EMI LO KAN

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“The quota system, principally, is not an unjust system. And it does not confer advantage on the north against the south…..Quotaism became a principle in Nigeria in 1958, essentially, as a response to fears of marginalisation and ethnic domination in education and government….. The Federal character principle as well was devised – and it became a constitutional provision in 1979 – to manage Nigeria’s diverse character, so that no section of the country will lord it over others or become overwhelmingly dominant in the public service. It was designed to ensure inclusive and equitable demographic/ethnic representation at all levels of government. It was for socio-political balancing”

Fredrick Nwabufo. TheCable, August 5, 2021.

Many of us arrogantly and ignorantly scorned the practice of quota system because we always felt that it gave our Northern brethren advantage. In principle and reality it doesn’t. It’s a beautiful idea and system. Countries like Britain, the USA, France and others practice it.

Quota system ensures that survival is not by the fittest. It is a magnanimous system that gives the weaker ones a chance to also thrive, it ensures equity and fairness by gifting the less advantaged opportunity where the more advantaged could dominate.

If employment and appointments in government offices and other areas were to be left for contest, everyone knows the regions and tribes that will dominate. So it’s a good thing that quota system ensures adequate representation of others.

Now, here’s my problem with Nigeria, we don’t follow things to a logical conclusion. We get picky and selective where we should be thorough. Applying the principle of quota system, an Igbo man or South easterner should be the next president of Nigeria in 2023.

The igbos are disadvantaged politically in Nigeria today. The reasons are obvious: a fall out of the civil war and subsequent military dictatorships. The Northern region had the lion share of military rule. Since the return of democracy, South West has enjoyed 8 long years of the presidency, another 8 of vice presidency. The North had 2 years under late Yar’Adua(may his soul rest in perfect peace) and is about completing 8 years under Buhari to total 10.

By quota system and equity, the presidency ought to return to the South. In the South, both the South West and South South have tasted both presidency and vice, it’s right and just that South east should produce the next president.

If we could constitutionally lower the cut off mark for a student in the North to get admission in our unity schools so that the ones from South east or west do not dominate, let’s do same for the Igbo or South east presidency in 2023. This is what equity and honesty about our quota system demand.

The south east is politically disadvantaged, it should enjoy the windfalls of quota system as our brethren from the North enjoy in education and every region enjoys through federal character.

By the principle of Quotaism and fairness, power cannot go back to the North, so PDP is not an option. The south east has been a blind lover of PDP all these years. To safeguard Nigeria’s quota system and equity, the PDP should endorse Peter Obi of the Labour party. Fortunately he has National spread and appeal. PDP should Atikulate Obediently and Yusefully. It is the right thing to do from the point of view of loyalty, quota system and equity.

The political class in the South East must get their acts together and pursue this course. They can’t sit in the fence, they should stop being cowards vacillating all the time. They should unequivocally stand for One Nigeria or with the separatists.

This is the path the south east must toe. Go to the North, the South West and South South and begin the negotiations and appeal. The quota system backs the claim and there is a competent candidate whose movement is sweeping across the country. Go and make alliances and give other regions assurances that they need to hear for their support.

The real emilokan by constitutional provision is the South East or Igbos for the 2023 presidency. It’s a magnanimous gesture from other regions that the elites in South east should get off their hubris, naivety and timidity to pursue. What is good for the geese is cheese for all and not some.

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Rev. Fr. Oluoma
Rev. Fr. Oluoma
Rev. Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria. He is an anointed Preacher, Teacher, Counselor and Musician.

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