Understanding Yahaya Bello’s Philosophy
By Haruna Abdulahi Haruspice
The hallmark of true leadership is measured by its impact on those around the leader. Real leaders are measured by those they have recreated in their image and aspirations. I shall attempt to psychoanalyze the man Yahaya Bello in the context of how he has fared in developing those around him.
Undeniable references have been made about Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and the crop of leaders tied to his apron of impact. In the period of 30 years when he birthed as a senator – from 1990 to date, Asiwaju has to his credit, a catalogue of leaders he has mentored and recreated- chiefly amongst them are star leaders like Mr Babatunde Fashola, Rauf Aregbesola and Prof Yemi Osinbajo. The difference here between Yahaya Bello and Asiwaju , however, is time and numbers! In just six years, Yahaya Bello has an impressive number of leaders picked and baked into impact.
In Kogi East for instance, the last six years have seen the total dislocation of the power equation. Power drastically moved from the grips of affluence, prestige and elitism into the room of commoners and peasants. For the first time, those with the flexing power of money and fame fell to the willpower of new realities. The sons and daughters of the proverbial nobodies have been made leaders in their own rights – thanks to the Yahaya Bello phenomenon. Himself, a product of sheer zeal, he chose the doctrine of ‘everyone is equal in every opportunity to create a philosophy of equal template’. So practical is how the man picked a youth leader with no financial influence over those with intimidating economic profiles. In Bello’s governance hub, an okada man became a local government chairman and the person has been able to prove his leadership acumen while recording enviable achievements. Yahaya Bello built leadership tent for people with passive responsibilities, as they were made active players in the decision-making room of governance. Women hitherto confined to second fiddle roles were given substantive sticks of influence. Women became ‘first’ in most of Bello’s recognition of influence. Undisputed records have it that Bello produced the first Female Chief Press Secretary to a Governor in Nigeria, first Female ADC , first leader to domesticate the 35% affirmative action for women amongst others.
How these people he picked from the doldrums of irreverence has fared in the discharge of the mandates given in trust is another dive for another day. One thing is certain, it is the establishment of equality in the distribution of power in governance. The man has demonstrated that indeed, with a fairness barometer, everyone can become someone in power and influence. The Kogi template is a plausible reference.
How to measure the greatness of Yahaya Bello in recreating himself in others with the opportunity thrown at him by time and providence is to do a keen study of those he discovered from nowhere and made them leaders in his image. From the Deputy Governor through his Chief of Staff to his Secretary to the State Government touching his commissioners and retinue of aides are measurable evidences of leadership mentoring and transformation. He recreated himself in these leaders with the ultimate goal of these people recreating themselves in others- that is what chain of leadership entails- the replication of self in others.
It is safe to say Yahaya Bello doesn’t believe that youths are leaders of tomorrow but that youths, given the opportunity today, can lead and also lead well!
Haruna Abdullahi Haruspice