Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The presidency last night described the comment by Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, on zoning as his opinion and not that of the president.
The presidency made this clarification in reaction to a wide range of controversies trailing the submission of Daura during the week, that presidency shouldn’t be attained on rotational basis but should rather be predicated on competence.
However, Daura, who made the comment in an interview he granted the BBC Hausa service, had been heavily criticised by various individuals and groups which accused him of flying a Northern kite ahead of 2023 presidential poll.
But presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement titled: “Malam Mamman’s Views Are His Own, and He Has Said So,” said presidency, since the comment was made, had been inundated with requests for presidential reaction.
According to him, the opinion of Daura was solely his, and did not in any way reflect the position of the president or his administration.
The statement also said at the age of 80, and having served as the editor, and subsequently the Managing Director of New Nigeria newspaper, Daura is eminently qualified to express his view as guaranteed in the constitution.
“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.
Shehu who stated that the interview was granted in Hausa language, also alleged that its original content was distorted 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.
According to him, such discourse is not alien to Nigeria’s evolving and young democracy, adding that what Daura did as a veteran journalist, scholar and statesman, was only to add his voice to the discourse.
“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,” the statement added.