25th July, 2015
Alhaji Salihu Abubakar Tanko Yakasai ventured into politics in the early 50s, when he joined the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union, NEPU. He served as Commissioner for Information, Kano State, 1967 to 1971 and was later moved to the Ministry of Forestry, Community Development and Cooperatives where he served as Commissioner from 1971 to 1972. From there, he became the Commissioner for Finance, a position he held till 1975.
In the Second Republic, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai served ex-president Shehu Shagari as Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters. The elder statesman was also a chieftain of National Party of Nigeria, NPN in the Second Republic. In 2002, he resigned from All Peoples Party, APP, where he served as chairman, Strategy and Planning Committee and member, Elders’ Committee of the party. Yakasai who participated in the 1994 Constitution conference is also a delegate in the 2014 Confab.
He spoke to MADUABUCHI NMERIBEH on why the United States refused to help Nigeria during the administration of the immediate-past President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. And he advised Nigerians to shine their eyes over the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to President Barak Obama.
What is your feeling about the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari and his entourage to the United States recently?
The visit opened a new chapter in Nigeria/US, relationship; which was put in the cooler during the tenure of the immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Now, let me tell you one truth, there were many views as to why the US decided to downplay her relationship with Nigeria. These views entailed the decision of the US Government to withdraw her interest to buying Crude Oil from Nigeria.
When President Barak Obama and his people withdrew their patronage from Nigeria’s oil market, there were many speculations on the reason for that decision—one of which was the demand by the US government for former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to veto the anti-gay legislation enacted by the National Assembly; and the alleged demand by the US for ex-president Jonathan to remove the immediate-past Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Allison-Madueke from his cabinet. This alleged demand from the USA came, also, at the heels of the alleged refusal of Deziani to toe the line preferred by the US at Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC.
Do you think the US should be accused for ex-President Jonathan’s fall at the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria?
It is generally believed that the US played some roles albeit the subtle politicking that led to the downfall of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria. Now, that Jonathan is no more in power, I tell you that the resumption of cordial relationship between Nigeria and the US should be seen as a positive development, particularly, with the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari (the man they preferred to rule Nigeria) as the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Now, the US government has promised that they will help Nigeria in conquering Boko Haram and other socio-economic problems. Why now?
I must tell you that the refusal of the US to assist Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram during ex-President Jonathan’s administration is inhuman in my views; because as by doing that, the US government had assisted in reducing the capacity of the Jonathan administration to deal with Boko Haram insurgency, effectively. In fact, I regard that action by the US as a passive support for the insurgents; and this passive support to the insurgents by the US resulted in the killings and maimings of hundreds of thousands of innocent Nigerians and the destruction of their property.
This is so, because the reasons adduced by the US that the Nigerian Armed Forces were guilty of human rights abuses were not proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Again, the verdict passed by the Amnesty International against the Nigerian Armed Forces was not adjudged by any Court of Competent jurisdiction or in any Court of Law, for that matter.
Let me also remind you that this is not the first time the US and its allies refused to support Nigeria in its hour of need; they only repeated what they did to Nigeria during the Civil War.
Even before President Muhammadu Buhari and his entourage left Nigeria to visit President Barak Obama and his Government, there were outcries over the gay-marriage issues. You know as much as I do that the US remains passionate over the legalization of gay-marriage in Nigeria. Don’t you think President Buhari may finally dance to their tune?
Now, with the enormous problems that will confront President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, it will be very difficult for Buhari to create more enemies in Nigeria by agreeing to dance to the tune of the US over the gay issue; and emphatically, with the opposition of both Christian and Muslim organizations in Nigeria, to that issue; it will be very difficult for him.
What do you want Nigerians to do?
One thing I know is that in the Foreign Policy of the US nothing goes for nothing! What Nigerians should do is to put their eyes on the future policies and programmes of President Buhari’s administration with a view to discovering where such policies and programmes will tilt towards meeting the aspirations, ambitions, and demands of the United States and Nigeria as a sovereign nation.