An enigma of equatorial research has been the observed seasonal and longitudinal occurrence patterns of equatorial scintillations (and range-type spread F). We resolve this problem by showing that the seasonal maxima in scintillation activity coincide with the times of year when the solar terminator is most nearly aligned with the geomagnetic flux tubes. That is, occurrence of plasma density irregularities responsible for scintillations is most likely when the integrated E-region Pedersen conductivity is changing most rapidly. Hence the hitherto puzzling seasonal pattern of scintillation activity, at a given longitude, becomes a simple deterministic function of the magnetic declination and geographic latitude of the magnetic dip equator. This demonstrated relationship is consistent with equatorial irregularity generation by the collisional Rayleigh-Taylor instability and irregularity growth enhancement by the current convective and (wind-driven) gradient drift instabilities. Some discrepancies in this relationship, however, have been found in scintillation data obtained at lower radio frequencies (below, say, 300 MHz) that suggest the presence of other irregularity-influencing processes. The role of field-aligned currents, associated with the longitudinal gradient in integrated E-region Pedersen conductivity produced at the solar terminator, in equatorial irregularity generation via the current convective instability has not been discussed previously.