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Bello’s ‘strategies’ to clinch APC presidential ticket

By Seye Olumide
15 May 2022   |   4:03 am
As at the last count, over 27 presidential aspirants have purchased the N100 million expression of interest and nomination form for the 2023 general elections under the platform of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Yahaya Bello

As at the last count, over 27 presidential aspirants have purchased the N100 million expression of interest and nomination form for the 2023 general elections under the platform of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Some of those that have bought the form include serving ministers and other government appointees in the current cabinet. Some serving governors and senior political officers holders have also indicated interest in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.

However, quite a few of the aspirants are considered as serious contenders and have shown determination to impact positively on the nation if given the opportunity.

According to political observers, among the few that have been very painstaking in their campaigns are National Leader of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The three aspirants seem to have taken the bull by the horn as they have almost gone round the nation to do necessary consultations and not relenting in fraternizing with the necessary strata of members of the society including the political and non-political class.

Governor Bello, however, seem to have taken a little step further by not limiting his consultations and political machinery to the elite. He stands out as the only aspirant currently relating with the women folk, across the six geo-political zones and at various levels including professionals and the masses.

Again, the determination shown by Bello to reverse the negative trends of youth unemployment is revealed by the special attention his political machinery has so far given to the youth, since he started his consultations.

Beyond what some pundits referred to “as Bello Master Strategies” of youth and women engagement, who dominate the largest voting strength in the country, the Kogi state governor is also credited for having sealed a pact with the Nigerian media in the last few years, which culminated in the 2021 and 2022 editions of Governor Yahaya Bello Empowerment Programme for Crime and Political Reporters.

Beyond the issues mentioned above, the Kogi state governor also falls within the age categories Nigerians are earnestly looking up to, to lead the country out of its present predicament, having come to terms with the fact the the current sent of old generation leaders have not only failed the nation but have also destroyed Nigeria’s legacies.

While some have continued to argue that it is the turn of the Southern region to produce President Buhari’s successor in 2023, the sentiment does not seem to hold water among the women and youth folks, who believe it is high time the issue of capacity, competence and experience in leadership are not sacrificed on the altar of zoning.

But if the argument of zoning is also advanced, Bello’s supporters say his presidential aspiration is also justified on the ground that the North Central, from where he comes from, is yet to produce the president since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999.

Recently, The Nigerian Guild of Editors called on other state governors to emulate Governor Bello in the area of media empowerment.

The President, NGE, Mustapha Isa, made the call when he led the Executive Committee of the guild on a visit to the governor, where they specifically commended Bello for his efforts at enhancing the capacity of journalists and also empowering them to understand their immediate environment with a view to delivering their jobs professionally.

Isa made reference to the 2021 and 2022 Annual GYB Workshop for Crime and Political correspondents and editors, where journalists won different categories of awards after series of training and newsroom exercises, saying that the development was the first of its kind in the political scene.

Just last week, the Aare Onakankanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams lamented that Nigerians hardly want to trust any of the presidential aspirants, just as their interest is waning in democracy simply because of the way the incumbent administration has performed in the last seven years.

While many Nigerians are tempted to agree with Adams, some opined that Bello has proved to be difference, especially with the way he handles security in Kogi.

For instance, Isa said Bello’s involvement of the people of Kogi in crime fighting had made the state a reference point in terms of the war against crime and all forms of criminalities.

“Involving the local people in the fight against crime is the way to go. Kogi state is bordered by about 10 states, but the governor has been able to tame crime. Things have changed under him. This is the reason response to crime is always quick and effective even where there is an incidence. He stands a better chance to replicate this if given the chance to rule Nigeria.”

It may not be an exaggeration, saying that Nigerian youth earnestly yearn for Bello’s presidency. Not too long ago, about 2,000 youths from across the six states in the Southwest region converged in Lagos to drum support for the 2023 presidential bid of Bello.

The youths, who insisted that it was Bello or no other person for President in 2023, vowed to rewrite what they described as “Nigeria’s political history” of “recycling politicians”, saying that they were ready to also disgrace money bags in 2023.

The youths, who gathered under the umbrella of Rescue Nigeria Mission, said, like their counterparts in the Northern states, they were ready to mobilise heavily for the Kogi governor, no matter what happened within his party, the All Progressives Congress.

The Coordinator of the youths in the Southwest, Mr Shola Saheed said: “We are excited today that all our youths are keying in. As we speak today, over 20 million Nigerian youths (PVC holders), at home and abroad, are already actively involved in the struggle to install our own, Bello, as president. Others are already trooping in.

“We are set to rewrite political history of Nigeria. We will collect their billions if they bring it, but we assure you, we will put Yahaya Bello there with our numbers. Don’t ask me how we will do it. Just watch and see how we will rescue this nation resolutely and peacefully.”

The gathering of youths in support of Bello is not limited to Southwest but it has interestingly spread across the six geo-political zones of the country including Southeast region.

In similar vein, the women folks are not relenting in demanding for Bello’s presidency. About two weeks ago, different groups of women organisations converged on Abuja, Abia and the South South to speak to the leadership of APC to concede it’s presidential ticket to Bello.

Governor Bello, it does appear, seems to be the bridge builder the ruling party can present to retain power beyond 2023