The presidency has reacted to the controversial comment on zoning made by Maman Daura saying the expression did not reflect the position of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Daura, the president’s older nephew, had in an interview with BBC Hausa, said it is better for competence to prevail over zoning in government positions.
The comment subsequently attracted criticisms from socio-ethnic groups and some stakeholders in the country.
Edwin Clark, elder statesman and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), reacted to Daura’s comment saying it is an irresponsible statement that could jeopardise the unity of Nigeria.
In a statement on Saturday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said Daura is entitled to express his personal view on issues.
“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,” Shehu said.
“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.
“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.”