I’ll support return to 1963 constitution, says Tanko Yakasai

Alhaji Tanko Yakasai

Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai has declared that he would gladly support re-introduction of the 1963 constitution as a way of finding solution to Nigeria’s political restructuring challenges.

The 94 years old said the current constitution is not working and protested against insinuation that the current political arrangement favours the North.

Yakasai made this known at a virtual zoom conference organised by Governance Index at the weekend, titled: “The coronavirus pandemic, is it time to re-evaluate the political structure?”

He declared that those clamouring for political restructuring have failed to come forward with a blueprint of their ideas so that other people can reason along with them. He added that he is not afraid of restructuring.

His words: “I am not afraid of restructuring. What I am saying is that I want to know from the sponsors of this idea what we need to put down for Nigerians. I don’t see any reason to be afraid. I have never been afraid of an idea that I find does not tally with mine. I will propose mine, and if somebody thinks that something is wrong and not working, is it not for him to articulate a substitute in place of the one that is not working?

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“Nigeria has been operating this federation for more than 60 years even before we gained independence. Now, if we can operate something for 60 years and that thing is not working, is it not fair to tell the people that this is why we feel the thing is not working?

“Up till now, people are saying restructuring is good, but they have never told anybody what is the benefit of restructuring. I swear to God, I will support going back to 1963 constitution, but I don’t want to take people for granted that under the present arrangement, the North have advantage in terms of representation in the National Assembly. Enough of that, we are talking about the future of our children, grandchildren and the future generation of this country.”

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He said that there have been occasions where the North discussed the issue of restructuring, imploring promoters of the restructuring to publish a white paper in the media for people to read what restructuring will look like.

Speaking about the 2014 National Conference, Yakasai said former President Goodluck Jonathan failed to come up with a white paper that would have ensured that anybody who takes over from him would consider it.

“The 2014 conference was initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan. I happened to be in that conference. Till tomorrow, I have never been against Jonathan. I fought for him, when he has never met me. I only met him three times, two times in public and only once privately on a different matter.

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“But, I am surprised that Jonathan did not issue a white paper of the summary of the recommendations of the conference and submit it as a document of the government that set it up, so that when anybody takes over, it has a white paper well prepared for him.”He stated that he has never supported Muhammadu Buhari for the office of the president because he knew Buhari was incompetent and declared that the president’s performance in office has proved him right.

Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (UK) chapter, Dr. Philip Ideawor lamented that the present structure is not working because there is too much power at the centre, adding that every part of Nigeria has the potential to become wealthy if properly governed.

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