Zoning of Public Offices, Liberal Democracy and Economic Development in Nigeria

Christian Ezeibe, Ifeanyi Abada, Martin Okeke


In the face of extreme political distrust among the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, this paper examines the implications of zoning public offices for liberal democracy and economic development. Data was sourced from interview of elder statesmen sampled from the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, secondary documents and direct observation. The paper argues that the zoning principle is elitist. Hence, the abandonment of principle is anti-elitist and the political elites whose economic survival depends on the zoning arrangement will always rise to defend it. Frequently, the elites employ hate speech, blackmail and violence to defend zoning which has proved to be the easiest means to power and wealth in Africa. The then dominant political party in Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party, used the zoning principle to reduce political, religious and ethnic tension from 1999 to 2015. The distortion of the zoning principle in 2010 after the death of President Yar’Adua led to a political chain reaction mostly expressed by loss of the presidential election by the ruling party in 2015. The then opposition party which is in charge of the new government has abandoned the zoning principle and disproportionally appointed Northerners into major public offices in Nigeria. Different ethnic groups based in the South-East and South-South have renewed calls for disintegration of Nigeria. This paper recommends that the new government should maintain the zoning principle among the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria to promote national stability and guarantee economic development.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n3s1p328

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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