The dust raised by the statement by Mallam Mamman Daura, that competence and not zoning or rotation should determine who succeeds his nephew, President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, has continued to rise, with the ruling All Progressives Congress distancing itself from it.
Also, Afenifere and Ohanaeze Indigbo have criticized the call for an end to zoning.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from a statement credited to one its chieftains, Also on Wednesday, opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) carpeted Daura for advocating the jettisoning of zoning and rotation principles.
Daura, one of the powers behind President Buhari, said in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Tuesday that the presidency “should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere”.
Having done this rotation “turn-by-turn,” he said Nigeria should now jettison rotation and settle for competence in selecting the next president.
However, the ruling APC, speaking through its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, has said Daura’s comments do not represent the party’s position. “That is not our position but a personal opinion by an individual who happens to be a member of our party,” he said.
“The issue of 2023 is yet to be discussed at any level. We are presently concerned with building a formidable political party that will continue to give leadership to the country and take it to the next level.”
“APC is preoccupied now with the business of reconciliation and unity. 2023 is still far and we are sure that when we get to the river, we shall surely know how to cross it.”
The opposition PDP has also condemned Daura’s comment, insisting that as a political party, it “appreciates zoning.”
“We shall come up with our zoning formula which will define where the national chairman will come from and where our presidential candidate will come from,” PDP’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary Diran Odeyemi said.
Odeyemi described Daura’s comment as “personal opinion” that has no binding force on the PDP.
Daura’s comments have also drawn the ire of the Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group. Daura should have called for the end of zoning in 2015, when Buhari became President, according to Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere’s spokesman.
Afenifere has been vocal in its call for restructuring in Nigeria for equity and fairness, and says even now that throwing away zoning without restoring true federalism will not work.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo and also castigated Daura for the comment and reminded him that Buhari was a product of power rotation.
Ohanaeze maintained that based on the principle of power rotation, it is the turn of the South, particularly the Southeast geo-political zone to produce the next president. It warned that that equity should not be sacrificed on the altar of parochialism since it was the rotation sentiment that produced the President.
“All we know is that it is the turn of the South where we have abundant competent individuals who can steer the ship of this country, particularly among Ndigbo,” Ohanaeze said through Chief Emeka Attamah, the media aide to its President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo.
The group reminded Daura of the gang-up that culminated in Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat as president. “Now that it is the turn of the South, they don’t see it in that context anymore,” Attamah said.
“The statement by Mamman Daura is, to say the least, self-serving. He should’ve said this before the 2019 elections. They ganged up to push President Jonathan aside because they believed it was the turn of the North to produce the President.
“Having benefited enormously from Buhari being the President, he now wants it (rotation principle) jettisoned because it is the turn of the South.
Ohanaeze declared that Buhari did not emerge president in 2015 because he was the most competent in the country.
“Talking about competence or the most qualified, was President Buhari the most qualified Nigerian when he ascended the Presidency?
“Has he proved to be the most competent? Are the service chiefs the most competent among their colleagues to warrant their being retained beyond their tenure?
“Obviously, no, because occurrences in the country since he became President and Commander-in-Chief have proved him to be incompetent.
“Now that it is the turn of the South, precisely the South-East, he is mouthing the most qualified and competent. Equity is a constant flagship for peace and good governance. Without it, there will be continued agitation and crisis.”
“Equity is a constant flagship for peace and good governance. Without it, there will be continued agitation and crisis.
“At his age, Mamman Daura should stand for equity and fairness. His latest stance goes against the grain of the nation’s Constitution which enshrines equality for all people and sections of the country.”