ELDER-STATESMAN Tanko Yakasai led a body known as Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly, NLSA, as Chairman, to inaugurate five committees, Wednesday, in Abuja. The committees are on Security, Politics, Northern Unity, Elections and Restructuring, with mandate to strategize on peaceful conducts of 2019 elections, restructuring and security in the north.
Yakasai said at the inauguration that the Northern Leaders Assembly, NLSA, was not formed to find a consensus presidential candidate from the north for 2019 elections. But part of the committees’ terms of reference; suggest that the committees’ work, inadvertently, includes identifying the political leadership line the north would toe.
Among the terms of reference is that the committees would advice on how the region can build a strong political force; chart a united direction for the north toward the 2019 election and identify possible alliance blocks in the southern part of the country for 2019 election.
Yakasai said: “The objective of this assembly is to principally focus on a strategy towards evolving a brighter future, economically viable, politically stable and united northern Nigeria. The challenges of Boko Haram, ethno-religious, communal crises and herders-farmers conflicts in the North as well as kidnapping and armed robberies all over the north pose a serious challenge to our nation”.
He further said: “I am, however, glad that one of the sub-committees inaugurated will be addressing these security challenges. I believe that in addition to other areas of focus, the relevant committees will give insightful recommendations and assessment of the present day political reality of our country”.
“Such recommendations will catalyze our dialogue on how we proceed towards achieving efficient and rancour free electioneering activities in the coming 2019 presidential and other elections for the sake of peace and tranquility.’’ He added.
February 10, 2018, at a meeting co-convened by northern leaders and Bello Mohammed, former Minister of Defence; Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Deputy Senate President and Senator Paul Wampana, discussed the perennial challenges in the north.
Tanko Yakasai, 92, a former National Assembly Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari, never hid his aversion for the present administration and its leadership. He supported former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in 2015, against the candidate of Muhammadu Buhari.
Recent media reports quoted Yakasai to have said that he warned Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari lacked five critical elements of leadership which has affected his administration. The five necessary ingredients, according to Yakasai, include — capacity, competence, vision, planning and integrity. He said they are absent in the president, and President Buhari never prepared to lead the country.
Yakasai words: “I’m 92 now, and if at 92, I cannot use my common sense when I will deploy it again? When I made that statement against Buhari, it was attack from left right and centre, insult here and there, particularly from this part of the country. Since then, I have kept quiet because I knew I would be vindicated one day. I don’t have any more to add”.
“What I said is now confirmed by events. What I said then was that President Buhari was not prepared to govern and that his party has no programme for Nigeria, and it happened. Why should I waste my time anymore?”
“I said it; you have seen and every other Nigerian has seen it. Why can’t I rest and I deserve some rest, and I will allow them to do the talking. I did the talking when it was necessary for me to do and now, it is no longer necessary because Nigerians are doing the talking now”.
Ibrahim Mantu, member of NLSA, said it has become imperative for Northerners to forge united front irrespective of their religious and cultural differences. While Umar Ardo, NLSA Secretary, added that one of the objectives of the assembly was to establish a wide and enduring political network and channel of communication for consultations and dialogue among Northern political elite.
Chairmen of the committees are Senator Joseph Akaagerger [Security], Boni Haruna [Politics], Jeremiah Useni [Northern Unity], Ghali Umar Na’abba [Elections] and Auwalu Yadudu [Restructuring]. The committees have March 31, to submit their reports.