Between October 1, 1960, the date of Nigerian independence, and this year, 2019, is about 59 years. In between these years, Nigeria has had 15 Presidents or Heads of Government, both military and civilians, two of who counted twice, Obasanjo and Buhari.
Out of these 15 Presidents that ruled Nigeria since independence, ten of them were from the Northern parts of the country, while the remaining five came from the South.
In these 59 years of independence, the North has been in power for a total of roughly 42 years, while the South had ruled the country for only 17 years.
According to geopolitical distribution of these Presidents, the North West zone is on top with a total of seventeen years and eight months, followed by the South West zone with eleven years and nine months, the North Central zone, nine years, the North East zone, six years, the South South zone, six years, and the South East zone, only six months.
A further breakdown shows that Ogun State had ruled the country for a total of eleven years and nine months (Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan), Niger State, nine years (Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar), Plateau State, nine years (Yakubu Gowon), and Katsina State, close to eight years (Muhammadu Buhari and Umaru Yar’Adua).
The rest were Bayelsa State, six years (Goodluck Jonathan), Bauchi State, six years and two months (Tafawa Balawa), Kano State, four years and eleven months (Murtala Mohammed and Sani Abacha), Sokoto State, four years and three months, (Shehu shagari), and Abia State, six months (Aguiyi Ironsi).
According to available poverty index of the country, the North East and the North West zones, are currently competing over which zone should be the poverty capital of Nigeria. These two zones are where poverty is boldly written on the faces of many people, and where women and children suffer from all sorts of deprivation, malnutrition, and other child and maternal diseases.
It is where thousands of children are out of school. They have even abandoned the Almajiri schools built for them by former President Goodluck Jonathan. They are the zones where cattle is still being reared in the most primitive way, and where infrastructural deficits are at their highest peak.
Ironically, these are the zones that have ruled the country for the longest period in our history, a total of over twenty three years, starting from Tafawa Balewa, to Murtala Mohammed, to Shehu Shagari, to Muhammadu Buhari, to Ibrahim Babangida, to Sani Abacha, to Abdulsalami Abubakar, to Umaru Yar’Adua, and now, to Muhammadu Buhari again.
Now, everybody is clamouring that they want the President to come from their own area. You then ask, what did these Presidents do for their own people to lift them out of poverty? Were they not merely interested in their own children and those around them? Did these Presidents succeed in replacing the mud houses we see everywhere with modern architectural designs, or improving the lots of the almajiris pestering around, begging for alms, etc.?
Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar were Presidents for nine years, what did they do to change the face of Niger State? Buhari and Yar’Adua were Presidents for seven years and eight months, did they succeed in lifting the people of Katsina State out of poverty? You will be ashamed to see the primary school where Buhari claimed to have attended. The worst sickness is not knowing that one is sick.
Obasanjo was President for eight years, not counting the three and half years he served as military Head of State, but did he do anything for the people of Ogun State? Jonathan could not even tar the road leading to his own village.
What of the South East zone? They had only occupied that seat of power for just six months. But are they not far better than these other zones that claimed to have been Presidents for donkey years? So, let no one come to disturb us about their state or zone producing a President.
by Dons Eze