Gov Yahaya Bello: A Generational Phenomenon

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By Philip Agbese

The elections are around the corner, and the dust raised from the presidential primaries has finally settled. Winners have emerged and losers too. Some took the outcome in good strides, while others continued to sulk. This is normal with electoral activities in Nigeria.

There is a new case worthy of mention: the display of political maturity by Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the Governor of Kogi State. I call it the generational phenomenon that places losing elections on the pedestal of the national interest.

Alhaji Yahaya Bello is one name that won’t go away anytime soon. His foray into the presidential race brought a sense of belonging to the teeming youthful population in the country. He resonated with the hopes and aspirations of youths across the country. For the first time in our annals, we saw a colourful campaign based on ideas and the generational shift focus.

He is a man of rare courage and impeccable credentials. He is a man that detests mediocrity, little wonder his campaign was well received across the country. In truth, he was one of the prime candidates for the APC Presidential Ticket. But he lost, and the world didn’t come to an end. Instead, he moved on with grace to the admiration of all and sundry.

Some expected that he would sulk. Some also expected that he would go against his party even in the face of provocation. But he chose a noble path meant for noble men alone. He embraced the winner and instantly donated his entire campaign structure to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, including his campaign headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory.

Alhaji Bello reminds me of the apostle of politics without bitterness, Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri, who held that politics should not be a do-or-die affair and that there is life after politics. He said, “people insist on winning after putting in their resources and, at the end of the day, when they lose, they get disappointed.”

For him, “politics is like a race in the Olympics where if you don’t get the gold, you get the bronze or silver and be satisfied even if you don’t win. The fact that you’re in the competition should be satisfying. He said as the loser, you look up at the person that won, not as the enemy, but as the lucky person who is saddled with the responsibility of leading the nation.”

The above indeed summarizes the Yahaya Bello phenomenon in Nigeria. Since after the elections, he returned to his normal life in Kogi state, commissioning projects and focusing on his mandate to the Kogi people without fanfare.

There is a lot to learn from the Yahaya Bello example in leadership in Nigeria. His foray into the political landscape has changed how politics should be played. He demonstrated the highest level of statesmanship by congratulating the winner without fuss. With the benefit of hindsight, one would have imagined what would have happened had Yahaya Bello won the APC primaries. Your guess is as good as mine.

Alhaji Yahaya Bello is a game changer, and Nigerians should expect a bounce back to the national limelight of the phenomenal. The signs are there for all to see that his brand of politics is in the national interest and service to the country. If this weren’t the case, we would have seen a bitter reaction after he lost the APC primaries. He stood tall amongst the lot that contested the primaries.

I think Nigeria is blessed to have such an individual come forward to offer himself to service to the country. I do not think his passion for the development of Nigeria has dwindled. I recall when the APC Presidential candidate visited him after the elections; his response was instructive and gave us an insight into the mind of Yahaya Bello. He said, “Today, I have collapsed my Presidential Campaign Organization. I’m donating my campaign organization secretariat to you. I’ve learnt a lot from the little lecture you gave to us. The younger ones won’t see what elders see when they’re in the valley.”

This typifies how open he is to learn and to admit his shortcomings. How many politicians in the country can boast of such disposition? It can only be Yahaya Bello and a reason why Nigerians must identify with his brand of politics now and in the future. We need more Yahaya Bello in the country if we are desirous of making headway in our quest for sustainable growth and development.

We need leaders that are passionate about the country. We also need leaders whose aspirations are in the country’s interest, not other considerations. And Yahaya Bello presents us with those attributes that are uncommon.

I agree with the phrase that the qualities that make a good leader are innate. You are either born with the skills it takes to be a leader, or you’re not. I dare say Yahaya Bello is a born leader because, over time, he has demonstrated these attributes. Love or hate him; he is in a class of his own. He is a phenomenon. He is a wonder to behold and a whiz-kid. He is a moving train with a destination to redefine leadership in the country.

Yahaya Bello is the future, and the future belongs to those who learn, unlearn and relearn. According to Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, “Unlearning helps us to move past things that are no longer serving us. It helps us to finally say, “No, I don’t think so. Not anymore, and then move forwards with a new mindset.” Welcome to the world of Yahaya Bello.

Agbese is the APC House of Representatives Candidate for Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency and publisher of TheNigerian News.

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