2023 Election: Why South-East Presidential Candidates Should Listen To Tanko Yakasai’s Advice

2023 Election: Why South-East Presidential Candidates Should Listen To Tanko Yakasai’s Advice
February 04 16:10 2022 Print This Article

The calls for power to shift to the south have further triggered permutations and realignments in the polity. Some nationalistic politicians from the southeast have started a move to convince other Nigerians to support the region to produce the Nigeria President of Southeast extraction in 2023.

Some of the bigwig presidential hopefuls are Governor David Umahi, Orji Uzor Kalu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Rochas Okorocha, Chris Baywood Ibe, Ken Nnamani, Chinedu Nwajiuba, Sen Osita Izunaso, and many others.

An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai cautioned a fellow elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, against issuing threats when contributing to national discourse.

Clark, had in a statement on Monday asked northerners aspiring for the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to withdraw from the race, saying “to do otherwise is to invite chaos, which will lead to the disintegration of our dear country.” He believed it is now the turn of the southern region to produce President Buhari’s successor since he is from Katsina State, a state in the North-West region.

Yakasai, who is in his late 90s, cautioned Clark in a statement, titled, “An appeal to the elderly Nigerians for constructive engagement in National discourse”.

According to the statement, Yakasai, who was a former Senior Adviser on National Assembly matters to ex-President Shehu Shagari, observed that in most of Clark’s comments on important national discourse, the elder statesman issues some kind of threats about the unity and peace in our country.

He, therefore, appealed to “fellow elderly colleagues to please watch their language when contributing in an important national discourse”, stressing that will “make their contributions more positive in moving our nation forward than disuniting it”.

Yakassai, a northern politician, also spoke on the agitation by the Igbo of the South-East to be President, has 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.

He said the presidency has never been given to any zone for free. It always comes through voting. He made it known that he wanted 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 and the Southeast presidential candidate would have to work for it.

He further added that 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.

But what is important as we head towards 2023 is that those expressing interest from the Southeast should be smart enough to look at critical issues and areas of negotiation, bearing in mind that Nigerians desire good governance, constitution review and restructuring. There should be a clear and concrete agreement on these and other issues before power is ceded to anybody or zone.

The Southeast also need to realise that they have a lot to do to clear the memory of other regions on their people’s agitation and love for Biafra, especially relating to how the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) went about it in the last couple of years. These are issues that will crop up when the time comes. I think they have serious issues to deal with among themselves first and the way they dialogue and trade with other regions for them to realise their desire.

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