By Chidiebere Uzodinma
I am one of those who have expressed delight since the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, declared interest in contesting the country’s presidency in 2023. My excitement was borne out of the potential of a Yahaya Bello presidency and what the country stands to benefit from at the end of the day.
We must admit that the country’s challenges indeed require that we go for a leader with a brave heart and ready to confront those issues that have held us back as a country for long. We also need that leader who matches words with action and understands the urgency of now in fixing Nigeria.
This is not a time for kid gloving issues regarding putting Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth and development. I would say we have experimented and trivialized the issues at stake. This should be a source of concern for any Nigerian worth the name. We need to reminisce on how the country has descended from its enviable position as the giant of Africa. If we have the above at the back of our minds, then a Yahaya Bello presidency is what the country needs come 2023.
Taking cues from Kogi State before him and the Kogi State of today, one would indeed agree that a lot of concerted efforts were at play. One would also agree that for Governor Yahaya Bello to be able to turn things around in a once-moribund state speaks volumes about his capacity and his style of governance, which in my opinion, should be replicated across the country.
Those of us in the know of the state of affairs in Kogi State before he assumed leadership are still in awe of how he could achieve tangible results. This is aside from the fact that he indeed stepped on tows and dammed the consequences so long his decisions were in the best interest of the state and not the interests of a select few.
I recall he was very clear about what he wanted from the onset. This much he made clear in his inaugural speech wherein he stated thus: “My Administration shall exist for the sole purpose of serving the superseding interests of the people of Kogi State to the very best of its capabilities. We also undertake to never lend our capacities to servicing the avarice of anyone or group–whether from Kogi State or elsewhere. There is no greater evil than Corruption, and nothing champions that evil more than Impunity…Corruption and Impunity made sure our people repeatedly arrived at a promised future and found it bereft of substance, or the promised better life.”
This is very apt and has guided his conduct since he assumed leadership of Kogi State. Let us take this position to the centre stage of governance in the country. We would conclude that Kogi state mirrors that larger Nigerian society where the emphasis has been on serving and servicing the avarice of select individuals and groups and the detriment of a population that is fallen deep into despondency.
My argument remains that if he could do it in Kogi state, then doing the same in the country in his capacity as president would not be a herculean task. The country is bleeding, and all we need is that effort from an individual who understands that there is a lot at stake.
This is what the Yahaya Bello presidency represents, in my candid opinion. It behoves all well-meaning Nigerians to wake up from the deep slumber and rally support for a Yahaya Bello presidency that is well-positioned to address our challenges by questioning the norm and insisting on the proper approach governance that would emphasize the collective good.
He might not have a massive war chest like others. He might not be as popular as others that have indicated interest. However, we can’t take away that he is committed, resourceful, and ready for the daunting task of taking the country out of the doldrums.
He is not a fan of the politics of religion or ethnicity. He is a firm believer that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. I believe the Yahaya Bello presidency is one golden opportunity we must grab with both hands. His enthusiasm is infectious; his desire to set Nigeria on the path of greatness is legendary. And his commitment to step on toes in the interest of the country is not in doubt.
The ball is now in our court; we can play right or wrong. However, we must be ready for the consequences of our actions. We can elect to stay with the norm or request a new order where every citizen of our great country, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, would have a say in the governance process in the country.
The Yahaya Bello revolution is real. It behoves all well-meaning Nigerians to join forces towards the actualization of an ambition for the country’s good. I can bet that those who desire the country remains in its present state would constitute themselves into clogs in the wheels of our progress by engaging in smear campaigns against Yahaya Bello. The public space would be filled with all manner of derogatory attributes in the bid to blackmail him into jettisoning his presidential ambition. But if only they knew how thick his skin is.
Lest I forgot, one of the attributes of Governor Yahaya Bello is the ability to stay focused and go for whatever he believes is in the best interest of the country. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
The future of Nigeria is important, and we march towards the 2023 general elections; the choice is ours to take the bulls by the horns in ensuring that the country moves forward. How would this be possible? A Yahaya Bello presidency suffices.
Uzodinma wrote this article Owerri.