Yesterday, three new presidents were sworn in to rule Bosnia for the next four years. The Bosnia style of presidential system is ostensibly to counter extreme tribalism and ethnic divide.

The three men will rotate seat every eight months under the complex peace deal that ended Bosnia’s 1990s war and split power between its three main groups: Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks), Serbs and Croats.

It is a directly elected tripartite Presidency, which is in charge of foreign, diplomatic and military affairs, and the budget of state-level institutions.

The three men took their oaths inside Sarajevo’s Presidency building before several country’s ambassadors and politicians.

Serb leader Milorad Dodik will be the first to take the helm of the government. The other two co-presidents are Bosnian Muslim president Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat president Zeljko Komsic.

Bosnians went to the polls in October to choose their presidents in a sign of how tribalism continues to shape politics more than two decades after the war.

While the Dayton Peace Accords that designed Bosnia’s power-sharing arrangement ended a devastating war, critics say the system has entrenched communal divisions and hampered effective governance.

However, many Bosnians say it gives everyone a sense of belonging, participation and inclusiveness.

Nigeria’s political system and choice of civilian head of state depend on a Federal character that recognises a sharing formula between north and south. The political reality though is that in the north, we have north-west, north-east and north-central while there is south-west, south-east and south-south in the southern part.

The ethnic and tribal realities are different configurations and this makes people grumble that their turn may never come to rule. The south-south minority always feel unfairly treated by the majority north, West and east which comprise the three main ethnic groups of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, although the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan is from South-south.

Will it be possible to have three co-presidents or six co-presidents where each one will rule for eight or six months and rotate in Nigeria? Will such a system give the diverse peoples the sense of belonging? Will quality of leadership be maintained? Or is this a panacea for more confusion and split in an already suspicious environment?

According to Article V of the constitution of Bosnia Herzegovina, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of three members: one Bosniak, one Croat and one Serb. Together, they serve one four-year term.

There are those who believe that Bosnia-Herzegovina is the world’s most complicated system of government. The country has its own economic and social issues, corrupt, politicians,  high unemployment rate etc.

The employment rate is reported at below 40%, and two-thirds of the youth is jobless. Meanwhile, the salary of lawmakers is six times the country’s average wage, making legislators among Europe’s wealthiest. But isn’t that just like Nigeria’s story?

My friends argue that it will be a miracle to get the Igbos to choose someone to represent them as co-president. When it comes to the north, it may be then you will know there’s a difference between north central, north east and north west. The west will then to decide who among them are the real sons of Oduduwa.

The 350-plus tribes in Nigeria have lived together since the 1914 amalgamation. Over 100 years of this British contraption and almost 60 years of nationhood should count for something, right?

How do we get it right? When? How soon?



  1. The experiment was tried in the 1st Republic where an Hause was Prime Minister an Ibo man the President. It was stopped because it still did not stop the agitation of marginalization.

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