The South-East must work hard and convince other parts of the country to accept its candidate for the presidency come 2023, Elder Statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has said.
Yakasai, a former Presidential Liaison Officer and founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF),spoke with newsmen after a closed door peace initiative by some eminent Nigerians at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
He said: “There is no reason to deny the South-East the opportunity to produce the presidential slot in 2023.
“The North, West have had it. It will not make sense to deny the South-East. But then, the Igbo have to work hard for power and convince people because it is a matter of numbers.
“They have to convince the rest of the country to accept whoever they put forward to be accepted, ” he said.
He said there was need for mass-based political parties that would be controlled by the masses and not by a few individuals.
“In our days, nobody ever claimed to be the owner of NPN, NCNC, NPP among others. The people must make sure they take ownership of the party.
“I hope the people will try to turn the parties to the masses. The mistake former President Olusegun Obasanjo made to say he was the national leader of a party killed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” he said.
Yakasai said that when ownership of power is controlled by entire members, the internal electoral process would become better.
“In our days, we pay to be members of our party. That way, no one or few persons can control the party. The beginning has a bearing on the process,” he said.
“Political parties must find a solution to do away with issues that will make the people sceptical, ” he said
On the “Amotekun” security outfit floated by governors of the South-West, Yakasai said arming the outfit was his major concern.
“If Amotekun is allowed, soon it may spill over to other regions and may become out of control when other regions come up with armed security outfits that may lead to uncontrollable situation in the country.
” Every Nigerian is interested in Nigerian project. Every Nigerian is benefitting from Nigeria as a nation,” Yakasai said.