LAGOS governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akinyegun Owolabi Salis, a lawyer and accountant, in this interview bared his mind on burning national issues, the on-going national conference and how what a model he called equitocraccy can boost national unity and progress. Excerpts:
BY GBENGA OKE
On 15 years of civil rule and whether Democracy Day was worth celebrating giving our insecurity challenges
I think it is worth celebrating because the worst democratic regime is better than any military regime.
Personally, I will score our democracy a little bit low, though you canft compare where we are now with where we were some years ago.
How do you evaluate Nigeriafs democratic structure on ground?
So far, they have done well, they are better than the past. But I have an objection to the presidential system that we practice. In the system we practice now, the more crises you are able to create as a politician, the more recognition you get. That is why Ifm happy with the National Conference. There is need to restructure the system to bring peace. The current system brings ethnic and religious crises, ethnic domination and personality clashes. There are some important personalities in this country right now, if they are fighting, it is like the whole country is fighting, so we need to restructure the system so that those things do not play up.
On the flip side, the confab is a good initiative from Mr. President. Unfortunately, the kind of people there are people that have been infected with the past historical problems and we canft be healed from that. Majority of the people at the confab are over 70, many of them are also above 80 years. They will continuously bring that problem on board. I was expecting people in their fifties and forties. I was expecting that the people at the confab would determine the future and you canft believe it that some people went to the confab and are talking about copying either the British system or the American system of government.
They have not really researched to look at the problems of Nigeria. Nigerians are from diverse groups, that is our problem. What are the structures put in place to address those multiple factors that are militating against good governance in Nigeria? They are not research-oriented. People went there and are talking about parliamentary system, rotational presidency, etc. Are you saying if itfs the turn of the Yoruba people to be the president and you have a good person from the South-East or South-South that person will be automatically excluded?
What is the way forward?
I have a research paper on diversity relations. The whole world is characterised by diversity, every diverse interest group competes for resources and when they are competing, they either take positive initiative to outclass one another or negative initiative to destroy one another.
Nigeria’s diversity is something special and an attempt to manage our diversity is creation of states and the creation of zones. We manage our crises by bringing people with same characters together to compete with people of different characters.
So if you are looking at the state, to manage our diversity, then let us look at the situation where we ask the people of Lagos State to give us two competent candidates to rule Nigeria, then we present these two candidates to all the states in the country. If Lagos votes A, it means Mr. A from Lagos won Lagos point.
In Kano, Kano people may prefer B, that means Mr. B from Lagos won Kano point. They have 36 states to share, so they may end up 31-5 may be B wins 31 against A that wins in 5 states. We also ask Kano people and other states to do the same, with that some will win 36-0, some 32-4, 30-6, etc.
With this method, everybody is voting without considering ethnic consideration because if you are voting in Lagos from Kano, you are voting for Kano candidates, you look at them as Lagosians, you look at ability, you don’t look at whether he is an Hausa man or a Yoruba man.
With this system, every other nationality will have to vote on performance, so whoever wins the highest number of states will become the president. With this system there will be no rigging, you know why?
Because for you to rig, if you are a Kano candidate and you want to rig, definitely they have to assist you from Lagos, Enugu, etc and if they assist you, they are rigging themselves out. But they are not going to assist you and there will be no rigging; there will be cooperation.
If I want to win, I have to go to Kano and be their friend. I will not be speaking violence. That was the system we submitted to the national confab, it is the system I call equitocracy; it is a way of forming Federal Equity Republic of Nigeria, which will reduce ethnic political domination.