Nigerians need to know owners of oil blocs, financial institutions – Yakassai

2 Comments » April 21st, 2012 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



Nigerians need to know owners of oil blocs, financial institutions – Yakassai

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Written by Kola Oyelere, KanoSunday, 22 April 2012



Tanko YakassaiTanko Yakassai

Alhaji Tanko Yakassai is a former special adviser on National Assembly matters to former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He recently spoke withKOLA OYELERE on issues ranging from the Federal Government and Boko Haram dialogue deadlock, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s resignation as Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among other topical issues. Excerpts:


DO you think President Goodluck Jonathan is capable of ruling this country in view of the security situation he has been battling?
Well, the question of whether Jonathan is capable or not to rule the country doesn’t arise for now. The man is in power as elected president going by the declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he won the presidential election, whether he is capable of doing it or not is no longer an issue for now. I don’t think it is even proper to raise this question. If it was before the election, it might have been relevant. But after election had been concluded and he had won the race, having been declared winner, it is no longer proper and it is immaterial.

What do you have to say in respect of claims by Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari and Chief Edwin Clark that President Jonathan would be president for eight years? 
They are Nigerians; every Nigerian is entitled to his opinion and right to express his view without being restricted or denied by anybody. This is the beauty of democracy; we are entitled to our opinion; to our rights. So also are others entitled to their own views. It would not augur well to attack people over their opinion, because there is fundamental human right for people to say their view and belong to whichever association they wish, so far it is not against the corporate existence of the country

To some people, Yoruba are the problem of this country, in view of their demand and leading crusade for sovereign national conference (SNC). Do you agree with this?
It is not only the Yoruba that are agitating for SNC. The people demanding for SNC are from different parts of the country. Alhaji Balarabe Musa is not a Yoruba man, Ndubisi Kanu is not a Yoruba man, while the man who started it all, the late Anthony Enahoro was not a Yoruba man. It is not an issue for the Yoruba alone, but for Nigerians. The only thing is that SNC, as I have always said, is not feasible in a democracy; it is uncalled for in the present situation, because already, there is a constituted government in place.

It was alleged that dialogue between the Federal Government (FG) and the representatives of the Boko Haram hit a brick wall. What is your reaction to this?
It is unfortunate that the dialogue between the FG and the representatives of the Boko Haram was stalled. It was not alleged; it was fact that they engaged in dialogue. The representatives of Boko Haram walked out from the meeting on the ground that some of the secret issues they discussed were revealed by a party which was not present at the discussions. It is unfortunate, but I believe that sooner or later, the two sides have to go back to dialogue.

Recently, a member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said if the issue of Boko Haram was not urgently resolved, it was capable of breaking the country. Do you agree with him?

That statement was his opinion and not that of the ACF. When an individual makes a statement, you ascribe it to an organisation. It is only when an organisation sits down and considers an issue, decides on it and comes out with a statement by way of communiqué that it is proper to ascribe such statement to an organisation. An individual can say whatever he likes. That cannot be said of the general opinion of the organisation. If Biafra war could not break the country, Niger Delta restiveness could not tear the country apart and the incessant armed robbery and kidnapping could not do the same, therefore, I cannot see how an activity that is limited to just 20 out of 774 local government areas in the country can break it. Less than 20 local government areas in Nigeria are affected by Boko Haram.

As former President Olusegun Obasanjo resigned his appointment as chairman of Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some people have been reading meanings to his action. What is your reaction to the development?
I don’t suspect any hidden agenda; except that whether he resigns now or not, it is a matter of a few months time. He would relinquish that office because it is a one-term affair. However, I think what he did was a clever act of leaving the stage when the ovation is loudest, rather than waiting till the time when his tenure would have been exhausted. I don’t see any hidden agenda to that. What he said was that he wanted to devote more of his time to international callings or engagements. This excuse is not cogent, because if he spent five years holding that office and still engaged in his international activities, I cannot see what harm the remaining two or three months would do his international callings, if he remained chairman of BoT.

Different interpretations are being given to the recent election of Alhaji Bamagar Tukur as the chairman of the PDP. Former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, said it was not an election, but selection. How do you see it?
I did not read what IBB said, but going by the statement Dr. Shettima Mustapha made when announcing the decision of other contestants to withdraw, there was the impression that they did not withdraw on their own; they were pressurised to do so. And I don’t think that was a good example for democracy and transparency. If I were in position to advise it, I would have advised the PDP to allow everybody to contest, because the impression created now is that there was fear that if others were allowed to contest, one of them could have defeated Tukur. That very stigma would remain with Tukur forever. It may be true or not; the feeling would be there forever.

In view of that, do you subscribe to what some people said that he would be a stooge of President Jonathan and his supporters and make it possible for the president to secure a second term ticket?
If he becomes a stooge, he would lose respect and I think knowing him as a man of honour and considerable financial might, he would not like to be seen as a stooge because he is an international figure. As chairman of African Roundtable Conference, if he descends to being a stooge, his colleagues at that conference would look down upon him. And being a former a governor, being a former minister and foundation member of the PDP, I think he would like to maintain those pedigree and respect up till the end of his tenure.

Some people have said Tukur is being used to edge out former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the 2015 race. How do you see Alhaji Tukur and Atiku, coming from the same constituency, with regard to his (Atiku’s) presidential ambition?
Well, I never heard that Atiku made declaration for presidential election for 2015. So, to comment on that would be somehow or presumptuous and I don’t want to presume on this matter.

What is your reaction to the controversy over the church that was renovated by an oil company in President Jonathan home town?
To be honest, I am not impressed by the hues and cries over that matter. It was made clear that the company is not a contractor to the Federal Government, but to the Bayelsa State government. Everybody knows that the government that awarded contracts to that company was the government of the former governor of the state, Timipre Silva. And he was not in good term with President Jonathan then. I think to ascribe what a company patronised by the former governor of Bayelsa state did to President Jonathan is wrong.

If it is a company which is enjoying patronage of the Federal Government, it could have been a different matter. But the company was said to be a contractor to Baylesa government and as you know, the new governor had not started awarding contracts. Any contract awarded by the government then was awarded by the previous government of a governor who was not in good term with the incumbent president.

If you were a member of the PDP, who among Chief Tony Anenih, Alhaji Ahmadu Ali and Chief Alex Ekwueme would you like to succeed Chief Obasanjo as BoT chairman?
I am not a member of the PDP. However, the three of them are my friends. It is for members of the PDP to decide who is best among them. I would not like to mention any name; all of them are good for the post and they would each perform if given the chance to be there.

Northerners, such as Mai Deribe and Theophilus Danjuma, have been said to own oil blocs richer than those of Southerners put together.

How would you react to that belief that Northerners control the upstream sector of the oil business in Nigeria?
I saw a publication where names of Northerners who own the blocs were published, but the names of Southerners who also own oil blocs were not published. For me, anybody that wants to be honest and sincere should publish the entire lists of people who were allocated the oil blocs. Then, we would be able to decide which region has the lion’s share.

If you want to measure who benefits more from oil in this country, we can do that by the number of people who have shares in the banks, insurance companies and other big corporate bodies. Today, I understand that we have 22 banks that are said to be doing well.
Out of the 22, only one is owned by Northerners. Even that one, more than half of its shares are not owned by Northerners. Southerners control 21 out of the 22 banks in the country and I think there are only two insurance companies out of the 100 we have in Nigeria that are not owned by Southerners.

So, let us be honest; publish the list of all Nigerians who were granted oil blocs. Let somebody publish the list of all shareholders in all the Nigerian banks, shareholders in all Nigerian insurance companies and shareholders in all the major corporate bodies in the country. Then, we would be able to decide who has the lion’s share and who has not.


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2 Responses to “Nigerians need to know owners of oil blocs, financial institutions – Yakassai”

  1. Abbati Gumel says:

    I really commend our Father and Elder for being honest, sincere and trustworthy in his submission to the answers given. I appreciate the whole interview and look forward for another great achiever who will deliver same intelligent comments like that of Alh. Tanko Yakasai did. Thanks and regards.

  2. Abdulkarim gwam says:

    I appreciate the anwers to the Questions raised, they were very frank and sincer. Alh. Yakasai is truely an Elder States man.

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