Zoning: Presidency joins others, Disowns Mamman Daura

Zoning: Presidency joins others, Disowns Mamman Daura

Comments by Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari and a former Director General of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) on zoning of the position of President among the zones of Nigeria, have been disowned by the Presidency which described them as his personal opinion and not that of the President. The presidency’s

Comments by Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari and a former Director General of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) on zoning of the position of President among the zones of Nigeria, have been disowned by the Presidency which described them as his personal opinion and not that of the President.

The presidency’s clarification was in reaction to widespread controversy that followed Daura’s submission last week that the post of Nigerian president should not be attained on rotational basis but predicated on competence.

The statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President reads: “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.

“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, 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.

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 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.”

His comments had earlier been upbraided by different individuals and groups from across Nigeria. Many analysts describe it as an attempt to change the rules of the game to permanently benefit the North.

Chief Edwin Clark, former Commissioner for Information and a south south leader, in a statement titled, “Who is Mamman Daura fooling”, said: “I listened to the various comments by the electronic media, I have known Mamman Daura for very many years; when he was Deputy Editor of the New Nigeria Newspaper when his friend, the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma was Editor. Mamman Daura has never held any notable political appointment to qualify him to be a political adviser to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari on the affairs of Nigeria.

“MammanDaura as nephew to Mr.President has every right to speak on their family matters because he is part of Muhammadu Buhari’s family. But he has no experience or qualification to give directives on Nigeria’s governmental affairs.

“The qualities of capability, competence, intelligence and transparent leaders, and availability of such, are not only either in the North or in the South, neither is it the prerogative of one group or area.

“In fact, citizens with such qualities exist in each of the six geopolitical zones. In terms of size, each of the six zones is as large enough; in fact, each zone in the country is even larger and more populated than some African Countries.

“The matter of zoning was sufficiently discussed at the 2014 National Constitutional Conference which was attended by over 490 Delegates, representing various aspects of the Nigerian public, including professional bodies, Trade Unions, Market Women, the physically challenged and the Youths. And the essence was to give a sense of belonging to all.

“The Conference lasted for about four months and all decisions taken, where unanimous. The late JusticeIdrisKutigi, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, was the Chairman of the Conference and his Deputy was Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, former Foreign Affairs Minister. Mrs Valerie Azinge, (SAN), was the Secretary and one of her assistants at the Conference is the present Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

“Six Hundred recommendations were made by the Conference, and submitted to Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the then President and Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who set up the National Conference.

“The first set of recommendations was purely meant for Mr President and his Executive to implement, which he did not do until he left Office.

“The second set was for the President to submit to the National Assembly for implementation, while the third recommendation was purely a draft Constitution for Nigeria, which is meant to be considered, amended and approved by the National Assembly, and then finally to be submitted for a National referendum.

“This could have given to us a well restructured Nigeria, with full devolution of power from the centre to the other federating units. Nigeria is made up of over 250 ethnic nationalities and many regional bodies.

The Afenifere group, Yoruba socio-cultural group, in rejecting Daura’s position said the country must continue with the common understanding of power rotation between the North and the South.

The spokesman of the group, Yinka Odumakin, said the South was not unmindful of the fact that the North would want to have a shot again at the presidency after Buhari. The South envisages many candidates to indicate interest in the presidency in 2023 but the country must stand firm and respect the zoning agreement.

“They (Northern candidates) would come out definitely but it is now left for the country to say whether they want to accept the move or they should insist on the common understanding that power should rotate between north and south.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has also condemned the call by President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, that zoning of Presidency should be jettisoned for competence.

The group, in a reaction, insisted that it is the turn of the South, particularly the Southeast, to produce the president in 2023.
The organization warned that equity should not be sacrificed on the altar of parochialism since it was the rotation sentiment that produced the present incumbent.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun

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