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2023 Presidency: What distinguishes Bello from other aspirants

By Seye Olumide (Southwest Bureau Chief)
09 January 2022   |   4:16 am
Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello will enjoy not one but three significant advantages over other contestants as the race to the 2023 presidential election is fast approaching.

Yahaya Bello

Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello will enjoy not one but three significant advantages over other contestants as the race to the 2023 presidential election is fast approaching.

Prime among the factors that may boost Bello’s campaign and quest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 is the elationship he currently enjoys with the medi, especially in the last one year.

Some pundits said if the pen alone could determine victory for any of the presidential aspirants, Governor Bello stands a tall chance to defeat the big wigs on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and also the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Secondly, the Kogi State governor has demonstrated the capacity to lead without ethnic bias and nepotism judging from the style he has adopted since emerging governor in 2015.

One peculiar quality in his style of leadership, which Nigeria will really need as a tonic to heal her wounds, has been the ability to relate with every ethnic group without favouritism and bias.

In today’s Kogi where Bello rules, his cabinet is probably the only one across the 36 states where at least one or two members from almost every group are given equal opportunity to serve and relate with the governor.

If this is applied in the situation Nigeria currently finds itself, where self determination groups are agitating for the dismemberment of Nigeria, the clamour for secession and secessionist is certain to die a natural death.

As an observer said, “Kogi, under the leadership of Yahaya Bello has been the melting pot of culture where Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo and other ethnic groups carry our their functions with equal access to the governor.

Bello is also certain to enjoy the advantage of being a youth, which fits him into the clamour that the older generation should give way to the youths to handle the affairs of Nigeria since they (the older generations) were adjudged to gave failed the country.

In terms of age, he is also perceived to have a strong advantage over other contestants.

Some pundits have also done a facts check about who the Governor of Kogi is peradventure he is opportune to rule Nigeria after President Buhari. Is he an ethnic fundamentalist? The findings prove otherwise. Can he make appointments based on nepotism? His style of governance in Kogi does not justify such sentiment. It was therefore concluded that Nigeria is safe to be committed in such hands after the expiration  of President Buhari’s tenure in 2023.

Some political observers, who professed love for Bello’s style, prayed that: “May Nigeria not fall into the hands of another person, whose quality and understanding of governance are below that of Governor Yahaya Bello after the incumbent President.”

Bello is perhaps the only governor today in Nigeria who has a cordial relationship with all the lawmakers representing Kogi State both at the state and federal levels. Can he translate into reality peradventure he emerges as President in 2023, the beauty would be a smooth working relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government, a privilege Nigeria has hardly enjoyed since it returned to civil rule in 1999.

Another outstanding feature of the incumbent governor of Kogi, is his unreserved regards for gender equality, which he has since demonstrated in his government by giving women equal chance to prove their capacity to contribute to good governance like men.

And he has remained resolute in his ambition in spite of the odds against him on the basis of geopolitical zone (North Central).

Bello’s political support base believes that what Nigeria needs after the expiration of the tenure of President Buhari is a young, energetic and cerebral personality like the governor of Kogi State. For them, the arguments of zoning should be discountenanced given that no part of the Nigerian Constitution recognises zoning as a precondition for electing competent hands to manage the affairs of Nigeria.

Bello supporters also believe that his giant strides and achievements in Kogi State since 2015 is a pointer to what he is able to bring to bear if given a shot at the presidency. As the number of presidential hopefuls swell across the country, Bello is also already striking the needed cordial relationship with the media across the board.

Interestingly, the Bello support presidential groups have a wide geographical spread across the six geopolitical zones. Worthy of note is the fact that some Christian groups are also keying into the Kogi State governor’s ambition. This reinforces the understanding that Bello’s political structure cuts across the grassroots, women, youths, religious bodies (Christian/Muslim), professional bodies and student unions across tertiary institutions and even secondary schools.

It would be recalled a women group, Southwest Women Arise for Nigeria (SWWAFON) in Lagos recently extolled the virtues of Governor Bello, describing him as a role model for the Nigerian government in the area of women inclusion, and for allowing a good number of women in politics in the state.

The women, drawn from key professions, said Bello deserved the honour for helping to demonstrate, through his appointments, that when women hold strategic positions in government, society gains. They recommended that the present leadership of the ruling APC should consider giving him the party’s presidential ticket.

Yet in another clarion call, a political movement for the actualisation of Bello’s presidential ambition, PYB Frontiers called on Nigerians to rally around Bello to ensure he succeeds President Buhari. Chairman of the group, Hans Mohammed disclosed that the group has commenced consultation to ensure the governor got the APC ticket.

While the women group noted that Bello’s leadership would give women better chance, the support group noted that the Kogi State governor has what it takes to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.

They maintained that a Bello-led presidency would be an added advantage to Nigeria and Nigerians as he would be able to build on the legacies of President Buhari.

A Christian association, under the auspices of the Christian Youth Leadership Network, also attested that Bello remains the right choice to succeed President Buhari in 2023. The group made the assertion during the opening of its two-day National Retreat with the theme, ‘Kingdom Dimension: Effective Leadership and Governance.’

Apostle Faith Eches, the convener of the retreat, said with youth of Bello’s calibre in the saddle, the narratives of the country could change through effective leadership and governance.

Arch. Bishop Jonathan Maji, Chief Missioner and Director, Springs of Life Resource Centre, said the choice of Bello was because he had exemplified leadership in Kogi. According to Maji, Bello has successfully collapsed ethnicity, ‘godfatherism’, and nipped insecurity in the bud to a certain extent, a prototype of expression of Nigeria we all dream of. “That is why the Christian youths have come out to endorse him,” Maji said.

Some observers said Bello would be a completely detribalise President if given the opportunity. In his cabinet, Bello has the combination of Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, South-South and others who are working as a team to develop the state. He has been able to radically unite the people. And he is expected to replicate this if elected as president, especially now that Nigeria appears more divided more than ever. He recently built on the unity policy by initiating the EBIGO policy, an acronym from the names of the major ethnic groups in the state – Ebira, Igala and Okun.

Guided by the government-crafted compass that he christened New Direction Agenda, and which has been upgraded for his second term in office, Governor Bello has been resolute in his determination not to gamble with the welfare and future of the people of the state.

Broken into five thematic areas, the New Direction Agenda, according to the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo, has been “sparking a revolution.” Fanwo added that the effect of the revolution is already being felt in all facets of the state