IF former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, contests for the presidency in the next general election in 2023, the majority of the votes from the North will go to him, elder statesman and politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has said.
Yakassai, a former Liaison Officer to former President Shehu Shagari, described both Abubakar and former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, as potential 2023 presidential contenders.
Yakassai, who spoke during an interview at his residence in Kano, admired the presidential ambition of Tinubu, expressing optimism that the APC national leader would make a better president than Buhari. He, however, predicted that Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019, will defeat, Senator Tinubu should their parties present them as presidential candidates in the next general election.
He, however, said the principle of zoning and rotation is very important in Nigerian politics as long as the country is operating the presidential system of government. “This is particularly because the concentration of power lies with the Federal Government and the presidency.
It would be inappropriate to attempt to run the presidency by a single region for more than eight years,” he noted. According to Yakassai, Atiku and Tinubu will make “better” presidents but Atiku stands a better chance than Tinubu because of the numerical strength of the North.
He cited the former vice president’s nationwide political, social and business network, arguing that “if Atiku is contesting, the majority of the votes from the North will go to him.” He, however, appeared to be contradicting his positon on Atiku as he said it would be wrong for one region to hold on to the presidency consecutively for more than eight years.
He warned the ruling party against zoning the presidency to the North, saying that since President Muhammadu Buhari is in his second term, which will terminate in 2023, “it is only fair for the APC to shop for a presidential candidate from the South.”
The First Republic politician and a foundation member of the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), however, contended that Tinubu remains the best choice for the APC in 2023 He recalled that at the expiration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure in 2007, “despite pressures from his brothers in the South, he presented the late President Umaru Yar’Adua from the North because he is from the South. That was fair enough.”
According to him, “Buhari had got the opportunity when he was military head of state, combining two powers to himself – executive and legislative. He was the one signing decrees, and yet, for two years, apart from his War Against Indiscipline (WAI), I cannot remember what else he did.”