*No unity among Igbo govs, elites
*Explains opposition on Buhari
By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and former Special Adviser to the Kano state Governor, Salihu Tanko Yakasai has faulted agitations for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023, saying he believes that the Southwest, as opposed to the Southeast deserves the party’s presidential ticket.
Popularly known as Dawisu, Salihu is the son of elder statesman, Second Republic Presidential Aide and founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai. He spoke on Friday on a breakfast television show, The Arise Morning Show monitored in Abuja.
Making a case for rotational presidency, Yakasai also challenged the Ebonyi state Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi to explain if the APC has promised him its presidential ticket since he premises his reason for ditching the Peoples Democratic Party PDP on the grounds that the country’s main opposition was averse to having a president from the East.
He said; “This is a very crucial issue not just for the APC but for Nigerians and the political stability of the country. I am of the view that, particularly in the APC, that power should rotate to the South and even in the South, I am of the opinion that the candidate of the APC should come from the Southwest in particular. And I have my reasons for saying that.
“The reason is simply. I know what the southwest in particular contributed to the victory of the APC in the 2015 elections. Even in the formation of the party, they contributed immensely and even if you look at the major contenders in the APC, they are from the Southwest. So, I see no reason the rest of the party should not put its weight behind any candidate of their choice from the Southwest in particular in order to produce the next candidate for the APC in the general election.
“I think what has heated the polity recently is the remark by the Southern Governors Forum which they have made twice but which is unconstitutional. Apart from one Governor from the North who has indicated his interest, there has not been any such indication from the APC as a party that it wants to retain power in the North and that is why I fault the Southern Governors. That gentleman agreement has been there since 1999 and I see no reason it should not be upheld in 2023.
“I am saying that for APC, it has to go to the Southwest. I am a northerner, I know where we came from in the elections in 2015. So, I see no reason the APC as a party should not support any of the candidates from the Southwest because they are the biggest contributors to the victory of APC.
“Gov. Dave Umahi should tell us if APC has promised him and other governors from his region if they are going to give the ticket to him or them in 2023. I think that question should be put to His Excellency because his reason for decamping was that PDP was not going to give power to particularly the Southeast. Then, has there been any move or assurance by the APC that they are going to give a candidate from the Southeast? Because as far as I am concerned, I have not seen any indication that the APC is going to field any candidate from the Southeast and I don’t think that is going to happen. Even if Southwest does not get it, to be honest, I don’t see the APC giving it to anybody from the Southeast, maybe South South perhaps, but definitely not the Southeast.
“In the Southeast, they keep agitating individually but they have not come together collectively to show a unified front to the rest of the country that they are indeed ready for this presidency. There is no unity among the governors, there is no unity among the political elite and there is no unity among the followers. And unfortunately for them, they do not have the numbers which means that they need the support of one or two regions”, Yakasai added.
On Nigeria’s brand of democracy and his travails under the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration, the younger Yakasai said he is not an enemy of the president.
Until February 2021, Yakasai was the media aide to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, but was relieved of his appointment for criticizing the President Buhari Administration on the rising insecurity in the country.
He was later arrested and detained by the State Security Services SSS for expressing his opinion on the security situation on social media.
Yakasai said; “We can look away from so many issues like the lack of development, the economy etc, but when it comes to the issue of insecurity which has spread all over the country and for which we have given enough time for the government to do what is important in securing lives and property, unfortunately we don’t see that translating into anything tangible on the ground. Even if they are doing anything behind the scenes, that has not translated to results on the ground and I felt personally that this is something we cannot keep quiet about.
“A lot of people think that I am being sponsored or that I am doing someone’s bidding. But I am not. I did not come up one day and said I wanted to cast the government and the president in bad light. No. I woke up and saw the news of 300 kids that they have been taken away from their school. What is a normal human being supposed to do, for crying out loud? I have two daughters and one son. And that was not the first time. It has happened a number of times and as a parent, I felt that it was not right and something has to be done. I worked for the president. I was his returning officer during his first election in 2003. I have supported him. I am not an enemy of the president. I am not an enemy of this government but there are things that we need to get right. This is six years into the administration and we need to start delivering results and closing some of these major issues that we are facing and unfortunately we are not seeing results”, he added.