The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from a statement credited to one its chieftains, Mallam Mamman Daura, that competence and not zoning or rotation should determine who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Also on Wednesday, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) carpeted Daura for advocating the jettisoning of zoning and rotation principles.
Daura had in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said: “It (Presidency) should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere.
“This turn-by-turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done thrice….”
But, the APC, through its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said: “That is not our position but a personal opinion by an individual who happens to be a member of our party.
“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.”
Asked of the party’s position on zoning, Nabena said: “APC is preoccupied now with the business of reconciliation and unity. 2023 is still far and we are sure that when we get to the river, we shall surely know how to cross it.”
Similarly, the PDP denounced the comment by Daura, saying, as a political party, it “appreciates zoning.”
“We shall come up with our zoning formula which will define where the national chairman will come from and where our presidential candidate will come from,” PDP’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary Diran Odeyemi said.
Odeyemi described Daura’s comment as “personal opinion” that has no binding force on the PDP.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo and IPOB also castigated Daura for the comment and reminded him that Buhari was a product of power rotation.
While the apex Igbo socio-culural group described the Northern elder as a major beneficiary of power rotation, IPOB faulted him.
Ohanaeze maintained that it is the turn of the South, particularly the Southeast geo-political zone to produce the next president, warning that equity should not be sacrificed on the altar of parochialism since it was the rotation sentiment that produced the President.
“All we know is that it is the turn of the South where we have abundant competent individuals who can steer the ship of this country, particularly among Ndigbo,” Ohanaeze said through Chief Emeka Attamah, the media aide to its President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo..
Reminding Daura of the gang-up that led to Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat as president, Attamah said: ” Now that it is the turn of the South, they don’t see it (rotation of power) in that context anymore.
“The statement by Mamman Daura is, to say the least, self-serving. He should’ve said this before the 2019 elections. They ganged up to push President Jonathan aside because they believed it was the turn of the North to produce the President.
“Having benefited enormously from Buhari being the President, he now wants it (rotation principle) jettisoned because it is the turn of the South.
“Talking about competence or most qualified, was President Buhari the most qualified Nigerian when he ascended the Presidency? Now that it is the turn of the South, precisely Southeast, he is mouthing most qualified and competent.
“Equity is a constant flagship for peace and good governance. Without it, there will be continued agitation and crisis.
“At his age, Mamman Daura should stand for equity and fairness. His latest stance goes against the grain of the nation’s Constitution which enshrines equality for all people and sections of the country.”
IPOB said although it no longer believed in the entity called Nigeria, the statement attributed to Daura was a sign that the North was no longer comfortable with “one Nigeria”.
“Since the inception of democracy in 1999, power at the federal level has been between the North and the Yoruba nation. It was by chance that Jonathan became the President of the country after the death of his boss, Musa Yar’ Adua,’’ one of the leaders of the group, Chukwuemeka Eke, said.
He added: “We are aware of the politics that played out when Yar’ Adua died. They wanted to conceal his death and foist another Northerner on Nigerians, if not for the courage of some Nigerians from the South.
“Power was later moved to the North for them to complete the tenure that was breached which brought Buhari to power.
“Buhari will be serving out his tenure in 2023. Courtesy demands that power should come to the Southeast for the sake of rotation. Now, Daura is coming out to say that power shouldn’t come to the Southeast. Can’t you see that the man is suffering from diarrhea of the mouth?”