Tanko Yakassai, a founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, has revealed that the north engaged in massive electoral fraud to elect President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election.
The elder statesman made this revelation while speaking to journalists during a visit to former military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, at his residence in Minna, Niger state on Sunday, April 15, 2018.
He said that unlike in the south where proper electoral conduct was adhered to, the north engaged in manipulative activities that notably included disenfranchising southerners in the region.
He said, “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.
“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.”
President Buhari made history when he defeated then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2015 presidential election by more than 2.5 million votes, the first time a sitting president lost an election in Nigeria. A bulk of his 15,424,921 votes came from the northern region.
Yakassai has been a critic of President Buhari’s administration and was a noted supporter of Jonathan in 2015. He was arrested and detained under the military regime of President Buhari in the 1980s.
Yakassai led the newly formed Northern Leaders Stakeholders Assembly to Babangida to inform him of the group’s objective of fostering unity and progress of the northern region.
Other people at Sunday’s meeting include Senator Joseph Waku, Alhaji Ghali Na Abba, Dr. Mohammed Data, Alhaji Abba Hana, Hajiya Inna Corona, Hajiya Zainab Main, Gimbia Rani, Alhaji Bala Mohammed and Dr. Umaru Babangida Aliyu, among others.