Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has said the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is qualified to contest for the office of president, adding that he is a bonafide Nigerian citizen.
Yakasai said this in response to allegations from the legal team of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Election Tribunal, that Atiku is not a Nigerian.
They aver that the former vice president is a Camerounian.
Yakasai, in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Kano, yesterday, said it is “strange for leaders of the APC to claim that Atiku is not qualified to seek to be the president of Nigeria. This is display of ignorance of the highest order of Atiku’s status; as enshrined in our Constitution. In fact, APC is the least among political parties in Nigeria to make such unpatriotic statement.
“There are people sponsored by the party who contested and won elections to elective offices and are, today, occupying such positions. Atiku is equally or even better qualified to hold any public office in Nigeria than some of such people.”
He recalled that “before October, 1, 1960, Southern and Northern Cameroons were trusteeship territories under Nigeria in accordance with Article 76(b) of the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement of 1946. This situation dated back to the First World war. Prior to that war, some part of the old Adamawa Emirate were occupied by Germans. Southern and Northern Cameroons were part of territories colonised by the Germans, along with Togoland, Tanganyika, Southwest Africa, which we now call Namibia.
“That was after the partition of Africa in 1884/85…
“Before Nigerian independence, many citizens of the Trusteeship Territories held important public offices both at Federal and regional levels in Nigeria. Other than the fact they were elected members of parliament and regional Houses of Assembly, making laws for Nigeria, holding Nigerian International Passports, they also served among other things as Nigeria’s federal and regional ministers and other civil service and public offices in the country.
“After independence, they both decided their future in plebiscites. Those in the Eastern Region chose to merge with the Republic of Cameroon, while those in the North decided to remain with Nigeria. The area of Northern Cameroon, after the plebiscite, were declared as the 13th province of northern Nigeria.
“The province chose a name for itself. The name adopted was Sardauna Province. Jada, together with other areas formally known as Northern Cameroon Province, now became known as Sardauna Province.
“Atiku is an indigene of Adamawa, whose father was an indigene of Sokoto and his mother, a bonafide indigene of Adamawa and many indigines born before and after him have been accorded full recognition as Nigerians.”