It was double trouble on Saturday for former Special Assistant on Media to the Governor of Kano State, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, as his sack by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje over a comment he made on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was followed by his arrest by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
A statement issued by the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, yesterday had indicated Yakasai was relieved of his appointment on account of his continued unguarded comments and utterances which were deemed contrary to the stand of the (APC) government under which he is serving.
Garba, who conveyed the Governor Ganduje’s directive, said Yakasai’s sack was with immediate effect, noting that the errant governor’s aide had failed to differentiate between personal opinion and official stand on matters of public interest.
Irked by the abduction of 317 female pupils of a secondary school in Zamfara State, Yakasai, in a post on Twitter, had described the APC government as a failure.
According to him, the fact that the incident occurred about a week after bandits also abducted some schoolboys in Kagara, Niger State showed that the APC government had failed in its primary responsibility, adding that the party could not continue to lament when tragedy occurs without taking any action to prevent a repeat.
He wrote: “Clearly, we as APC government at all levels have failed Nigerians in the number 1 duty we were elected to do, which is to secure lives & properties.
“Not a single day goes by without some insecurity in this land. This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign.
“Each time another tragedy happens, we lament, condemn, create a hashtag, the govt pretends to do something, no concrete steps to prevent re-occurrence, and then we repeat the process. To what end? Where are those saddled with the responsibility?
“Just last week, it was #freekagaraboys, today we have a new hashtag, #RescueJangebeGirls; who knows tomorrow what hashtag we will come up with? Perhaps one for ourselves when we get caught up in one of these daring attacks. This is sad & heartbreaking; I feel helpless & hopeless.”
Yakasai was previously suspended by Ganduje after his remark about Buhari during the #EndSARS protest only to be reinstated weeks after.
He had called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to either deal with bandits in the country or resign.
Angry reactions trail arrest of Yakasai
Shortly after his comments on Friday, Yakasai’s friends claimed that his whereabouts were unknown, prompting insinuations that he had been arrested by the DSS.
After initial denial, the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday admitted that Tanko-Yakasai was in their custody.
The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, said in a statement: “This is to confirm that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai is with the Department of State Services.
“He is being investigated over issues beyond the expression of opinions in the social media as wrongly alleged by sections of the public.”
A report to that effect yesterday drew angry reactions from individuals and groups across the country in spite of denial by the DSS that it neither invited nor arrested Yakasai.
One of the reactions came from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Yakasai.
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the reported arrest of Yakasai as well as his alleged detention as completely unacceptable.
“Salihu Yakasai’s ordeal is a sad reminder of the sudden disappearance of another known critic of the Buhari administration, Abubakar Idris, popularly known as Abu Hanifa Dadiyata, since August 2019”, the statement said.
The PDP reminded agents of the APC-led administration that Nigeria remained a democratic nation and that the rights of citizens, including their freedom of expression with in the ambit of the law, are firmly guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and that such rights must be respected.
The statement added: “Our party therefore rejects the arrest of Salihu Yakasai for joining other patriotic Nigerians in demanding a presidential commitment of a decisive action to rescue the abducted Zamfara schoolgirls as well as to end all acts of terrorism in our country.
“The PDP also condemns the decision of the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Umar Ganduje, in summarily relieving Salihu Yakasai of his appointment as his Special Adviser on media, on the ground that his patriotic demand for a decisive action to end terrorism was contrary to the stand of the APC government.
“It is also instructive to note that Governor Ganduje equally warned all political appointees and public servants in the state against such patriotic expressions like those made by Salihu (Yakasai).
“The action of Governor Ganduje has again heightened apprehensions on the alleged connections between APC leaders and the bandits pillaging our nation.
“In this regard, the PDP demands that Governor Ganduje comes clean on the matter.
“This is because such stances have continued to embolden bandits while frustrating patriotic citizens who are raising voices against acts of terrorism in our country.”
The PDP charged Nigerians to hold the APC and its leaders responsible for the escalated acts of banditry and terrorism in the country as well as any harm that may come the way of well-meaning citizens who are raising their voices against the activities of outlaws in the country.
Release Yakasai now, Fayose tells DSS
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose also called for the immediate release of Yakasai, describing his arrest as “another sad commentary on how low the APC-led Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has gone.”
In a series of tweets yesterday, the ex-governor commended Yakasai for being courageous enough to speak truth to power, saying, “this singular action has made him the latest hero of democracy, and in turn confirmed that there is hope for a united Nigeria.”
He said it was sad that Nigerians cannot criticise the same President Buhari, who did not only speak against his actions and inactions of his predecessors but also led protests.
Other Nigerians react
Many Nigerians also took to their Twitter yesterday to condemn Yakasai’s sack and arrest.
Naufal Ahmad [email protected] wrote: Dawisu (Yakasai) stuck his neck out for Ganduje when the whole world was against him. Now when it’s time to return the favour, Ganduje just used him as sacrificial lamb to seal his loyalty to Asorock. Shame!
J.J. Omojuwa said: Ganduje needed to show Abuja that his loyalty to Buhari remains intact, so he traded Dawisu to prove that. The same Dawisu that stood with Ganduje against everyone who came for him and even against reason at times. Dispensed with, whilst missing.
@Mohnice wrote: Whether Ganduje sacked Dawisu or not, he has said the truth about rot & hypocrisy & failure in APC govt at all levels. He’ll be very happy with his conscience for not being complicit in such heightened killing of innocent Nigerian citizens by under the watch of federal Govt .
POOJA…@PoojaMedia: He tweeted this & he was arrested this morning & just now, he has been sacked as an aide to Gov. Ganduje. What a country.
Idris Abdul Ahmed @Nrs Idreeserh wrote: Ganduje sacking Dawisu is the right thing to do but not the best time for it. He should have waited when dawisu has been located. I hope dawisu will be release soon and in good health so that he can continue to criticize the government.