The Nigerian presidency has said that the views expressed recently by a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari that zoning should be abrogated in the choice of the next president, is his personal opinion.
Mamman Daura, who is regarded as one of those who influence Buhari, recently said in an interview on the Hausa Service of the BBC that the practice of rotating the presidency among the country’s geopolitical zones, should be replaced by consideration on competence.
“We have received numerous requests for comments on the interview granted by Malam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew to the BBC Hausa Service,” Garuba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, tweeted late Saturday.
Daura said that since Nigeria has practized rotational presidency thrice since the return to civil rule in 1999, time had come for a return to emphasis on competence, no matter where the person comes from.
“It is important that we state from the onset that as mentioned by the interviewee, the views expressed were personal to him and did not, in any way, reflect that of either the President or his administration,” the President’s aide said.
“At age 80, and having served as editor and managing director of one of this country’s most influential newspapers, the New Nigerian, certainly, Malam Mamman qualifies as an elder statesman with a national duty to hold perspectives and disseminate them as guaranteed under our constitution and laws of the land. He does not need the permission or clearance of anyone to exercise this right,” Shehu wrote.
According to Shehu, the issues discussed during the interview, centered around themes on how the country could birth an appropriate process of political dialogue leading to an evaluation, assessment and a democratic outcome that would serve the best interest of the average Nigerian irrespective of where they come from.”
“These issues remain at the heart of our evolving and young democracy, and as a veteran journalist, scholar, and statesman, Malam Mamman has seen enough to add his voice to those of many other participants,” Shehu said.
Shehu explained that in an attempt to circulate the content of the interview to a wider audience, the English translation clearly did no justice to the interview, which was granted in Hausa, and as a result, the context was mixed up and new meanings were introduced and/or not properly articulated.
Criticisms to Daura’s comments have come from various socio-cultural organisations representing different regions of the country, including the Afenifere from the South West, Ohanaeze Ndigbo from the South East, and others.