By ‘Dotun Akintomide
A third republic presidential adviser to Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai has opened up on how certain unwholesome practices led to the alleged massive rigging that took place in the North during the last 2015 general elections.
The elder statesman who is the Chairman of the Northern Leaders’ Stakeholders Assembly (NLSA) revealed that while the electronic voting was religiously observed in the southern part of the country, “it was not so observed in the north.”
Yakassai made the disclosure to journalists Sunday, when he led the members of the newly formed NLSA to former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, at his Uphill Mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital.
In his words: “When the electronic voting was introduced, I was in support of it, but I observed what happened in the 2015 general election and I changed my mind.
“This is because it was religiously observed in the southern part of the country, but it was not so religiously observed in the northern parts of the country. It was from that moment that I began to have some reservations about the electronic voting pattern.”
Yakasssai noted that there were instances where Southerners living in the North were forced to abandon their residences around where they registered to vote, due to threats, leading to them being disenfranchised deliberately on voting day, in what he termed another way of rigging.
“There are many ways of rigging election. What happened in 2015 where the majority of southerners resident in the north were scared away from their places of residence, where they had registered, to their place of origin and therefore could not have the opportunity to vote, was rigging.
“Again some of the southerners who did not run away were afraid to come out and vote on the day of election. So scaring people from coming out to vote for the candidates of their choice is also a form of rigging.” He explained.
Speaking on his group’s visit to Minna, Yakassai said they were at Babangida’s house to inform the erstwhile leader of the objectives of the organisation dedicated to the unity and progress of the north.