•Insists voters elect leaders, not courts
An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has declared unequivocally that it should be the turn of the Igbo to produce the next President of Nigeria in 2023.
Yakasai based his declaration on the logic that other regions and zones in the country, except the Igbo of the South-east, had produced the country’s president.
Yakasai, in an interview that was monitored on Arise News, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, however, reminded the Igbos that it is their duty to go out and convince other Nigerians to join them to realise their aspiration to produce the country’s president next time around.
He said: “Nigeria had three major blocks. Two of these three namely, the North and the West have had the opportunity of producing the President.
Therefore, Igbos have a good argument because out of the three siblings, two have already succeeded at producing the President but the Igbos have not.
“They (the Igbo) deserve the sympathy of all Nigerians for them to get it in 2023 or later. My opinion is that this is not a matter that one will lie down and think that it will come to him. Effort is needed. How do you go about it? This can only be done by persuasion to convince other Nigerians about the need for an Igbo to emerge the President of Nigeria.
“I for one – I am in support of it. I did it before in the era of NPN (National Party of Nigeria) when we had the arrangement that the next president after late President Shehu Shagari would come from the East. We would have settled this problem long ago if not for the military intervention.
“So, I spoke in support of Igbo presidency. I did not want to fix a date because I am not in position to do that. I said that the Igbo should go out and lobby other Nigerians and try to get their concern and support to produce the president in 2023 and where they are not able to do that in 2023 they will put a trajectory for them to produce the President next time.”
The elder statesman also commented on the recent controversial ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the Imo State governorship election that turned the table against the former Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in favour of Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who has been sworn in as the incumbent governor of the state.
He said: “I made my views known long ago when the President Muhammadu Buhari started the move to remove the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). I spoke then that the due process of the law must be followed in the attempt to remove the former Chief Justice. My concern that time was that removing the CJN without the due process of the law would create a situation where President Buhari will have a Supreme Court of his own making that is there to dance to the tune of his music. And what is happening now, whether you like it or not, is creating the feeling that that is what that is happening to the country.
“My opinion is that the constitution is supreme and laws made by the National Assembly should be subordinate to the provision of the constitution. The intention of the constitution is that voters should determine who should govern them. We should ensure that those voters should enjoy the blessings of their votes. What happened in Imo State did not reflect this reality, which is that Nigerians should be given the opportunity to decide who will govern them at every tier of government and not the courts. I don’t think what happened was a good commentary on the Nigerian judiciary.”
He advised Ihedioha to seek a judicial review of the Supreme Court judgment.
The elder statesman also stated that Nigeria should dump the presidential system of government in preference for French parliamentary system, whereby the president is elected by the whole country and a prime minister nominated by the parliament that has power to call for the removal of the president. He said that this would solve the cumbersome process of changing government in Nigeria.
Yakasai also commented on the recent declaration by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, that Ametokun, the regional security outfit put in place by the governors of the South-west’s states was illegal. He advised the South-west governors to follow the example of Kano State that won the case in court against the federal government when it established the Hisbah.
Yakasai also advised the traditional rulers to submit themselves under the authority of the state governments, emphasising that the traditional institutions were not recognised by the country’s constitution, which is the reason the state governors have the power to sack them.