From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Elder Statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai has sharply disagreed with British historian and former Colonial Official, Harold Smith, that the British rigged the 1959 General Elections in Nigeria to permanently domicile political power in the North.
Yakasai, the ex-Political Adviser to Second Republic President, the late Shehu Shagari, described Harold Smith as a “liar,” “novies,” and a machinery sponsored to distort Nigeria history.
Yakasai who was reacting to recent references made to Harold Smith’s position that the British colonial government actually rigged the 1959 election in favour of the North, maintained that there was no iota of truth and verification to such postulation.
According to him, “I would advise people never to believe that rubbish from that former British colonial official Harold Smith that British rigged the 1959 General Elections for the North to control Nigeria. It is a bunch of lies and disjointed attempt to ravish our country and her history.
“That man was a hired agent recruited to do that dirty job to entertain whoever was responsible for hiring him to do his bidding. I read this story long time before and dismissed it out of hand and never bothered to react to it in the belief that no sensible person who is familiar with Nigeria will ever believe the rubbish he spewed.
“I thought Nigerians will follow the footsteps of Dr. now Professor Alkasum Abba of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, who studied Nigerian political history for over thirty years now, when he dismissed the stuff outright.”
The foremost northern leader regretted that, “but unfortunately, the story is still making the rounds. Our younger generation, particularly some of the elite, is not following the footsteps of Professor Alkasum Abba on this matter. I refer to his article in responding to Harold Smith with a title: “The Rigging of Nigerian History” published in 2007, ZAHIR, Journal of History Research, ABU, Zaria, volume 2 number 1.”
The foundation member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), further pointed out that, “if the British rigged the 1959 elections just in order to handover Nigeria to the North, who did the rigging for them in subsequent elections?
“Check the census figures from 1921, 1931 and 1952 conducted by the British and the subsequent ones conducted by Nigerian Governments since 1963.”
He argued that, “the North has more than 50 percent of Nigeria’s population since 1911 census which was conducted during the lifetime of the two original protectorates, Northern and Southern Protectorates that existed upto 1914 when the two protectorates were merged into the present day Nigeria, meaning that they have more population and therefore more voters, and politics is an excercise of numbers.”
According to him, “if such world renown American academics as Professor James Coleman and Professor Emeritus Richard Scalar who both closely studied and wrote extensively on Nigeria’s struggle for self- determination from colonial rule and nationalism would all not see and reflect this aspect of rigging elections in their great scholarly works, then surely it exists only in the warped minds of those who want it to exist.
“A third rate colonial Labour Official with questionable integrity and who failed to graduate in university cannot change Nigeria’s national historic truth.”