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The One Nigeria Project Building Unity and Creating Sense of Belongings in Diverse Nigeria

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By High Chief Owolabi Salis

We have a big problem to solve as many regions are agitating for secession. The objective of this campaign is to stress the importance of Nigeria staying together as a country within our diversity. We just have to in the interest of the black race. Nigeria as the 7th most populous country in the world needed to be together in the interest of our black brothers distributed across the globe.

I am speaking from experience having lived in the United States (a collation center for races of this world) for over 20 years and travelled to several countries across the planet earth in my study of the relative conditions of blacks in this world. We have no option than to stay together; the hope for the black race in political and socio-economic growth rests here in Nigeria. This campaign is titled: ‘African Action Alliance’ otherwise called Advance Action Alliance which is a One Nigeria Project to promote Nigeria unity and development that will ultimately advance the interests of all Africans across the corners of the world. Africans cannot continue to be slaves and the oppressed.

The situation is so bad in Nigeria now that states are now deporting Nigerians not from their state to their states of origin. This is a development in the North which should not be. Lagos did it before to the Igbo which was an unfortunate event. I am sad to note this. The feds need to intervene against the development and outlaw the deportations. We are all Nigerians.

There will always be discrimination; we just need to put measures in place to minimize it. If we decide we should be broken into the suggested 6 geopolitical zones because the 6 zones are big enough to stand as a country; there will still be agitations in the zones because some ethnic groups will still feel marginalized. Besides, breaking up Nigeria is not good for black race because every race in the world has a major high populated country that speaks for the race. Nigeria represents the high populated country for the black race. This is my findings.

I am a researcher in diversity issues. Many countries in this world have different diverse groups. Nigeria is a diverse country of about 250 ethnic groups. In Nigeria, we have practised parliamentary, military and now presidential systems. A diversity intelligence study of Nigeria shows Nigeria is a country shaped by ethnicity and religion. Many countries that have poorly managed their diversity have fought or are fighting civil wars.

War can be devastating and is nothing to hope for; if you don’t believe this, look at the experience in former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Rwanda, Libya, Syria, Iraq to mention a few. Technically, the wars have begun in Nigeria; the Boko Haram, the Bandits, the Herdsman-Farmers, Islamic State of West Africa, Shiite-Government Crises, the Middle Belt Crises, the new Biafra Agitation, Niger Delta Crises, Amotekun and so on. All these are no jokes to those who are nationalistic of Nigeria. It has been reported that many lives have been lost in Nigeria than any country in the world, even more than countries in declared hostility. Killing of human beings means nothing to so many in Nigeria now.

Why is that? This is a technical war. I was in a seminar about 20 years ago in New York when Nigeria was predicted to go the way of former Yugoslavia, a country that broke up to several pieces. We are probably lucky with the 1967-70 civil war that came early in Nigeria before modern sophistication; war now will be hell but then we need to address the push factors. We are also lucky that Nigeria has been mature in managing challenging crises but many are worried about recent developments. Contrary to the popular belief, Nigeria is well formed and balanced if the diversity is well managed.

For a good system of government, there must be proportional opportunities for all diverse interests within the country.

Diversity can sometimes be a problem for democracy particularly when it forms unequal diversity ratio. For simple example, a country with 2 ethnic groups A and B. A with 60% population and B with 40% and operating a presidential or parliamentary system will create poor balance against the minority 40%. A will always produce the leader because of majority sentiment. In rare cases, B may produce the leader at the mercy of A or if controlling the institution of control. The 40% is zero under the presidential and parliamentary system when it comes to producing the leader based on majority votes. To achieve proportional opportunity, we have to breakdown the diversities into a common factor, say 5 so that: A= 1/5+1/5+1/5 and B= 1/5+1/5. We will now use the common factor (5) for comparison. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many presidential and parliamentary systems.

Currently Nigeria practises the presidential system which has presented a lot of challenges including:

  1. Ethnic, religious and other race based crises including the dreaded Boko Haram, Jos Crisis, IPOB, Niger Delta Crisis among others.

  2. Marginalization and political domination. Those presumed marginalized in the present system are the North East, the Middle Belt, the northern Christians, the southern Muslims, the South South, the South East, and the minorities.

  3. The force and domination of the incumbent in elections and running state affairs. People hardly challenge the incumbent. It is a sycophantic or parasitic system.

  4. Party imposition and impunity depriving competition and the best for the country. Many party leaders care less about Nigeria but their selfish and group interests.

  5. Creating disregard for equity and loss of confidence in the system by the populace and many others.

  6. Inability of Nigerians to live freely without fear in any state of their choice except some few states like Lagos.

  7. Fraud, rigging, rituals, violence and deception. Also, politically induced killings and monetization of votes.

  8. Bad campaigns, unattainable promises and damaging vote negotiations. Candidates being held ransom

  9. Clash of political personalities and rival parties. Too many lawsuits and bribery of electoral umpires. There are many qualified personalities in Nigeria. The present system closed opportunities against them. How do we open opportunities for them?

  10. Excessive political tension and destructive criticism. Leaders are forced to manage crises throughout their tenure rather than concentrate on development issues.

  11. Engaging in human rights abuses and disregard for the less privileged

The parliamentary and the presidential systems are not able to solve the above problems but rather create more. The system we operate now is that the more crises you are able to create and distribute the more political relevance you enjoy. The question is: can we have a novel system that can address all of the above problems at the same time. I mean a peace building system?. Yes.

No country achieves its full potential where certain citizens are treated as second class. Such treatment promotes hate among citizens. There are also crises when it comes to sharing resources; peace may only be achieved when equity is followed.

I am a Nigerian and I want to remain a Nigerian. The expiring generation and the expired generations of Nigerians have enjoyed one Nigeria. The developing and coming generations of Nigerians are also entitled to enjoy one Nigeria and it is our duty as current generation and governments to preserve one Nigeria for them.

We have to stay together because we are stronger together and represent the hope for black race. For us to stay together in peace and with love, we have to reform or restructure to create proportional opportunities for all diverse groups within the country. The system we currently practice does not give hope to the minorities even though they are stakeholders in the Nigeria project. If the minorities can form a solid block, which is unlikely, then Nigeria is balanced. We, however, need a system that will address all the challenges above.

One best solution is to practice a form of democracy called “Equitocracy”, an equity based system that helps to reduce and or eliminate all the above vices at the same time. It is also called “diversity based democracy”. With this system, Nigeria will assume the name Federal Equity Republic of Nigeria or Equity Republic of Nigeria.

The steps involved in the creation of equity republic include:

  1. Conduct an objective country study of the differences or diversities existing among the people in the political entity. This is called diversity intelligence.

  2. Note the weights of the differences or diversities and allocate ratios accordingly for evaluation. This is called diversity ratio allocation creating diversity zones.

  3. Determine the candidates or vote propensities or choices or the number of ratio representatives to be evaluated at every ratio points. Is it one in two options or one in three or one in four et cetera? This is an area for creating political opportunities or wider competition that relaxes or flexes political tension.

  4. Determine the evaluators- either general covering all the people or close using delegates.

  5. Invest or inter/intra vote the ratios in one another linking it to the choices under an objective evaluation to determine which of the ratios is best valued.

There are so many variations of the equity design but I am going to discuss the one based on state diversity because among the past efforts in managing our diversity is the creation of states and geopolitical zones. This campaign is therefore discussing both substantive and procedural issues in strengthening Nigeria diverse groups.

This one will discuss the election of the President or Governor-General, assuming we want to have a separate world identity of calling our president, Governor-General.

We have 36 states in Nigeria. For clear understanding, we are going to make 36 assumptions based on the best three parties that are recognized from the states. The first assumption is to ask Abia State to present to Nigerians three candidates from their State that are competent to rule Nigeria. These candidates from Abia State will be evaluated state by state by the 36 states. Let us take these candidates parties to be A, B and C. The people of Lagos State may prefer C to others (say 30:20:50 in %) while the people of Sokoto State may prefer A (say 60:30:10 in %). In this case, C won the point of Lagos State while A won the point of Sokoto State. Other states’ votes in the federation will also be analyzed in the same manner for the candidates from Abia State. The candidate with the highest states points will be the winner from Abia State. 36 states points will have to be won which may be won as follows: 25:4:7. In this assumption, A wins 25 states, B wins 4 states and C wins 7 states. A is therefore the overall winner from Abia.

In the same manner, other states in the federation will be asked to present three candidates to Nigerians for evaluation and votes. The candidate A from Lagos State may have won as follows: 36:0:0 while the candidate B from Kano State may have won as follows: 0:35:1 and so on for other states.

All the candidates from the states that won with the highest states points will be collated into an Equity Council and the one among them that won with the most states points will be the President or the Governor-General. If there is a tie of highest states points, the one that won with most states points and votes will be the President or the Governor-General. If there is a tie of highest states points and general votes which is highly unlikely, there will be a general election for the tied candidates. All the other winners will be Governors in their respective states and the runner up to the Governor-General or President will be Governor in the affected state. In this case, all Nigerians are involved in the election of the Governors and the Governor-General. This is governed by Equity Rules that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands and among equal equities, the strongest is the law. To be elected as a member of the Equity Council, you have to be a lover of Nigeria or be seen to be so; you have to campaign with clean minds.

The above arrangement can be designed into one ballot paper to make it easy for voting as follows:

States A B C
Abia
Adamawa
Akwa Ibom
Anambra
Bauchi
Bayelsa
Benue
Borno
Cross River
Delta
Ebonyi
Ekiti
Enugu
Gombe
Imo
Jigawa
Kaduna
Kano
Katsina
Kebbi
Kogi
Kwara
Lagos
Nasarawa
Niger
Ogun
Ondo
Osun
Oyo
Plateau
Rivers
Sokoto
Taraba
Yobe
Zamfara

Advantages – How does the equity system address the above problems militating against Nigeria?

  1. The President or Governor-General can emerge from any state and there will be no ethnic tension because all ethnic groups are relevant and participating. Terrorism, banditry, gangsterism, agitations and all other vices that have political undertone will die down automatically.

  2. There will be no marginalization and political domination. As earlier said, all ethnic groups are relevant and participating proportionally. The chances of North West producing the President or Governor General is 7/36, South West is 6/36, North East is 6/36, North Central is 6/36, South South is 6/36 and South East is 5/36. The zones that are hopeless because of marginalization and domination under the presidential system are now hopeful.

  3. There will be no force and or domination of the incumbent in elections because the incumbent is retired to his or her state. Rules may need to be introduced however to empower incumbent to some extent in order to ensure some reasonable submission.

  4. There can never be party imposition and impunity. Political competition will be at its best and the best will start emerging for the country. The system kills selfishness.

  5. Equity and love will be enshrined promoting confidence and trust in the system by the populace.

  6. Nigerians will be able to live freely in any state of their choice because all Nigerians are involved in electing all Governors. Governors are then likely to make policies to promote national unity in their various states.

  7. There will be no need for fraud, rigging, rituals, violence, political deception, politically induced killings and monetization of votes. The system neutralizes all these vices. You have to come to equity with clean hands.

  8. Of course, there will be no need for bad campaigns, unattainable promises and damaging vote negotiations. No candidate can be held ransom. These vices are neutralized.

  9. There is no need for clash of political personalities and rival parties. Lawsuits and bribery of electoral umpires will be reduced if not eliminated. Opportunities are now open for qualified personalities in Nigeria. The present system closed opportunities against them.

  10. There will be no excessive political tension and destructive criticism as present in our presidential system. Leaders will now be focused on advancing the interest of the people rather than on managing crises throughout their tenure as common in our presidential system.

  11. There will be little or no human rights abuses and disregard for the less privileged

  12. There will be political cooperation among Nigerian personalities because you need cooperation to win other states points.

  13. There will be no rigging because to rig, you need assistance from the people of other states and if they give you the assistance, they will be rigging themselves out. All the problems above are eliminated or reduced.

In some states, there are certain ethnic groups that cannot even produce the Governor or local government chairman even though they are stakeholders. The above arrangement can be adopted for the States Governors and the Senate and even refined further to address fully the problems of our diversity. This arrangement technically addressed all the above problems in our political system. Voting can be done through the delegate system or general.

The disadvantage of voting solely on states basis is that it does not eliminate religious sentiments and Nigeria diversity is shaped by ethnic and religious sentiments. My opinion is that if we adopt the states based system, after some time, the religious sentiments will be disbarred in the minds of the people.

However, homogeneous grouping based on the existing six geopolitical zones with reference to religion may try to eliminate religious sentiments.

Geopolitical Zones Code Diversity Ratios

Allocation

Assume Religious

Ratio (M:C)

South West SW 4 50:50
South South SS 4 20:80
South East SE 4 20:80
North West NW 4 85:15
North Central NC 4 55:45
North East NE 4 75:25
Total Diversity Zones 24

Note: The religious ratios are assumptions only. The diversity zones are classified below:

Description of diversity zones Code
South West Muslims 1 SWM1
South West Muslims 2 SWM2
South West Christians 1 SWC1
South West Christians 2 SWC2
South South Muslims 1 SSM1
South South Christians 1 SSC1
South South Christians 2 SSC2
South South Christians 3 SSC3
South East Muslims 1 SEM1
South East Christians 1 SEC1
South East Christians 2 SEC2
South East Christians 3 SEC3
North West Muslims 1 NWM1
North West Muslims 2 NWM2
North West Muslims 3 NWM3
North West Christians 1 NWC1
North Central Muslims 1 NCM1
North Central Muslims 2 NCM2
North Central Christians 1 NCC1
North Central Christians 2 NCC2
North East Muslims 1 NEM1
North East Muslims 2 NEM2
North East Muslims3 NEM3
North East Christians1 NEC1

Note contestants under the codes described above are now of homogeneous characteristics. Next is the design of the ballot paper assuming three political parties.

Parties

Description of diversity zones Code A B C
South West Muslims 1 SWM1
South West Muslims 2 SWM2
South West Christians 1 SWC1
South West Christians 2 SWC2
South South Muslims 1 SSM1
South South Christians 1 SSC1
South South Christians 2 SSC2
South South Christians 3 SSC3
South East Muslims 1 SEM1
South East Christians 1 SEC1
South East Christians 2 SEC2
South East Christians 3 SEC3
North West Muslims 1 NWM1
North West Muslims 2 NWM2
North West Muslims 3 NWM3
North West Christians 1 NWC1
North Central Muslims 1 NCM1
North Central Muslims 2 NCM2
North Central Christians 1 NCC1
North Central Christians 2 NCC2
North East Muslims 1 NEM1
North East Muslims 2 NEM2
North East Muslims3 NEM3
North East Christians1 NEC1

After forming the system, it is advisable to have a Commander-in-Chief, C-in-C, supervisor for some time for the system to gain the people’s confidence. A modified system may also be practiced whereby there is head of government and ceremonial head of state and C-in-C. The head of government may be done through the Equity System while the C-in-C may be done through the general voting. After some time, the two can be merged.

Coalitions for Change.

The writer has identified the following coalitions among others that can make the change for better Nigeria possible under the equity system.

  1. Coalition of present and past heads of state

  2. Coalition of the present and past Governors

  3. Coalition of distinguished members of the National Assembly

  4. Coalition of distinguished members of the State Assemblies

  5. Coalition of the Counselors and the Local Government Chairmen

As commonly said, Nigeria belongs to nobody; it belongs to every Nigerians. Peace be on all.

About the writer – A mini

Name and Education: High Chief Owolabi Salis, B.Sc., M.Sc., FCA., ACIB, LL.B., B.L., NY JD bar.

Nonprofit: Researcher Professor, Equity Union (an international non-for-profit research/development based organization focusing on novel ideas)

Project: African Action Alliance also known as Advance Action Alliance – One Nigeria Project.

Job: Self Employed New York based attorney and Financial Consultant. Top 100 attorneys USA, 2020. Top Attorneys, North East, 2018, 2019, 2020.

Alumni

Ahmadu Bello University

University of Lagos. Distinguished Fellow 50th anniversary.

National Cultural Titles Akinyegun of Owu Kingdom, Ogun Obong Adaha Uyo, Akwa Ibom Ofure of Esanland, Edo

Magayaki Giade, Bauchi Gburugburu Etitti Mgboko Abia Jagun Bashorun of Ibadan Land, Oyo Olori Eyo Agere of Lagos

Apashe Igede Ekiti

Politics

Section Speaker on Democratic Reform in Nigeria, Nigeria meets the world 2007. Aspirant, Lagos Governorship, PDP, 2007, 2010

Aspirant, National Secretary, PDP Candidate, AD, Lagos Governorship, 2019

Contacts

Nigeria: 1 Owolabi Salis Crescent, Oke Alo, Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria. US: 1179 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213. USA

Tel: +19174030566, +2348125119333

Email: nigequity@gmail.com WhatsApp: +19174030566 (Preferred)

Discussion of Diversity Based Democracy – New York, September 25, 2007Present: Ambassador Walter Carrington, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Bolaji Akinyemi, Olisa Agbakoba, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Ambassador Emeka Anyaoku, Former CJN Mohamme Uwais. New York, New York. 2007.

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