviling the nation, calling on leaders at all levels to shun corruption and nepotism, and do justice to all groups.
COPJA specifically urged leaders at federal and state levels to not only work towards the restructuring of the federation along the line of fiscal federalism and power devolution but to also ensure the independence and efficiency of the state Houses of Assembly, Judiciary and the local government system.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do justice to all component parts of Nigeria in terms of appointments and projects as that is one of the ways the nation can be at peace and remain united.