Feature

Yahaya Bello and the zoning brouhaha

 

…zoning not democratic, let everyone run, say Nigerians

 

Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is one of the leading presidential aspirants under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

As the 2023 general elections draw nearer, it has become imperative to sift the wheat from the shaft as the nation deserves the best, when the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari must have handed over power after eight years of turning things around for the better in the country.

Indeed, Yahaya Bello is being commended by many observers as the best man for the job having performed superlatively as the Governor of Kogi State for some years now.

Bello has been credited with people oriented projects covering education, healthcare, security, agriculture, youth development, women development, employment amongst others, and these have earned him accolades all over the country and beyond.

It is believed that it is payback time for the youthful Governor, who is seen as a visionary, a performer and a man with knack for excellence.

Yahaya Bello has performed better than his colleagues, especially in terms of security, employment and youth development.

Kogi is the only APC state without faction, and this is due to the political sagacity and ingenuity of the hard-working Governor.

When rumour got to town that the APC has zoned the presidency to the South, there were fears in many quarters that this would not hold in a party “with a mantra of being democratic and a party that has come to make things better in the the country.”

While the APC is yet to make a final statement on zoning, it is certain that those against North Central Presidency know Yahaya Bello would eventually get the presidential ticket of the party because he is ahead.

Yahaya Bello is notable as a friend of the media in recent times and pundits said if the pen alone could determine victory for any of the presidential aspirants, Governor Bello stands a better chance to defeat the big wigs on the platform of the ruling APC and even the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Moreso, the Kogi State Governor has demonstrated the capacity to lead without ethnic bias and nepotism judging from the style he has adopted since he emerged Governor in 2016.

Bello, who is reputed to be non-tribalistic, has a cabinet, which 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 division of Nigeria, the clamour for secession and secessionist will die a natural death.

According to a commentator, “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 will also 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.

Bello is 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, there would definitely 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.

Bello is also said to have 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 inspite 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.

They insist that the arguments of zoning should be discarded as no part of the Nigerian Constitution recognises zoning as a precondition for electing competent hands to manage the affairs of Nigeria.

His supporters also believe that his giant strides and achievements in Kogi State since 2016 are pointers to what he is able to bring to bear if given a shot at the presidency.

The Bello support presidential groups have a wide geographical spread across the six geopolitical zones, and they have been working hard to let people know what he is made of.

Recall that some Christian groups are also keying into the Kogi State governor’s ambition.

This confirms 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.

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.

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 emphasised that the Kogi State governor has what it takes to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.

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.

GYB 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.

Speaking recently, Yahaya Bello said the north-central deserves to be considered for the presidency more than the south-east.

The governor said both zones are “disadvantaged in terms of the position of the presidency”.

Bello spoke at the presidential villa in Abuja, while reacting to Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s comment that zoning the presidency to the south-east is a key ingredient for national unity.

He said: “Well, if you’re talking of south-east, then you will equally talk of north-central. Not only since 1999 but since 1960. So what do you say about north-central; both the president and vice-president?

“So put the situation of the south-east and that of north-central side by side, then who is more disadvantaged in terms of the position of presidency; both presidents and vice presidents? So if you put both sides together, then let’s do justice. And whichever way you look at it, I’m eminently qualified.”

Bello added that the north-central has never produced the president nor vice-president of the country, and it is only proper that the region produces President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.

The Kogi state governor also said he has the qualities Nigerians want in a leader, adding that the president would want a vibrant and patriotic Nigerian like him as his successor.

“Mr. President would want a vibrant, experienced, energetic, patriotic Nigerian to take over from him and in all of the qualities that Nigerians are yearning, or looking for today, I possess all of these qualities by the special grace of God,” he said.

“Nigerians are yearning and asking me to run for the president come 2023 and by the special grace of God I will not turn down that offer.

“Also, Mr. President is one of the Nigerians who would want a qualified person to take over from him. Informing him is between myself and him, it is not what I should come to the public to tell the world that I have informed Mr. President that I want to run. But surely in days, and possibly weeks ahead, we are going to come to the public to declare our intention by the special grace of God.”

Asked what he has done to qualify for the presidency, Bello said: “First, on what have I done to merit the presidency of this country, you simply refer to 2016 when I assumed office, compared it to this moment security-wise, in terms of unity in terms of infrastructural development.

“I think we should not be laid back to the extent that we don’t read and research. I don’t have to come to the television to be blowing my trumpet. You come to Kogi state, you’ll see exactly what we have done. Simple, you can visit our website and then you’re going to see what we’ve done. We have surpassed more than any other person can ever imagine.

“Then in terms of unity, Kogi state today is more united than ever before. Today, nobody cares where you come from or the religion you practice, Nigerians are yearning for this. In terms of security, before, if you travel through Kogi state, you hold your breath, today you can travel day and night. Yes, pockets of issues sometimes, but it can never be the situation it was in 2016.”

Not only is Yahaya Bello Presidency necessary for Nigeria1 to move forward, it is believed that he has what it takes to make Nigerian one and put an end to the nation’s socio-political and economic problems that have become an albatross to her progress.

 

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