Bello declares for presidency, unveils Zwingina, Hafsat Abiola in hope ’23 campaign
• Pledges To Sustain Buhari’s Legacy, Make 20m Nigerians Millionaires By 2030
• Says 2023 Polls About Nigeria’s Survival
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello yesterday formally declared to run for the office of the President in 2023, promising a wide range of social and political reforms that would improve the lives of Nigerians.
Specifically, Bello said he would be running on a broad political philosophy of progressive activism that would restore hope by providing security while promoting unity and progress of all Nigerians.
Bello, who would be contesting on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the declaration at an elaborate event at the Eagles Square in Abuja. His declaration was witnessed by the presence of dignitaries including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, Kogi State deputy governor, Edward Onoja, and former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, among others.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the presumed winner of the June 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, is to lead the governor’s presidential campaign organisation as Director-General. Interestingly too, the Director-General of the M.K.O. Abiola Campaign Organisation and former Senate Deputy Leader, Jonathan Zwingina, was named the national coordinator of the Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign.
While noting that the 2023 presidential elections would be about the survival of the country, Bello promised to build on the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reeling out some of his plans, the Kogi State governor promised to implement programmes that would make 20 million Nigerians millionaires by 2030. He called on Nigerians to assess his suitability to be president based on his scorecard in the state.
“Our focus will be proper management of our great diversity so that it can really be an advantage,” he said.
Bello noted that despite the dire challenges facing Nigeria today, no one could deny that President Buhari has given the country the greatest investments in public works, governance, housing and social services since the commencement of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
He added that the present administration has invested in the nation’s national security, saying, “The war against insecurity may be taking longer than earlier expected, but President Muhammadu Buhari has ensured that we have the resources to overcome the challenges.
“Also, it can’t be denied that under the APC government, Nigeria is pushing forward the most comprehensive proposals for restructuring since independence. The sum of government policies, the electoral act and other statutes enacted, and the ongoing amendment of our constitution, are fundamentally changing the way we do things.
“For instance, the average Nigerian governor now has more power on matters of insecurity, public transportation, taxation, fiscal federalism, electricity and so more, than any other time in our history. These are the legacies of Mr. President. They will help the next president take less longer and easier developmental strides provided Nigerians ensure that he is succeeded by one who is ready to consolidate. I have proven once again that I am the only one such successor in the APC line up for 2023.”
Bello explained that he was in the race to become president because he sees a bright light at the end of the tunnel for the nation. “I am not one of those who only see doom and gloom. It is my intention to take custody of that light to pierce the dark spot in our past and present by eliminating every gap in our nationhood and to fix them,” he said.
Highlighting his achievements in Kogi where, according to him, he has forged a polarised state into one that is both diverse and inclusive, Bello stressed that Nigeria’s next president must possess excellent record in successfully managing diversity.
Speaking how he would manage the challenge of insecurity, he assured that if elected, he would never tolerate non-state actors who take up arms against the nation. “I will be willing to listen to all sides and address all agitations fairly, especially those borne out of genuine imbalances in the treatment of citizens by the system. I will put a stop to existential mistreatment of any people among us.
Bello also noted that the path to national prosperity lies in pulling millions of Nigerians out of poverty. He therefore promised to build on the Buhari administration’s target of lifting 100m Nigerians out of poverty by the year 2030, by ensuring that his administration creates additional 20 million people by the same year 2030 with the aim that each of them will empower five other citizens.