Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum and elder statesman, has announced that he would back the All Progressives Congress’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023.
Tinubu paid the elder statesman a visit at his Abuja residence on Wednesday.
Yakasai told Saturday PUNCH that the former Lagos governor was at his Abuja apartment to request his support for his (Tinubu’s) presidential ambitions in the upcoming general elections.
Recently, posters and billboards advertising Tinubu’s alleged presidential run have been spotted in major cities including Lagos and Abuja.
Though Tinubu has not declared his desire to run for any office in 2023, there have been speculations and hints that he may be interested in the elevated position.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched the South-West Agenda 2023 in October, a political campaign mobilizing support for Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023.
Tinubu, who will turn 69 in March 2021 and has an arguably sizable following of political loyalists, has been rumored to be eyeing the presidency in 2023, even as political debates over a southern president intensify following the eight-year tenure of the incumbent, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), a Katsina State native.
Between July and October 2021, while Tinubu was in the United Kingdom for knee surgery and physiotherapy, over 50 lawmakers paid him a visit at his London house, including the President, six governors, dozens of senators and House of Representatives members.
In October, the House of Representatives’ Northern Caucus, led by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase, paid a get-well visit to the APC leader in London and expressed support for Tinubu’s stated presidential ambitions in 2023.
Yakasai, 96, told Saturday PUNCH on Friday that he had chosen two politicians to support for the presidency in 2023.
He has stated, however, that he has no intention of entering politics, although he does have the constitutional right to support any candidate of his choosing.
When asked if he intended to join the ruling party following Tinubu’s visit, Yakassai responded, “I have no intention of joining any (political) party, but I can support any candidate of my choosing.” I stated in 1951 that I would not join a political party but would support a candidate of my choice.”
On Tinubu’s visit, the elder statesman stated, “He (Tinubu) came to pay me a visit, but I have two of them (presidential hopefuls) that I have identified from the start, and I made a vow that whoever came to ask for my support first would be the person I would back.” Tinubu is the first individual.”
When asked if Tinubu informed him of his intention to run for President in 2021, Yakasai stated, “He (Tinubu) did and he solicited my support.”
However, Yakasai stated that he did not inform Tinubu during the visit that he would support his desire.
He also stated that interested candidates must first clear the difficulties of their respective political parties’ primary elections “before we can begin comparing them.”