Elder statesman and prominent politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has disclosed that massive rigging took place in the North in the 2015 general elections.
Yakassai revealed the electoral fraud to journalists when he led the newly formed Northern Leaders Stakeholders Assembly to former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, at his Uphill Mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital yesterday.
He cited instances of manipulation in the elections. According to him, while the electronic voting was religiously observed in the southern part of the country, it was not so observed in the north.
He remarked: “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.”
The 2015 election led to the emergence of Major- General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), a northerner, as president while the then incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, lost.
Earlier at the meeting with Babangida, he lamented that most leaders of northern extraction had for long taken the support of northerners for granted, stressing that henceforth, it would not be business as usual.
Yakassai said they were at Babangida’s house to inform the former leader of the objectives of the organisation dedicated to the unity and progress of the north.
Babangida praised the efforts of the group and assured them of his support as long as they worked for the unity of Nigeria.
Also at the meeting were 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.
- A report of The Guardian