Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here's An African Solution For The Usual African Problems

This weekend elections were being held in Nigeria while at the same time, the presumed loser in Cote D'Ivoire's recent elections,Laurent Gbagbo, was holed up in his bunker and unwilling to cede power to his adversary, Alassane Ouattara. We all know one thing: Nigerian elections tend to be marred by fraud and incompetence on a grand scale, and yet the loser never fights on to the bitter end, taking up military action as he defends his turf. Why this total contrast between Nigeria and other African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe & now Cote D'Ivoire.

Well, in a nutshell: the regional rotation of Presidential-power can explain the total contrasts between post-election scenarios in Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire. The Nigerian political elite made a tidy agreement amongst themselves: in one electoral-cycle, Presidential powers will reside in one region, and then in the next electoral-cycle, Presidential power will be rotated to another region. Brilliant! Another important note: implicit in this "tidy political arrangement" is the notion of term-limits. Since different regions are all waiting for "their turn" to rule, you cannot have a situation where one politician rules for over twenty-five years or more, as is the case in Cameroon, Zimbabwe or Uganda.,

This Nigerian solution to a potentially murky Nigerian problem should be adopted by all other African States with sharp ethnic or regional divisions. Furthermore the Nigerian practice of teaming running mates from different regions must also be encouraged. In the tragic case of Cote D'Ivoire, having Guillaume Soro and Alassane Ouattara (two Muslim Northerners) as President and Prime Minister designates, was an error of Biblical proportions. Alassane Ouattara should have sought out a heavyweight politician from the South as his Prime Minister-designate.

In Nigeria's previous election, the Northern, Fulani aristocrat, Musa Yar'Adua teamed up with the zoologist from the Delta region, Goodluck Jonathan; as unlikely a combination if ever there was one, and yet they prevailed in the elections. And when President Yar'Adua passed away, the ascension of Goodluck Jonathan allowed the South-South region of Nigeria to have it's first go at the Presidency. Brilliant!

So, there it is my fellow Africans: An African solution staring at us in the face. It was not bequeathed to us by the old, British colonialists but instead was cooked up by bloody-minded members of the Nigerian political elite. It's adoption will prevent much of the African carnage that we see on our television screens.

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