2023: Bello’s Audacious Presidential Dream
By Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice
POLITICS DIGEST – In life, nothing happens unless first we dream. However, there are three categories of people habituating the earth. The first are those without dream. For this category, whatever comes their way is predestined and as such, their lives, future and all that concerns them is without their input.
The second category are those who dream, but often lack the courage, determination and commitments to translate their dreams to reality. This category of people are ambitious but lack the passion that will drive their dreams into the realm of reality.
The third category of people are those who not only dream but oil their dream until it becomes a reality. This category of people, though vary rare, they believe that anything worthy of meditation is achievable. They are always willing to take the risks, as they end up receiving the lion’s share of the reward. They also believe that victory is not won on a platter of gold but through hard work, commitments, perseverance and tenacity, all that the mind can conceive can be achieved.
His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State belongs to the third category. He is not just a dreamer, he is a fighter; he makes deliberate efforts by setting goals and strive towards achieving it.
When he threw his hat into the ring by contesting to become the Executive Governor of Kogi State in 2015, many political pundits had dismissed his quest as the most ridiculous joke of the season mainly because Bello is not from a particular ethnic group that produced all the past Governors of the state.
Not quite long, the young Bello was declared winner of the election and the nihilists suddenly reclined to their political cocoons, gnashing their teeth in misery and feasting on their repulsive vomits, saying that it was sheer luck that made him Governor.
Soon, the man, who many thought was a neophyte, became a political octopus, commanding the respect of all and sundry, including the political leaders from the three senatorial districts of the state, traditional rulers, professional organisations, women groups and youth organisations, among others.
As soon as Bello became the Executive Governor of the state in 2015, he began to display this sterling political and leadership acumen to the chagrin of those elders who held the state to the jugular for decades. Governor Bello has been building bridges across ethnic divides while integrating the once alienated youth into the political mainstream. No wonder, the youth in Kogi love him without reservation.
Those who know Governor Bello right from his adolescent days were however not taken unawares by his outstanding performance; they were very familiar with the colour and contents of his character as well as the strength and vigour with which he pursues his dreams.
As a taciturn fighter, Governor Bello never brags about his inner strengths but always strive to surprise even his fiercest transducers and critics with excellent results.
Governor Bello harvested the best brains from all nooks and crannies of the state without attaching value to their religious, ethnic and other man-made social identities. For him, quality jobs is not about such archaic and retrogressive constructions, but the competence of the individual.
But what was the magic wand? Governor Bello got it right from the outset of his administration when he decided to yield the political space to capacious youths in the state. That singular event coupled with his modest performance in his first term in office in spite of the teething problems he inherited were what gave him an edge over his political opponents in the 2019 governorship election in the state.
A preponderance of the youths saw him as their ambassador. The youth considered as a chord between the today they admire and the future they desire, hence the need to rally round him to give him a second term in office so that he can do more for them.
Bello has not disappointed the youth a bit. He has brought youthful vigour and finesse to governance in Kogi state. As a matter of fact, there is a renewed hope in the confluence state as new frontiers are being built, age-long ethno-religious prejudices dismantled and the quest to make things work revitalized.
Governor Bello knows well that he is not carrying the burden of his campaign promises but the collective burdens of a generation who were hitherto treated with utmost contempt and senseless repudiation. He is therefore redefining governance from the mirror of youth inclusiveness in his administration.
Governor Bello’s outstanding performance in Kogi is a perfect illustration of what the youth can do if given the chance. Those waving the banner of support of Bello’s suitability for president of Federal Republic of Nigeria are therefore doing so on the basis of concrete records of achievement recorded in Confluence state in the last six years.
Interestingly, the market value of Governor Bello towering achievements is already sending perilous chills to the spines and marrows of other prospective contenders. The arrays of endorsements and banner of support from different quarters and segments of the nation and beyond, are proofs of Governor Bello’s popularity and acceptability.
In the last couple of weeks, positive commentaries have adorned the pages of newspaper, espousing Governor Bello’s sterling leadership qualities, especially how he has tamed the spate of banditry, kidnapping, herders-farmers crises, as well as how he has unified the three dominant ethnic groups in the state through an all-inclusive template.
In all the cacophony of commentaries across media, people seem to be saying that Nigeria deserves the quality of leadership Kogi state has enjoyed in the last six years. Governor Bello’s solutions to Kogi multi-dimensional challenges can be adopted as a template to solving our national problems. Yes, if Governor Bello can make Kogi State what it is today, then he can as well transform the country and make it an Eldorado of some sorts.
Before Bello’s coming to power in 2016, the Kogi State civil service was a haven for ghost workers. The young and smart Governor swung into action and began a reform that breathe elixir of hope to the almost moribund government institutions.
Despite the initial distraction by his critics, his commitment to civil service reforms was firm. He pushed the ghost workers to the graves where they belong and today, civil servants in Kogi state are enjoying the fruits of the reforms. As a matter of fact, civil servants in the state get their monthly salaries even before those at the Federal level.
Before Governor Bello’s emergence as Governor of Kogi State, the state institutions co-habited with the institutions of the thugs, violent criminals and kidnappers. In fact, people alleged that thugs were feasting from the state coffers. A year or two into his administration however, the volume of crimes and criminalities in the state was decimated marginally.
Notable thugs, cultists and kidnappers were chased out of the state and many had their houses demolished. For his commitment to stem the tide of insecurity in the state, the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, named him the Best Governor of the Year on Security in 2016.
Similarly, Governor Bello’s laudable records in security also compelled the Northern Governor’s Forum to appoint him to head the forum’s security committee.
As a contemporary leader, who is in tune with modern trends in governance including but not limited to gender sensitivity and diversity in governance, Governor Bello, once again, has done what was hitherto unthinkable let alone being implemented. As the leader of the All Progressives Congress in the state he automatically ceded the position of deputy chairmen to women. This is historic as it’s unprecedented in the annals of history of the state and Nigeria indeed.
Remember again that the Governor, right from his first term in office, has women as his Secretary to the State Government, Head of service and ADC. For those who may have forgotten, it is in record that Yahaya Bello is the first Governor in the state to have appointed a female press secretary.
Without much ado, Governor Yahaya Bello is the new face of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the largest political party in Africa. The move by all interest groups in the country and beyond, beaconing on Bello to contest for the highest political office in the country in 2023, is a proof that he has a large support base.
Let those with similar ambition throw their caps to the ring. But for Bello, there is no mountain too high and valley too deep. With determination and uncommon tenacity, he will crumble all opposition to become President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has the clout, he has the determination and he has the experience.
Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice writes from Abuja