The Arewa Progressive Initiative (API) has noted with concern the reactions generated by the statement credited to Mallam Mamman Daura on the issue of placing competence above the vexatious issue of zoning in arriving at a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari. Many individuals and organisations, including the revered Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, the Afenifere Group and its Igbo counterpart, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo have all condemned Daura’s statement.
Owing to the sustained suspicion in Nigeria, especially on political issues, it would be understandable why Mamman Daura’s statement would be taken out of context, even by people whose problem was never about English comprehension. But in a country where every word and statement is analyzed with political bias and pre-determined mindset, it’s no surprise that a very harmless suggestion was causing such an unimaginable frenzy.
For one, if Mamman Daura and, by extension, President Muhammadu Buhari are such unrepentant ethnic bigots, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and other major stakeholders in the north wouldn’t have had any problem with them or even condemned the duo so frequently the way they have done since Buhari came to power.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which sneaked on us so suddenly has put to test the leadership capabilities of even the most prepared leaders. The crisis management abilities of many of our leaders have been called to question. In the midst of all these, how anyone would object to the idea of promoting competence as a basic criterion for leadership recruitment is beyond comprehension.
It is possible that the problem of those who have read sinister motive into what Mallam Daura said has more to do with the messenger rather than the message. Why is Mamman Daura telling us the the qualities of our next president now that his nephew is serving out his term, the critics must have reasoned. But truth, no matter who bears it, remains the truth.
At this moment of unpredictable changes across the world, Nigeria, like any other country, needs competent individuals across all levels of government to manage its affairs. And unless we are saying that only northern Nigeria has competent people that can run the affairs of this nation, which of course was not what Mamman Daura meant, then all the controversies about what Daura said is needless.
Across Nigeria, north and south, God in His mercies has blessed us with abundant human resources. All Mallam Mamman Daura was saying was that competent individuals should be supported to occupy leadership positions, and these people litter the length and breadth of this country. They are not only in the north. So what is the fuss?