The Presidency has reacted to the call by President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, that zoning of the Presidency should be jettisoned for competence.
Mr Daura, an influential and controversial figure in the Presidency, made his position known last week in an interview with the BBC Hausa, triggering widespread condemnation.
He said the zoning formula which had been adopted for over two decades in the election of the country’s leader, has failed.
Nigeria’s political leadership has since 1999 been rotated between the southern and northern parts of the country.
The unwritten arrangement has played a key role in determining who emerges the president in the largely ethno-religious sensitive nation.
Southern political leaders expect it will be the turn of the region to produce the president in 2023 when Mr Buhari, from the north-west state of Katsina, completes a second term.
In its reaction earlier, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, insisted that it would be 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 incumbent.
In its first public reaction to the controversy, the Presidency said on Saturday that Mr Daura’s comments did not reflect the views of the Buhari administration.
“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,” spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a statement.
The statement suggested Mr Daura was quoted out of context.
Read the full statement released by Mr Shehu:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
MALAM MAMMAN’S VIEWS ARE HIS OWN, AND HE HAS SAID SO – PRESIDENCY
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 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.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
August 1, 2020