ANAYO EZUGWU writes that the presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State appears to be gathering momentum with the huge endorsement of youth groups in the South-West geopolitical zone
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, may not have declared his interest to run for the coveted seat of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but his aspiration seems to be gathering momentum but several youth and women groups are rooting for him to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. The latest group to join the train of Governor Bello’s presidential candidacy is the South-West Youth Forum. The group called on Bello to declare his interest in running for the next President of Nigeria.
The group under the aegis of GYB2PYB Support Group (Governor Yahaya Bello to President Yahaya Bello) said it was time for the youth to take over the mantle of leadership of the country. According to them, Nigeria needs reform and change and youth that would lead the country in 2023.
“That is why we are supporting Yahaya Bello because he is the youngest governor in Nigeria. We believe that the insecurity and safety of our lives would be better secured if Governor Bello becomes the president of the country.” Speaking at the South-West Youth Political Conference to announce the endorsement of Governor Bello in Lagos, the Director- General of the group, Mr Oladele John Nihi said that the youth were ready to support Yahaya Bello with their votes in 2023. He stated that Bello was needed in the country to replicate what he has done on development, youth empowerment and security in Kogi State in Nigeria. “We are here today to endorse Yahaya Bello as the next President of Nigeria in 2023.
I want to encourage all the Nigerian youths to give him their votes when the time comes,” he said. The coordinator of GYB2PYB in Lagos State, Miss Gloria Benson said that the day was historical for the youth in the South West, adding that the cabinet member of Governor Bello was 75 to 80 per cent youths. Also, the coordinator of the group in Osun State, Ambassador Henry Oyebade said Bello had the capacity to rule the country, while that of Ogun State, Asimiyu Arisekola said that Bello wanted to bring his promise into reality. On his part, the coordinator of the group in Oyo State, Miss Yetunde Moradeyo said that the youth wanted a vibrant youth as president, saying that everybody was feeling the heat of the suffering in Nigeria. Ondo State coordinator of the group, Mr Amodu Bayo stated that Bello was a digital man, who would transform Nigeria as President.
The special guest of honour at the event and Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Mr. Abdulkareem Jamiu Asuku, said that Kogi State is today governed by youths 100 per cent, and that God has helped Bello as he became governor at the age of 40. “It takes youths to empower youths and work with youths. Governor Bello appointed credible youths across the three senatorial districts in the state into his government irrespective of tribe or religion. Today, Kogi State is 100 per cent under the control of youths. If only you are familiar with the situation in Kogi State, you will know the advantages of having youth in power in Nigeria.
“If you appoint an elder, he will appoint old people to work with him. When you appoint a youth, he would not appoint his father’s agemate to work with him,” he said. Asuku stressed that youths are now the decision-makers in Kogi State and that Governor Bello is rated as number one in the area of security and youth empowerment. He added that if the nation elects Bello as President in 2023, he will repeat the scenario in Nigeria. He recalled that credible youths such as the late Anthony Enhahoro, who moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence in 1960 at the age of 21.
“The first president of Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was 48, when he got into office, General Aguiyi Ironsi got to power as military head of state at 42 in 1966, and there was a military coup and General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) became head of state at 31, and he is today the symbol of Nigeria’s unity. “General Murtala Muhammed got into office as head of state at 37; he spent only 200 days in office and he was assassinated in 1976, while Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo took over from him at 39 and he handed over to the late President Shehu Shagari, who was 50 then,” he said.
He also spoke about President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said became a military head of state in 1983 at 41, while General Ibrahim Babangida took over from him in 1986 at 44. Asuku stressed that it was time for the youth to take over as he said they constitute 70 per cent of the population, and urged them to ensure that they register for election when the time comes and is part of the whole process.
“Kogi State is today governed by youths. It is so because the Almighty God has enthroned one of us in the person of His Excellency Governor Yahaya Bello, who became the governor of Kogi State at the age of 40 and as you know it takes youth to empower the youth, it takes the youth to reason the youth and it takes the youth to work. That is why His Excellency at 40 decided to look around in the three senatorial districts of Kogi State to appoint credible youths irrespective of religion, tribe or even class, even political affiliation. Any youth is capable to serve in his government, and today, Kogi State is 100 per cent under the control of the youth.
“Governor Bello is interested in becoming the president of Nigeria because agility is required to govern over 200 million people. And then, looking at the role of the civil service of our country, what is the retirement age of civil servants in Nigeria, it is 60. Why 60, because it is expected that at the age of 60, your organ cannot be performing optimally and you cannot even do the administrative jobs as expected.
So, you have to go on retirement and go and be playing with your grandchildren. “What are we doing today? We are electing retirees to take charge of over 200 million people and that is while we are where we are today. When you say the youth are asking for power, they are not asking for power because of the pitiable situation of Nigeria and what youth has been able to achieve in the past and what they envisage that they will be able to achieve if they are in power today are massive. If we have youth deciding the fate of our nation it is going to be youth O’clock. “Energy is required in a political system.
If civil service is placing 60 years of age as retirement at 37 I’m a chief of staff and if you look at me closely you will see that I have started growing grey-hair that is the pressure that comes with political office. We keep recycling presidency bringing retirees to come and decide our fate and we are saying no. they have done so much and we respect them.
They should go and take an advisory role, advising us. We have youth that can pilot the affairs of this nation as the youth did in the past. “We are not asking for too much because we are not going to do it through violence by through the ballot box and that is why we are encouraging youth to go out and take their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) because 2023 is going to be transition by the ballot. Nobody is going to fight because the youth has 70 per cent population according to 2006 census.
“The youth of this country is 70 per cent of the population, which means we have the dominance and the voting capacity. So, if you look within ourselves, then we can take power in 2023 and then we are going to take ourselves off the street. Today we have youth engaging in cybercrimes, the one we call Yahoo- Yahoo because there is nothing to do but when we have youth deciding our fate, we cannot appoint our fathers we can only look within to appoint ourselves to salvage the nation as our country,” he said. Despite his growing popularity, many political watchers believe that his popularity may decline before 2023 general election politicking. However, it remains to be seen how Kogi State governor would emerge the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC).