IN a State where most political analysts, statesmen chose to be silent about the woes of a nation under any administration be it colonial, military and civilian rule, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai remains a controversial Nigerian politician and human rights activist who has damned the consequences of opposing the powers that be, by saying things the way it ought to be, right from the colonial era.
This antagonistic disposition has cost him several detentions by serving administration since the colonial rule to military regime and civil rule.
The former Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari and a founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum was once asked his thought on President Buhari’s violation of court order. Yakasai in his unbiased view maintained that unless the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration engages in a massive national transformation programme Nigeria would fail as a nation.
Born on December 5, 1925 in the Yakasai Quarters city of Kano, he once worked as Hausa Editor, Daily Comet, Kano 1954–1960. In 1966–1967 he was the Sales Manager AGIP Nigeria Ltd, Kano Area Office. In 1967–197, he served as Commissioner for Information, Kano State. In 1971–1972, he was the Commissioner for Forestry, Community Development and Cooperatives, Kano State. In 1972–1975, he was made Commissioner for Finance, Kano State. In 1973–1975 & 2012-2015, he was a member of Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. In 1979–1983 he was Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Liaison.
His persecution: Due to his selfless lifestyle as an activist, between 1953 and 1986, Yakasai was tagged as one of the most persecuted politicians in the history of Nigerian political activism and this subjected him to arrests and detentions on ten different occasions.
During the colonial era, the Kauren Ganye of Aramawa was arrested and detained four times. During the first Republic he was also arrested four times and two times during military regime: one each under the (1983 to 1985) regime of General Muhammad Buhari and (1985 to 1993) regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Asked in an exclusive interview with Vanguard on his views on President Buhari’s violation of court order, he maintained that the media in Nigeria ought to have taken very seriously their role as the fourth estate of the realm and as the watchdog of the society.
He said: “The (media) ought to have been outspoken very strongly on how the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, was removed and replaced without due process. The media ought to have come up with a strong campaign against it so that they won’t be able to carry out their plan. Without the support of the media we cannot achieve success with the rule of law”.
Yakasai is one core elder statesmen honoured with Officer of Federal Republic, OFR, who still believes Nigeria is not a failed state. “The only thing is that the government is not meeting up to the expectation of the people. There is still law and order in this country. However the government is not doing well. They unnecessarily convict people that oppose them, children are out of schools, it’s not a crime but the government ought to address it.
“In addressing these problems, there must be a national initiative. The only government in the history of Nigeria that attempted to address it is the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan who started almajirai schools when he realised that the problem in the North is lack of education. Jonathan created 12 universities during his administration and cited nine of them in the North so as to accelerate education. Unfortunately, when this government came, they didn’t even care to continue in that regard.”
Alhaji Yakasai’s resounding views on Nigeria’s political landscape during the colonial era, military dictatorial rule and the civil rule endeared him as a delight of newsmen across Nigeria and it’s diaspora on Nigeria’s politics.