President Muhammadu Buhari’s influential nephew, Mamman Daura, said yesterday that there is no need for zoning the presidential ticket to any part of the country.
He said Nigeria’s political space should be left open for the best candidate to emerge as president.
Regarded as the most powerful personality in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, Daura during an exclusive interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC, said the most qualified person from any part of the country should succeed his uncle.
According to him, 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.
“Rotation has been done once, twice and three times; it is important that this nation should be united as one, the most qualified, competent should be elected and not someone who comes from a particular zone,” he said.
This, he said, would be better for the nation’s unity.
He also spoke about his relationship with Buhari, 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.
But in the interview with the foreign broadcast station, he denied teleguiding the president, explaining that while he had access, he was mindful not to take undue advantage of his relationship, pointing out that it would be inappropriate to intervene in the conduct of public affairs without the request of the president.
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.