Power Rotation Central to Sustainable Peace, Development, Says Ogbowu

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The Director General of Rivers Peace Restoration Agenda, Mr. Elemchukwu Ogbowu, has said that appropriate power rotation and sharing arrangement in the country offers the surest path to sustainable social and economic development in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria.

Ogbowu stated this while playing host to the Zoning and Power Rotation Support Group (ZPRSG), who paid him a courtesy visit as part of the group’s nationwide stakeholder engagements on the need for an equitable power rotation model at all, levels of governance.

While addressing the group, Ogbowu, who was a former member of Rivers State House of Assembly and later Commissioner for Transport and Commerce respectively, observed that in every political community that owes its very existence to the interaction between multiple subcultures, the conditions which promote peaceful cohabitation are the same conditions that guarantee social and economic stability.

He reiterated that the continuing quest for a stable polity is in itself a constant reflection of the reality as well as the inevitability of our diversity.

He stated that, “as a political entity, it therefore behoves on us as stakeholders of this political cooperative to develop and nurture systems and institutions that guarantee the social, economic and political rights and privileges of all groups in this partnership”.

Ogbowu pointed out that all over the world, political power sharing arrangements have become the most potent instrument for achieving mutual trust, political stability and continued coexistence within countries with diverse ethnic nationalities.

He stated that while countries like Ireland and those in the Balkans have crafted ‘remedial’ power sharing compacts emerging from a recent violent political past, others like Lebanon have adopted power sharing and power rotation as a mechanism for moderating existing political contestations.

He added that advanced countries such as New Zealand and Switzerland have adopted ‘preemptive’ power sharing arrangements that has not only ensured political stability, but also outstanding economic prosperity.
According to Ogbowu, “whatever the degree of political stability or economic prosperity of each of these countries, the full institutionalisation and continued observance of these power-sharing arrangements is clearly illustrative of both the attraction and efficacy of a political device that operationalises the fundamental principles of equity and justice in the midst of social, cultural and ethnic plurality.

Given the Nigerian situation, Ogbowu explained that the imperative of an equitable power rotation model among the constituent units is even more evident given the breath of Nigeria’s diversity.

He also predicated the necessity for a credible power rotation model on what he described as “the desperate urgency of our present circumstances”.

The former legislator and member of the Rivers State Executive Council revealed that such considerations informed the establishment of the Rivers Peace Restoration Agenda aimed at attaining social and political inclusiveness across the various demographic communities in the state.

According to him, this is a major step towards rebuilding political harmony and mutual trust among all segments of the Rivers State society. This, according to him, can only be possible by ensuring that every constituent group in the state, irrespective of location, class, creed or ideology is guaranteed equal opportunity in the political administration of Rivers State.

Specifically, he revealed that a key objective of the organisation is to promote a framework for rotating political power among the rivers people based on historical and hence naturally occurring parameters.

According to him, the traditional dichotomy between upland and riverine communities remains the most valid criteria for political negotiation among the people of River State.
He stated that this geopolitical delineation is greatly facilitated by the shared social cultural and economic identity that exists within each community.

Consequently, he observed that such parameter offers the best opportunity for addressing the age long agitation of marginalised constituencies in the state, particularly the riverine people of the state.

In response, the National Coordinator of the Zoning and Power Rotation Support Group, Prince Robinson Emmanuel, commended the Director-General of the Rivers Peace Restoration Agenda for his courage in embarking on power rotation project in the state, even though his own constituency does not stand to benefit from such agitation in the coming political dispensation.

He noted that such display of altruism is uncommon in the present political season when majority of the political elite have consistently placed parochial interest above the common good.

Robinson added however, that such nobility is priceless and crucial for realisation of the desired peace and stability of Rivers State in particular and that of Nigeria in general.
He assured Ogbowu that the Zoning and Power Rotation Support Group is greatly motivated by his commitment and forthrightness. He stated that the Zoning and Power Rotation group is wholly committed to collaborating with likeminded groups who similarly have as their primary objective and ultimate goal, the long term peace, stability and development of Nigeria and its constituent units.

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