PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari his distanced himself from the views of his nephew Mallam Mamman Daura who recently stated that the principle of zoning should be abandoned when it comes to electing a Nigerian president.
Last week, Mallam Daura, a relative of the president who works in State House, said he was not in favour of the rotational presidency principle, hinting that he would fancy another candidate of northern extraction taking over from President Buhari when his tenure ends in 2023. Given how close Mr Daura is with the president, it was assumed that his views echoed those of the presidency.
In a swift repudiation of this stance, however, President Buhari’s spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu, said the views echoed by Mr Daura do not represent the position of President Buhari or that of his administration. He added that Mallam Daura, who is regarded as the most influential personality in the Buhari inner circle, has the capacity to express his own views on national matters.
Mallam Shehu said: “We have received numerous requests for comments on the interview granted by Mallam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew to the BBC Hausa Service. 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.
“At age 80, and having served as editor and managing director of one of this country’s most influential newspapers, the New Nigerian, certainly, Mallam 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.
“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. The issues discussed during the interview centred 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.”
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from one of the three geo-political zones in southern Nigeria.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo and the south-south President Goodluck Jonathan, so come 2023, the presidency should automatically go to the southeast. Of late, certain politicians from northern Nigeria have threatened to tear up the gentleman’s agreement come 2023, saying another Fulani candidate should take over from President Buhari, giving rise to suspicion that Mallam Daura’s statement was an official one.