Re: Mamman Daura and the next president

Re: Mamman Daura and the next president

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By Yusuf Nuhu, Esq


ONE cardinal tenet of democracy is the liberty availed citizens to freely hold and express their opinions. This however does not contemplate liberty for indiscretion, recklessness, mischief, insensitivity and disrespect for the rights of others under the law. The freedom to hold and express opinion must therefore not be confused with a license to malign, misinform, misrepresent or mislead. In the exercise of the liberties availed us by the laws of the land, it is meet that we also apply bridles. We must limit ourselves within the confines of decorum, decency, and good conscience. It is even more so if providence bestows on us the rare privilege of being the leading lights of our spaces. As it is often said, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Politics is a beautiful game we all have a historic responsibility to preserve. Sadly, the choices we make, the actions we take and the utterances we make could rob us of its beauty, which essentially is about the fair contestation of ideas between opponents with the view to swaying majority support and acceptability either side, and ultimately crytalising in those entrusted with mandate to manage the affairs of men/women and material resources for the ultimate good of all.

On fortunately, such is not the case with some of us; which brings us to the object of this rejoinder. It would have been needless doing a rejoinder to a write-up in the Yoruba TRIBUNE ONLINE, authored by one Adebanwi, a Professor of African Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA considering his level of educational attainment and presumably, his standing in society.

We have lived long enough and negotiated numerous learning curves to understand that falsehood, told several times over, inevitably assumes the place of truth until it is corrected, often at much greater cost to the one lied against. I therefore feel strongly compelled to do this rejoinder in order to correct the distortions and misinformation in Adebanwi‟s write-up.

For purposes of clarity, and for the benefit of those who might not have had the opportunity to read the said write-up on Mallam Mamman Daura, Adebanwi painstakingly asserts that:

“Whoever wins the February 2023 presidential election in Nigeria would have done so chiefly because of, or, in spite of, Mamman Daura.”  Adebanwi hinges his “ostentatious” and “inflationary” assertion merely on the fact that President MuhammaduBuhari is a younger nephew to Mallam Mamman Daura.

He also asserts that “both Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu recognize the central role Daura is playing and would play regarding who becomes the next president of Nigeria.” He goes further to assert that Mamman Daura has: “unbridled influence on President Buhari and well-placed to either hinder or advance the ambition of the two leading presidential contenders, Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar.” He describes Daura as “one of the most consequential and hindering power mongers in Nigeria’s history.”

Nothing can be far from the truth than such assertion. We do know that all religions, including atheists acknowledge the existence of a Supreme being from whom power is donated to whom He wishes and when He wishes. I do not imagine that Adebanwi holds a contrary opinion in this regard.

To therefore attribute to Mallam Mamman Daura such extraordinary powers which are exclusive only to God, to make or mar the presidential ambition of anyone, particularly in a highly religious country estimated at over 200 million people, is to deny the existence and sovereignty of God in the affairs of ordinary mortals. MallamMamman Daura is not oblivious of the place of man including his humble self, in God‟s divine hierarchy and will never play God in whatever sphere of human endeavor.

He remains totally submissive to God, having the full knowledge that his 83 years on earth and still counting, is by the mercies and grace of the Almighty God, to whom he remains ever indebted. No one man can take the place of God and therefore, Daura does not wish to be dressed in borrowed robe he is not worthy of touching talk less of wearing. If only we can understand the incontrovertible truth that power comes from God and that the voice of the people is the voice of God, the venom, mudslinging, hate and falsehood that has come to be associated with our politics would be neatly excised.

For Adebanwi to have asserted that Daura has; “unbridled influence on President Buhari” is to suggest that President Buhari has no mind of his. Nothing could be further from the truth. What Adebanwi‟s assertion smacks of is the worst form of insult and disrespect for a man who, through dint of hard work, did not just rise to the zenith of his military career fighting to preserve the sovereignty of his motherland, but has presided over the affairs of this nation, in the first instance as a Military Head of State and later as a democratically elected president for eight years.

In his unbridled determination to demonise and malign Mallam Daura, Adebanwi also asserted that: “Tinubu recognizes that for the past eight years, the presidency which has been effectively under Daura has been mobilizing against him.” He goes further to state that: “Daura had ensured Tinubu would not reap, as „designed‟ the full benefit of his total investment.” He attributed Buhari‟s “I belong to no body” in his inaugural speech in 2015 to MammanDaura‟s “ventriloquist shot directed at Tinubu.”

One thing that makes academicians stand out from others, is their admirable penchant for empiricism and their lack of patience for baseless claims and postulations. Regrettably, this is lacking in Adebanwi‟s write-up. One then wonders on what basis Adebanwi‟s claims are founded. Could this be just for the fact that President Buhari is uncle to Mallam Daura? Such wild claims amount to a gross underestimation of the level of intelligence of Nigerians.

The business of governance is a serious one and, therefore, must not be trivialised. Nigeria is too great a nation to have her fate determined by the whims of an individual. If that were possible, Mallam Mamman Daura would not have waited for his uncle, Mohammadu Buhari, to take three unsuccessful shots at the presidency before becoming the President of Nigeria in his fourth attempt. That would long have been accomplished by fiat and solely by Daura regardless of the will of God Almighty and what Nigerians wanted.

Adebanwi claims that Tinubu‟s outburst in Abeokuta to the world on emi lo kan (“it is my turn”, or “I am next”) was a direct response to Daura‟s machinations to stall Tinubu‟s emergence as the party‟s presidential candidate and Buhari‟s successor. Again, Nigerians are not so naïve not to understand that much as one may wish the outcome of an electoral process goes in a particular direction, if you do not control the levers of power within the party structure, one‟s wish remains a mere mirage. Adebanwi does not spare a breath to tell us Daura‟s position within the party structure of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

We have not even been told whether besides being President MohammaduBuhari‟s nephew, Daura is also a card carrying member of the APC. In any case, who does not know the overbearing powers of the Governors and the considerable influence they wield in our politics? Is Daura a governor? How many governors did he install that puts him in a position to dictate to them in which direction their delegates should vote at a party Convention?

While Mamman Daura does not begrudge Bola Tinubu for insisting it is his turn or time, which is within his constitutional to so feel, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest machinations in any form from any quarter orchestrated by Daura to deny Tinubu his life ambition – after all, neither Daura nor his uncle, Mohammadu Buhari would be on the ballot on 25th February, 2023.

If indeed, as claimed by Adebanwi, Buhari‟s emergence as President was purely as a result of Tinubu‟s political genius and unusual political potency, Tinibu deserves commendation, while it must also not be lost on us that thia came to pass because God used Tinubu to enable Buhari‟s presidency at a time God had ordained.

However, if on the other hand Adebanwi still insists that God‟s hand was not in Buhari‟s emergence and that credit should solely be given to Tinubu‟s political genius and unusual political potency, why should anyone lose sleep whether Daura supports Tinubu‟s presidential ambition or not? After all, Tinubu‟s political genius and unusual political potency to land him the presidency in February, 25, 2023.

This has been more than demonstrated through his hegemonic grip not only in Lagos State, but also in most part of the South-West as attested to by Adebanwi recounts “Tinubu‟s spirited survival of the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led tsunami that swept all the other AD governors out of power in 2003” and the retrieval of “every single South-western State in installment from the opposition” culminating in installing of Buhari as President.

For Adebanwi to have asserted that “Tinubu has found in Daura an unusual adversary never encountered since 1998 when he started his campaign to be Governor of Lagos State owing to Daura‟s stealth, reticence and unaccountable power” must be something that exists only in the figment of his imagination. This description is rather more fitting of Adebanwi‟s principal whose political grip over Lagos and most parts of the South-West is not only legendary, but suffocating.

Not yet done with Mallam Daura, Adebanwi claimed Daura encouraged Godwin Emefiele to run for the presidency and even kept him in office after his abortive ambition. But Adebanwi is not alone in this conspiracy of character assassination targeted at Daura. Only recently, a seasoned Journalist, Mr. Omatsaye, in his eagerness to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, threw professionalism to the winds by publishing in his write-up a picture of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the late Ismaila Isa Funtua who is mischievously described as MallamMamman Daura.

Responding to El-Rufai‟s claim in an interview on Channels TV and in a series of tweets he posted, Ja‟afarJa‟afar, publisher of Daily Nigeria, said “I‟ve written a lot about Mamman Daura‟s influence, but to my surprise, he‟s not part of the “Villa element” against Tinubu‟s presidency.

He recounts that “In fact, when Osinbajo visited MallamMamman at his Dennis Osadebay Street residence, in Abuja, in February 2022 to seek support for his presidential ambition, the old man clearly reminded the VP about an unwritten agreement to support Tinubu after Buhari tenure.”

This is in keeping with the age- tested principles of the Northerner never reneging on any promise made – a virtue Governor El-Rufai had proudly vocalised, for whoever cared to listen. How else could honour, trustworthiness and statesmanship be measured than in Daura‟s frank talk to the VP!

Having said this much, Adebanwi and his cohorts should please look elsewhere for Tinubu‟s sworn political adversaries and leave MallamMamman Daura whom he had aptly and rightly described as “cerebral, generous, lettered, suave, taciturn and cultured”, alone to enjoy his senescence.


  • Nuhu, writes from Kaduna. Country Chambers, Bank of Industries Complex, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Kaduna.



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