The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has condemned the position of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura who said competence should be placed above zoning arrangement in the 2023 Presidential election.
Regarded as the most powerful personality in Buhari’s administration, Daura had in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service said the most qualified person from any part of the country should succeed his uncle.
However, the Afenifere group rejected Daura’s position saying the country must continue with the common understanding of power rotation between the North and the South.
The spokesman of the group, Joe Odumakin, in a telephone interview with Daily Trust said the South was not unmindful of the fact that the North would want to have a shot again in the presidency after Buhari. According to him, the South envisages many candidates to indicate interest in the presidency in 2023 but the country must stand firm and respect the zoning agreement.
“They (Northern candidates) would come out definitely but it is now left for the country to say whether they want to accept the move or they should insist on the common understanding that power should rotate between north and south.
“I heard him (Mamman Daura) talking about competence or whatever. In 2023, he would understand if there is anything called competence.
We are watching how things unfold,” he said. Odumakin said he expected the South to forge a common front when the time comes to ensure that the presidency returned to the region in 2023. Chief Supo Shonibare, another chieftain of Afenifere said rotational presidency could not be discarded without restructuring.
Gentleman agreement cannot be jettisoned – Niger Delta group
Also speaking, the Chairman of Niger Delta Right Advocate, Darlington Nwauju, said that the call for the cancellation of rotational presidency was myopic and of no relevance. He said that rotational presidency and zoning formula were part of an unwritten agreement between the South and the North, saying that the gentleman agreement should be sustained.
He said that rotational presidency was akin to federal character principle and quota system, saying they were sine qua non for peaceful co-existence. He recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo benefited from the agreement and wondered why such agreement should not be sustained.
“Rotational presidency had provided an opportunity for the weaker region to have a shot at the presidency. When we are talking about rotational presidency, south and east should be given top priority. Those calling for its cancellation are myopic and of no consequence to me,” he said.
Rotational presidency party affair The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said the issue of the rotational presidency is not a constitutional matter but only adopted by political parties for their own convenience. The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, responding to Daura’s statement, said:
“The Nigerian constitution does not make provision for the rotational presidency; it is done at the convenience of political parties and not a constitutional practice. There is nowhere in the Nigerian constitution where there is provision for rotation.”
Yawe further said if political parties on their own decided to jettison rotational presidency, they have the right to do so. Also, a Kano based political analyst, Dr Abbati Bako, said the rotational presidency in democratic practice was an outdated system.
“Democracy is a game of the majority and minority’s voice should be listened to for the fact that the minority’s voice is one of the 57 key elements of a democratic system. “In both advanced and less advanced democracies, the issue of the rotational presidency is contrary to the norms and rules of democratic principles; hence the issue of electing someone based on regional, religious or ethnic sentiments is not democracy. We can call that ‘democrazy,’” He said.