The Presidency on Saturday dissociated itself from the views expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Malam Mamman Daura, in a recent interview with the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The Presidency declared that the views and opinions expressed by Daura in the interview were personally his, and do not represent those of the President or his administration.
Malam Mamman Daura in the first interview said that Nigeria’ s interest would be better served by a president elected on merit as against one chosen on rotational basis.
The suggestion immediately drew flak from different parts of the country who interpreted it as a subtle move by a section of the country to scuttle the north/south rotational pattern, which presumably paved the way to the Presidency for Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the Presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted that besides the fact that Daura’s thoughts were misrepresented in the English translation of the interview, the octogenarian, was exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights by speaking on issues of national concern.
He said:”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.
“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.”