Mamman Daura, the nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, has opposed the rotational presidency being practised since the return to democracy in Nigeria’s political atmosphere in 1999.
In an interview he granted BBC Hausa service earlier in the week, Mr Daura said the issue of zoning presidential slot should be jettisoned for competence regardless of where the contestant hails from.
“This turn-by-turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done thrice… It is better for this country to be one…it should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere,” he said.
But several socio-cultural groups from the South and Central regions who are optimistic about power shift to the protectorate are kicking against the call.
The groups includes; Ohanaeze Ndigbo (South East), Afenifere (South West), Middle Belt Forum (North Central) and South-South Elders’ Forum.
These groups in an interview with Punch Newspapers and media statements are claiming Daura’s uncle (Buhari) is a product of rotational presidency and has failed when accessed based on competency now canvassed by his nephew.
“Having benefited enormously, he now wants zoning jettisoned because it is the turn of the south,” Ohanaeze Ndigbo which claimed it is the turn of South East to produce the next president said in a statement signed by Emeka Attamah, the media aide to the president-general of Ohanaeze, Nnia Nwodo.
“Talking about competence or the most qualified, was President Buhari the most qualified Nigerian when he ascended the Presidency?
“Has he proved to be the most competent? Are the service chiefs the most competent among their colleagues to warrant their being retained beyond their tenure?
“Obviously, no, because occurrences in the country since he became President and Commander-in-Chief have proved him to be incompetent.
“Now that it is the turn of the South, precisely the South-East, he is mouthing the most qualified and competent. Equity is a constant flagship for peace and good governance. Without it, there will be continued agitation and crisis,” the group’s statement partly read.
On its part, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation described the present administration as the most incompetent ever.
“He (Daura) should have developed the competency idea before 2015, if he meant well. What he is doing now is what is called knowing how to keep the meat in the mouth and not seeing it again,” Yinka Odumakin, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, told PUNCH.
“Any idea of doing away with zoning without going back to federalism will not work. We know that they were referring to the Jonathan administration as incompetent, but this administration is the most incompetent this country has ever seen. Competence is having the necessary ability and knowledge,” Odumakin added.
Although not known to the Nigerian Constitution, rotational presidency has been the practice of political parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which held sway from 1999 until in 2015 when it lost power to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Just like the Nigerian Constitution, the APC has no rotational power shift in its constitution. The 2015 contest for its presidential slot was thrown open and had Nigerians from the North and South jostling for the top job. The North finally won in the person of Muhammadu Buhari who has been re-elected for second term during the 2019 general election, despite the PDP picking its candidate from the North.
Reacting to the call by Daura, the APC said the president’s nephew was speaking in his personal capacity and not for the party.
“That is not our position but a personal opinion by an individual who happens to be a member of our party,” Yekini Nabena, deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party said in a statement.
“The issue of 2023 is yet to be discussed at any level. We are presently concerned with building a formidable political party that will continue to give leadership to the country and take it to the next level,” he added.