Former Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, has thrown his support behind the call by Malam Mamman Daura that competence and meritocracy should be placed above every other thing regarding the choice of Nigeria’s President in 2023.
He noted that the call was apt and timely.
In a statement he issued and made available to DAILY POST in Kaduna, Ozumba said, “Most Nigerians would have wished that Mr. Daura made this position known much earlier than now. This would have been helpful in shaping the national political landscape and setting the tone for a more stable, egalitarian, peaceful and progressive Nigerian nation.”
He noted, “Be that as it may, it is never late to begin again; in view of the current position being canvassed by someone who could be considered a veritable mouthpiece of Buhari’s central government.”
The former Vice Chancellor observed that with the benefit of hindsight, it would not be wrong to aver that what has failed the nation for more than four decades is not rotation, but Nigeria’s inability as a nation to enthrone merit and competence in rotational leadership. “It would be difficult to advance arguments diametrically opposed to merit and competence-based leadership,” he added.
A good leader must have the competence and capacity to lead and inspire, he observed, “When we take a look at how far we have gone since independence, we cannot but wish for visionary leadership down the line up to the civil service where I think federal character should be reflected based on merit and competence.”
Professor Chukwuma Ozumba explained that as an elder statesman of repute, Malam Mamman Daura must have realized, that mediocre leadership has failed Nigeria and has become the bane of our national development. “To this extent, I would like to align myself with Daura’s position. I completely agree with him that our very best should lead a post-Buhari presidency so as to unite the country, fix our broken politics and chart a new course for inclusive growth and development of Nigeria,” he added.
In a heterogeneous setting such as ours they are complementary, he noted that Federal Character may have its downside but in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious setting such as ours, it has its benefits, adding that the cry of marginalization by various sections of the country arises from their feeling of being victims of exclusiveness, instead of beneficiaries of inclusiveness.
He further observed, “I am minded to think, on closer look at Daura’s position, that he did not suggest that zoning or rotation of the presidency should be jettisoned. As a matter of fact, Malam Daura’s position appears to support merit and competence while allowing large latitude for rotational presidency where possible. Even without any empirical evidence, one should think that most Nigerians would prefer a rotation of the presidency for reasons of stability, unity, diversity, inclusiveness and the prospect of giving everyone a sense of belonging.”
He added that many political pundits interpreted this to mean that Malam Mamman Daura, who is President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, is in favour of competence or merit instead of zoning or rotating the presidency.
Professor Chukwuma Ozumba said that close associates of Malam Mamman Daura would not mind if a Post-Buhari president comes from the South or the North provided emphasis shifts from the tribe or region to the competence of the leader. To this extent, he said, “I am in total agreement with Malam Mamman Daura.”