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Kila: Rotational Presidency Will Neglect Original Idea Of Democracy, Lead To Generational Apartheid

Professor Kila says a single-term limit might encourage dictatorial tendencies, as leaders would not face the pressure of re-election.

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Professor of Strategy and Development, Anthony Kila, reacting to the proposed bill seeking a single term of six years for the president and state governors as well as rotation of the presidency among the six geopolitical zones in the country, stating that the bill will lead to the neglect of democratic principles such as equal citizenship and meritocracy.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, Kila, while acknowledging the good intentions behind the proposal, however pointed out that it would lead to a generational apartheid.

Drawing parallels to Italy’s unification in 1862, Kila highlighted that the core problem is not just political but systemic, with deep-rooted distrust and fragmentation within the country.

“The problem people are trying to solve is an index of the frailty, the fragmentation of the body of Nigeria. When Italy was formed in 1862, it was said that now we have formed Italy, we have to make Italians. They have created Nigeria in 1914, Nigeria had its independence in 1960 but up till today, we have not been able to create Nigerians. The problem we are trying to resolve is a problem of a system that is frail, fragmented and with no trust. It must be said, that the failure of not being able to form a Nigeria where who rules doesn’t actually matter, where the people of Nigeria actually feel Nigerian, where they can see a president as just somebody doing his or her Job. It is a failure of leadership because from 1960 when independence was created, 25 years of uninterrupted democracy. It is an intention that has no depth and does not take into consideration the original idea of democracy.

“This idea of rotational presidency sounds good because it would mean that no part of Nigeria would dominate. The reason people are thinking that way is because there is a fear that one part of the country will dominate forever. So, they said let us allow each region to have it for once, so that, you are sure. But they are leaving out the essence of democracy which is equality of citizenship. It is kind of generational apartheid and we have to think it through. Our real solution is not this rotational thing. It is not this turn-by-turn mentality that creates a kind of nepotistic, my-own-turn result.it is diversity of interest and ambition. It is decentralization of power so that individuals do not aspire to be the same thing.”

Kila emphasised the importance of accountability in governance, arguing that leaders perform better when they know they will be judged by their achievements in future elections. He warned that a single-term limit could lead to dictatorial behavior, as leaders may feel unrestrained by the absence of a re-election threat.

“Again, I truly get the intention. They are trying to solve a problem but the solutions they are bringing, I am not persuaded by it and above all, it is not the true democratic situation. The reason why people behave well in power is because whilst they are there, they are accountable and they hope to be judged by their achievements the next time around. If somebody gets into power and he knows he or she is not coming back, you risk bringing a dictator or at least someone that knows there is nothing you can do to him or her in terms of policy. If you tell them that they have just one term, they are likely to do as they please.”

Kila further called for a shift towards a society based on merit, fairness, and transparency, He added that Nigeria must embrace its diversity rather than pretending everyone is the same.

“We need to move towards a society that is based on merit, fairness and transparency. This is to see that we start to decide who governs us, the way we decide our doctors and our carpenters. But to do that, we need to build the Nigerian nation and it doesn’t have to be a nation where everybody will pretend to be the same. We need to understand that we are a diverse collective of nations.”

Chioma Kalu

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