The presidency has acquitted itself from a statement by Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was said to have opined that competence rather than geography should determine who becomes the president of Nigeria in 2023. Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement titled, “Malam Mamman’s Views Are His Own, and He Has Said So,” made it clear that the presidency had since the expression of those views been inundated with requests for a presidential reaction.
In line with the requests, Shehu, therefore, said the opinion of Daura was solely his and did not in any way reflect the position of the president or his administration.
“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,” Shehu said in the statement.
The presidential spokesperson, who emphasized that Daura’s interview was granted in Hausa language, alleged that its original content was thwarted in the course of transcription. He explained that the interview bordered on how the country could evolve an ideal process of political dialogue that could be more beneficial to average Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.
Mr. Daura, 81, reputed to be the head of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, made the said remark in an interview with BBC Hausa Service, saying since Nigeria had tried rotational presidency thrice, it should henceforth go to the most qualified candidate.
The interview triggered a fresh debate on the controversial issue of zoning and rotation of presidential power in Nigeria.
Daura was heavily criticized by many individuals and groups, who accused him of flying a northern kite ahead of the 2023 presidential poll.