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Clark: North not sincere on rotational presidency

Urges S/West to give S/East a chance

Elder statesman and former Minister for Information and Culture, Chief Edwin Clark, has accused the political elite in Northern Nigeria of insincerity over the vexed issue of rotation of Presidency between the North and the South. The nonagenarian, who was responding to a statement credited to Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari that competence should be used above zoning of presidency, said it was appalling and smacked of double standards for the same northern elite, who campaigned relentlessly for their turn to retrieve power from the South in 2007 and 2015 to make a u-turn by campaigning against the move to return power to the South in 2023. Daura, the acclaimed leader of the Cabal in Aso Rock, recently granted an interview to a foreign news media where he was quoted to have canvassed for an end to power rotation in Nigeria. In the said interview, Daura said that the concept of rotational presidency should be jettisoned to allow anybody from any part of Nigeria to lead the country.

The comment had attracted a lot of condemnations by many Nigerians, some of whom believe that it was an attempt by the northern political elite to change the rule in the middle of the game. Clark, who joined the debate last night, berated Daura for daring to stir such a controversy at a time when the South was warming up to take over power in the next dispensation.

He said that Daura, being a relation to the President, had every right to advise Buhari on their internal family issues, he had no political experience and therefore lacked the capacity to dabble into a sensitive national question like power rotation.

He said: “I have known Mamman Daura for very many years; when he was Deputy Editor of the New Nigeria Newspaper when his friend, the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma was Editor. Mamman Daura later became the Editor when Adamu Ciroma was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “Mamman Daura has never held any notable political appointment to qualify him to be a political adviser to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, on the affairs of Nigeria, which entitles him (Mmman Daura) to have permanent accommodation/ residency at the Aso Villa, with his family, where politicians go to him, to lobby for political appointments.

“Mamman Daura as nephew to Mr. President has every right to speak on their family matters, because he is part of Muhammadu Buhari’s family. But he has no experience or qualification to give directives on Nigeria’s governmental affairs.” Clark urged the northern elite not to arrogate to themselves the monopoly of knowledge, wisdom, capability and competence, in the leadership of Nigeria as there were many intelligent and patriot Nigerians in the south and in the six geopolitical zones who could rule Nigeria successfully.

“The likes of Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the Southwest zone, a zone which has ruled this country at three different times with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo ruling as Military Head of State and as a democratically elected President, and Chief Ernest Shonekan as Interim National President, should allow the South East, which was also part of the three principal regions of Nigeria.” He recalled that the issue of zoning was suf-ficiently discussed at the 2014 National Conference which was attended by over 490 Delegates, representing various parts and segments of the country. According to him, the essence was to give a sense of belonging to all since Nigeria has as many as 250 ethnic groups. “That was why the Conference recommended that even at the State or regional level, the governorship should rotate among the three Senatorial Zones of the state.

A situation whereby one ethnic group, because it thinks it is larger, will use its size and population to dominate smaller ethnic groups in a state is unacceptable. The vibrant leader from the South South region also recalled the position the North took when former President Goodluck Jonathan ascended to the Presidency following the death in office of President Umar Musa Yar Adua.

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