A former Adviser to President Shehu Shagari, Tanko Yakasai, has said former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is a Nigerian citizen.
The elder statesman was reacting to a recent application by the APC at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal that Atiku was unfit to contest for the office of the President of Nigeria in this year’s presidential election because he is Cameroonian.
In a statement released to newsmen in Kano, Yakasai stated that Atiku is qualified to hold any public office in Nigeria.
He said: “It is, therefore, strange for leaders of the ruling party in Nigeria, the APC, to claim that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is not qualified to seek to be the President of Nigeria.
“This is a display of ignorance of the highest order on Atiku’s status, as enshrined in our Constitution. In fact, APC is the least among political parties in Nigeria to make such an 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 also recalled that “before October 1, 1960, both 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 dates back to the period of World War I. Prior to that war, some parts of the old Adamawa Emirate were occupied by Germans.
“Southern and Northern Cameroons were parts of the territories colonised by the Germans along with Togoland, Tanganyika, Southwest Africa, which we now call Namibia.
“That was after the partition of Africa in 1884/1885. After the conquest of Germany in 1919, territories under German occupation were taken over by the newly formed League of Nations and were assigned to different colonial powers as Mandated Territories. Tanganyika, Southwest Africa, and Southern and Northern Cameroons were mandated to Britain.
“Citizens of the mandated territories were accorded the same rights and privileges as citizens of the colonies. Britain decided to administer its mandated Cameroons as part of Nigeria. Their citizens of the colonial mandated territories had the same rights and privileges as citizens of colonial Nigeria.”
Yakasai added: “In 1946, with the demise of the League of Nations and the emergence of the United Nations (UN), the Mandated Territories were taken over by the new world body and reassigned to the same colonial powers as Trusteeship Territories. Still, Britain continued with administrative structures of the territories as same.
“Before Nigerian independence, many citizens of the trusteeship territories held important public offices 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 passport. They also served, among others, as Nigeria’s Federal and regional ministers and other civil service and public offices in the country.
“After independence, they 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 was 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.”