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Jonathan lost when North scared southern voters, Yakassai insists

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Tanko Yakassai

• ‘Islamic clerics preached religion against him’
Outspoken Northern elder and former Presidential Adviser, Tanko Yakassai, has made further disclosure on how the north rigged the 2015 elections and why former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election bid.

He insisted that the north scared away southerners living in the region before the general elections by preaching religion and failing to adhere strictly to the use of card reader machines.

Yakassai, who featured as a guest yesterday on a television programme, went on to list a number of reasons why former President Jonathan could not win re-election.

According to him, “the last day, a Friday preceding the presidential election, many Islamic clerics in the north told their followers during the Juma’at prayers that they should vote for a candidate that will protect their culture and religion without mentioning any name.”

He explained that the message was clear, Muslims were being told to reject Jonathan and this was reflected in the way many of them voted the next day.

The statesman said this development created tension in the north with many southerners who had registered to vote in the region feeling unsafe and left for their states in the south.

While the south stuck to the use of card readers for the election, he stressed that in Kano State where incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari received about two million votes, election organisers did not strictly enforce the use of card readers in the state.

Yakassai re-echoed his position that the country is currently stagnated because Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) are ill-prepared to govern.

He maintained his support for Jonathan saying he wanted him to win re-election to keep faith with the traditional alliance between the north and south-south regions.

Meanwhile, with 303 days left for the conduct of the next general elections in 2019, chairman of the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmud Yakubu, has warned staff of the commission against graft.

He spoke yesterday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja during the swearing in of seven newly appointed resident electoral commissioners (RECs).

Yakubu told the new entrants that they would be responsible for the implementation of the commission’s policies, adding that in doing so, they will exercise supervisory control over personnel, resources as well as the legal and administrative processes in the states where they will be posted, as none of them would be posted to their home states.

The new commissioners are, Baba Abba Yusuf, Segun Agbaje and Usman Abdurahaman. Others are Yahaya Bello, Emmanuel Alex Hart, Muhammed Magaji Ibrahim and Cyril Omorugba.

The INEC boss charged them to maintain the required openness and consultation with the people and at the same time remain very firm and courageous on the side of the law as well as the regulations and guidelines at all times as the law requires of an unbiased umpire.


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Tanko Yakassai
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