For the first time, the person considered as the most prominent figure in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Malam Mamman Daura, has broken his silence on the vexed issue of zoning and rotation of the nation’s presidency, arguing that competence, not geography should determine the next president of Nigeria in 2023.
Mamman spoke in a brief interview with the BBC Hausa service monitored in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Reputed to be the head of the kitchen cabinet of the President, he described the President as his uncle saying he has never imposed anything on him.
“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 told the BBC Hausa Service in an interview.
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According to Mamman, since Nigerians have tried the rotational presidency about thrice already, it would be better to go for the most qualified candidate in 2023 irrespective of whether he comes from the North or the South.
On his relationship with his uncle, saying contrary to the dominant view in the public domain, he could not possibly dictate public policy to the president.
“Yes, I do visit him to greet him; I do give him advice, but if he asked. I advise him. But I don’t go there on my own and insist I must do this or that. No. You don’t do that to the government,” he said.
Daura, an accomplished journalist and businessman, is widely believed to, along with the late presidential chief of staff, Malam Abba Kyari, have the ears of Buhari and takes the lion share of the blame for perceived missteps of the administration led by his younger uncle.
Mamman Daura clarified his relationship with Buhari: “My father was their mother’s firstborn. Buhari is the last born.” He said he grew up with the president and that they had always been close.