Yahaya Bello’s audacity of courage
When recent political events in Nigeria are enumerated, and the personalities that shaped these happenings are considered in proper perspectives, one name that would strike significant reckoning is Yahaya Adoza Bello, governor of the confluence state of Kogi and a young Nigerian that is redefining governance and political maverism. The amiable business man turned politician has not only managed to turn around the fortunes of his state but also shown that his tacit political thoughts with a band of ardent followership deserve adequate emphasis.
Bello, who was declared winner of the 2015 Kogi State Governorship Election after he was chosen on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the replacement of Abubakar Audu, substantive candidate who died on the day of election, had gone on to chart a political trajectory that has distinguished him among his contemporaries. His inauguration as governor in Kogi, after a judicial validation became a subject of speculation, with many quarters insinuating that his youthfulness and limited political exposure would hamper on any development aspirations. The man has not only proved his mettle and proved pessimists wrong, he went on to initiate landmark development projects to better the lots of his people.
While his administration in Kogi has come under intense scrutiny from pundits and detractors alike generating some controversies, it is to Governor Bello’s credit that the confluence state has begun to reclaim her rightful place on a peer review. Under his administration, Kogi’s infrastructural outlook is witnessing a transformation with ultramodern facilities like the Ganaja Flyower giving the state capital a modern look; Lokoja township landscaping with street lights; reconstruction of Specialist Hospital Lokoja; establishment of the Confluence University in OSara; construction of the Kogi Revenue House in Lokoja; the construction of the Kogi State Civic Centre and many other strides visible for any sincere fact finder.
The fact that Bello’s indelible footprints extend beyond Lokoja and dot around every corner of Kogi state is another testament to his administrative acumen. Physical infrastructure projects like healthcare revalidation including the building and equipping of Kogi State Specialist Hospital in Okene; Modern General Hospitals in Gebu, Eganyi and Esalu; township roads constructions and rehabilitations in Idah, Anyigba, Okene and Kabba; the Okpo-Olamaboro road construction and other legacy projects has written Governor Bello’s name in gold in the hearts of majority of the people of Kogi.
As Nigeria grapples with the unbecoming tides of insecurity with kidnapping and bandictry terrorising the citizenry, Governor Bello has been ingenious in creating a relatively safe haven within Kogi State. His tact in this direction made him an envy among his colleagues, who sought to replicate the kogi formula to engender safety and peace within the confines of their respective states. This exemplary courage to fight insecurity to the barest minimum qualifies the amiable state executive to statesmanly status.
While physical development of Kogi under the stewardship of Governor Bello could be described as sterling, the improved social development indices viz-a-viz gender balance and affirmation, youths and women empowerment and social welfare packages for physically challenged and elderly members of the society are no mean feats. Kogi today could boast of gender affirmation that puts females in strategic leadership positions at par with their male counterparts, a youth oriented governance that has seen youths like Edward Onoja and Abdulkarem Asuku, deputy governor and chief of staff respectively making their marks, and an all inclusive government where every strata of the Kogi society feeling carried along.
Bello is setting a precedence in governance that other state governments should emulate for the good of their people.
When governor Bello formally declared to run for president in early April at an event with robust attendance at the Eagles Square after a period of intense consultations that saw him crisscross the entirety of the country, he assured that he was in the race to make a difference, that he saw a bright shining light at the end of the tunnel for Nigeria and that he would bring his experience as an administrator per excellence to bare.
“I am running for president because I see a bright light shinning at the end of the tunnel for our nation. I am not one of those who see only doom and gloom. It is my intention to take custody of that light and pierce to pierce the dark spots in our past and present by eliminating every gap in our nationhood and fixing them.
“I will ensure that the light is handed over in due course to successors who will be trustworthy of our great future which the federal government led by me will build,’’ he had assured. His inspiring speech that day indicated a preparedness to tackle the cacophony of issues that combines to threaten the bond of nationhood that binds Nigeria together. He had a plan to use the carrot-and-sticks approach to deal with non state actors bearing arms and terorrizing hapless citizens, he had an enviable plan to create 20 million Nigerians as millionaires so they could in turn empower others through a National Blockchain taskforce (NBTs) to develop and implement a trailblazing policy for Nigeria in harnessing the potentials of cryptocurrencies, the metaverse, NFTs and blockchain technology. This is one man who knew the demands of modern times.
While the eventual outcome of the presidential primaries of the APC did not go Bello’s way, even his detractors would accept that he had stamped his feet as a giant in the game. When other aspirants were falling over themselves to step down their aspirations to ensure the emergence of a particular contender, the Kogi governor kept faith with his plans for a better Nigeria to the end of that process and won even more hearts. This is sheer political audacity: the tendency to show requisite integrity and commitment towards one’s conviction and demonstrate the strength of character.
With the presidential primaries gone by, it is instructive for the organs of Governor Bello’s party and Bola Tinubu, its standard-bearer to rally around his ideas and exploit his proximity to ordinary Nigerians, especially an army of teeming youths. For a man who’s demonstrated that he knows how to win hearts without a behemoth media strategy, the APC should look no further in their search for a bridge builder to galvanise support ahead to the 2023 presidential election. His exemplary courage and the sheer strength of his convictions is enough credentials for anyone to effectively steer a presidential campaign towards the path to victory.
However, the results of the 2023 elections go, the good people of Kogi state and Nigerians at large are assured of the shining prospects of the future with a man like Governor Bello.
Abonu, a multimedia journalist and public affairs consultant, wrote from Asokoro, Abuja.