One of the most vocal politicians and elder statesmen in the northern part of Nigeria, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, says the presidency will not be handed over to the Igbos of the South-East in 2023 on a platter of gold as they have to work hard to get a chance.
Yakassai who spoke on Sunday, December 3, while interacting with journalists at his Kano home a few days after celebrating his 94th birthday, said there was nothing wrong with the clamour for an Igbo President come 2023, but that they must not expect it to be given to them just like that, believing that the North will not speak with one voice on the issue of zoning of the presidency ahead of the 2023 elections.
Yakassai, a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), spoke on the agitation by the Igbos of the South-East to be president, being the only major ethnic group that has not occupied the seat since independence, said there is no constitutional provision for power shift but some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) want to have a “gentleman’s agreement that the nation’s highest office should rotate to the southeast after Buhari’s tenure.”
The northern politician 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.”
“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.
“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.
“My advice to my Igbo brothers and friends is that they should work hard for it because the slot will not be handed over to them just because they clamour for it. It is not done that way.”
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