Tanko Yakassai

…On Tinubu:  Why northerners will not give him bloc vote

…’North won’t speak with one voice on zoning’

By Livinus Nwabughiogu

Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has projected into 2021, saying zoning and constitutional amendment will define the landscape duringn the year.

In specific terms, Yakassai said the North will not speak with one voice on the issue of zoning of the presidency ahead of the 2023 elections.

Opinion is divided on whether the North should retain the presidency after incumbent  Muhammadu Buhari (a northerner) leaves office in 2023 or power should shift to the South.

There is no constitutional provision for power shift but some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) say there is a gentleman’s agreement that the nation’s highest office should rotate to the South after Buhari’s tenure.

Yakassai, a northerner politician, also spoke on the agitation by the Igbo of the South-East to be President, having been the only major ethnic group that has not occupied the seat since independence.

The elder statesman said the Igbo will not get the presidency on a platter of gold in 2023, counselling them to work very hard for it.

On Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, said to be warming up for the 2023 presidential election, Yakassai explains the reason the senior member of the APC will not get North’s  bloc vote.

Igbo presidency

Speaking on how zoning and constitution amendment will define the political landscape, elder statesman,  Yakasai insisted that though the South-East has sufficient grounds to seek the highest office, hard work, rather than a mere wish,

is what will make Igbo presidency a reality.

He said: “The presidency has never been given to any zone for free. It always comes through voting. I want the South-East to have the opportunity to produce the President because the South-West had it in Olusegun Obasanjo. The South- South had in Goodluck Jonathan. The North-West had it in Umaru Yar’Adua and again in Muhammadu Buhari. But the seat or ticket has never been given free of charge. You have to work for it.

READ ALSO: IGBO PRESIDENT IN 2023: South-East leaders vow to unite as Umahi sparks controversy

“Election is a matter of convincing people and presenting your programmes to them. You tell them how their lives will be better off and all that. In the end, they will settle for the person they believe will impact more on them.

Igbo brothers

“My advice to my Igbo brothers and friends is that they should work hard for it.

“I will keep saying this: those clamouring for restructuring should tell us exactly the kind of restructuring they want. What we used to have is a parliamentary system of government. Now we have the American model or presidential system. Are we going to change from a presidential to a parliamentary system again? They should tell us. I don’t know what the protagonists of this clamour are afraid of.

“If you are suggesting something for 200 million people, is it not fair to come out clean on what exactly you want for them? It is not good to take people for granted.”


According to Yakassai, Tinubu is being linked to the plum office in 2023 but his role in helping Buhari become President may not translate into a bloc vote for him in the North.

He continued: “People are talking of Tinubu. Before Buhari won elections, he contested on his narrow platform which was limited to the North and he didn’t succeed. He approached Tinubu and his group and he succeeded. Without their votes, Buhari wouldn’t have been President. Tinubu is likely to feature in the next presidential election. This is so because there are signs all over the place. So whoever wants that office should start working for it.

“The North is a complex entity made up of different zones. Some people are not members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the North but they won elections. What I can tell you is that there are people in the North who will support Tinubu and others who will support someone else. The North is more divided in terms of politics. There is no way it will speak with one voice in the politics of 2023.”

Vanguard News Nigeria


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