By Rasheed Sobowale
The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has defended comments attributed to the president’s nephew, Mamman Daura, saying he (Daura) is qualified as an elder statesmen.
Mamman Daura has recently come under heavy criticism from advocates of Southern Presidency in the coming 2023 election because of his statement during an interview he granted BBC Hausa.
Mallam Daura while commenting on the presidency power shift told the BBC interviewer that; “This turn by turn, it was done once, it was done twice, it was done trice…
“It is better for this country to be one…it should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere,”
In Daura’s defence, Shehu stated in a press statement he posted on his official twitter handle; “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.”
He also stated that there might have been some mistranslation of Mamman Daura’s comments.
“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.
“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.”
However, in a lampooned reaction, former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, described Mamman Daura as “the leader of the ‘Villa Cabal’” and Garba Shehu as “the go-between or the errand boy of the ‘Cabal’.”
According to the South-South elder statesman, “Mamman Daura 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.”
Chief Clark in his specific reaction to Daura’s comment that the presidency “should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere“ said; “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.”
“A situation whereby one ethnic group, because it thinks it is larger, will use its size and population to dominate smaller ethnic groups in a State is unacceptable.
“And it is for this reason that some of us are recommending that the South-Eastern part of Nigeria should now be allowed to produce the President of the country, now that it is the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce a President.”
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