Kano-based elder statesman, Tanko Yakassai, has given his thought on the possibility of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, defeating the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in the 19 northern states in the February 25 presidential election.
Yakassai also explained during an exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER why he would not support Atiku Abubakar to win the presidency this year.
The nonagenarian who is a vocal supporter of Tinubu and the power shift to the south said it’s impossible for him to know the states where Tinubu could win in the north because of the northerners who would also be on the ballot.
The frontline northern presidential candidates in the election are Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Responding to a question on the states Tinubu could win, he said, “I don’t know where he will win; I did not go round the North to be able to answer that, but I have already made my calculations a long time ago, and I said what Tinubu requires is 50% of the Northern votes but we don’t know which one will come to his side.
“So, he has to go round the North to look for votes. As he goes around, he will reach a point of either deciding that ‘Yes, I am now sure of controlling 50% of the votes’ or not. But if he is sure, he can’t tell us otherwise the outsiders will begin to chip in from all around.The 50% is the minimum number for him in the North.
“South-West is sure for him and he can get the required numbers in the South-South and South-East. Don’t forget that what you require is the majority of the votes from one zone, once you have that, you qualify for the 25% in other zones. “
On why he is supporting Tinubu and not any of the northern candidates, Yakassai said he supported power shift to the south, adding that he also promised himself that he would support any presidential candidate who is first to seek his support.
“I knew there would be candidates, so I said the first requirement is that it must be somebody who comes to me, and gives me my right as an elder statesman, someone who respects me. That man has respected me, and my personality, that is the driving force for my support.
“Tinubu came to me, came into my house, and he begged me for my support. I assured him that he would have it, and I promised him my support there and then. Then I announced that Tinubu is now my candidate because he was the person who came to my house and asked for my support. And when I made the decision to support whoever comes to me first, I did not tell anybody. Not my children or my wife, I just kept it in my heart, and he happened to come first,” he explained.
The elder statesman said the election would be between the PDP and the APC candidates, claiming that NNPP and the Labour Party do not have the required national spread.
Asked whether his support for Tinubu could translate to votes on election day, he said, “I am not playing politics now. I will never call anybody in Nigeria to support any candidate, even my wife and children, they all support candidates of their choice. All I am saying is that I support Tinubu and I have said why, that’s all.”
However, he said Governor Nasir El-rufai’s support for Tinubu shows that the northern governors of the APC are behind him. He recalled El-rufai’s recent attack against some unnamed people hiding behind the presidency to sabotage the APC presidential campaign as evidence.
“Tinubu was the first one to say that these changes are plans against him, didn’t you read it? So, he has said it before El-Rufai. Tinubu said something, El-Rufai concurred, for him to get a governor like El-Rufai to say it, then you know he has other governors on his side,” he said.