By Livingstone Wechie
THERE comes a time in the life of a nation when citizens are left to ponder over the role of leaders and those close to the corridors of power. From time immemorial, the scrutiny of leaders gives citizens the time to gauge the direction of the nation according to the role of those wielding influential positions around the seat of power.
Much of what we have read about Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s older nephew, in recent times have been unempirical records and misconceptions fed by base sentiments. This rampant falsehood about the astute industrialist necessitates this response. For those who are familiar with Daura, he is a man of few words but abundant in the charming conducts that endear him a private entrance into the hearts of many.
His ability to mobilise men for effective action and smooth operation in the Villa has largely been misconstrued as building a cabal around the President. Yet, he has maintained his unassuming stance and hardly ever responds to the unbridled criticisms coming from misguided opposition.
His warmth, peace-loving and pragmatic propositions in his politics bring a new dimension that has altogether stabilised the situation in Aso Villa where he commands immense respect. He is also very meticulous and methodical in his administrative abilities, qualities which have compelled even the most ardent critics to concede to him. President Muhammadu Buhari and Mamman Daura are related by blood.
Daura is said to be two and a half years older than the President. The history of the close relationship of both men dates back to childhood years and they have maintained an unbroken bond rarely seen in recent times.
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This type of relationship, which has lasted for over 70 years is anchored on mutual trust, confidence and a profound sense of duty. It is reported that the making of the future President Buhari was built from his years of travails after he was overthrown in a military coup on August 25, 1985. It was Daura, in his characteristic undaunted spirit, who rebuilt the structures, moulded and shaped the personality of President Buhari, which eventually assumed the cult-like followership the President reportedly enjoys across the country.
The significant role Daura has played through all the life of President Buhari, according to Buhari’s biographer, Paden, has been inspirational. In life, it is difficult to depart from those who have played a profound role in the lives of leaders, especially if those individuals are gifted with vision. With the ceaseless motivational impact Daura has made on Buhari all through the years, it is not out of place that he is having a resourcefully dominant role in the life of the President and to a greater extent the country.
Most people who do not know Daura and how he emerged on the national scene should pay attention to the following: When Buhari first came to power on December 31, 1983, Mamman Daura was among the main people selected to give a principal advisory role in the then short-lived military regime of Buhari. However, by late 1980s he took over from Ibrahim Dasuki as the head of the African International Bank.
That was where he acquired the technical competence in the financial sector as he had regular engagements with major international financial institutions around the globe and helped to formulate some enduring banking policies. His legacies in this sector are available for those who care to find out.
Daura was to become the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, where he again distinguished himself after which he became editor and managing director of New Nigeria Newspapers, one of the most important publications in Nigeria at a point in the history of Nigeria.
Today, Daura is privileged once again to help President Buhari make important decisions to take Nigeria to the “Next Level” in the efforts to revamp and reorder the Nigerian economy to meet the basic needs of the people. He assisted the President and stood by him all through the turbulent times of the last four years.
He is again prepared to invest his energy to ensure that Nigeria is taken out of the woods. He is indeed an unshakable ally, patriot, nationalist, a brother by all positive measures and an anchor that gives enormous confidence.
Therefore, he is no less in this sense a strange example that should not only inspire the emerging generation of Nigerians and indeed Africans at large but should serve as an awakener to supposed patriots, cutting across his generation to commit themselves to Pan Nigeria and Pan African actualisation.
This turf and track which arguably measures this African leader along with the likes of other celebrated African patriots both living and dead trigger the need for leadership to retrace missed steps towards making needed contributions for growth, unity and development without necessarily waiting for public office before such impact is made.
To wit, Mamman definitely may not even and have never been president and this should be the ward for everyone who believes that until you hold public office you can not help to make Nigeria attain her potentials. Hence, Mamman as the strange example is ostensibly in the unique class of the few Nigerians and indeed Africans who leverage on their little space to push for the overall development and good governance.
This can be attested to by key opposition and anti-Buhari figures who have often defended and celebrated the glowing virtues of Baba Mamman Daura as well as priced him as most cerebral and the spirit behind the success stories of the Buhari administration.
Contrary to the views canvassed by a section of the media, just as very dependable patriot and friend Muhammad Auwal Musa (Waban Dansadau) aptly put it: “Of the countless successful policies of President Buhari, Mamman Daura is undeniably credited to have made immense contributions thereto, thus helping to bring about stability and healthy governance to the polity in a way that imprints his signature on national growth, unity and economic transformation”. That is the mutual bond between them. What legacy! What a man! What nationalist! What a Pan-Africanist! What a Patriot!
For those with scant knowledge about Mamman Daura, especially those complaining that his influence in the Villa is questionable, it is important to note that through his cognate experience, he has been described as ‘intensely engaging, extremely intelligent and brilliant‘ by many who have come in contact with him and have been able to do any form of business with him.