By Gideon Unazi
The Yahaya Bello phenomenon is blowing across the country. The effect is massive, young people are excited, and they have converged in large numbers to push for the actualization of an ambition that is hinged on taking Nigeria to the next level. I can say that the time is ripe for a new Nigeria. The individual that is positioned to lead this movement is Yahaya Bello.
The unity of young Nigerians towards his aspiration is tremendous. From the north to the south, from the east to the west, the message is the same-a new Nigeria is possible with Yahaya Bello. I recall at one of such gatherings; you could feel the pulse of the people in the sincerity of heart and purpose. I can only equate such excitement to a movement in the quest to make Nigeria great again.
The question thus is who is Yahaya Bello, and why does he command such large followership amongst the teeming youths in the country? Your guess is as good as mine. He is the White Lion and the solid rock on which the country’s teeming youths have built their hopes and aspirations for a new and better Nigeria. Quote me anywhere.
His dexterous display of leadership reminds one of the tenets of developmental politics as seen in the first republic. The rot in Kogi state before he came onboard was mainly underreported. People were used to saying Kogi was an eyesore, but they forgot other aspects that made the state a mess.
Those institutionalized patrons of the commonwealth of the state still can’t believe their eyes. They mocked him just like some are doing with his presidential ambition in recent times, and that is what will happen to those who have discountenanced his presidential ambition.
Just like a wind, he churned out policies and initiatives across the state. He was not afraid to step on toes. He was not scared to do the right thing. He was not afraid to call the bluff of those who think as a young man he was not in the position to make life meaningful for the generality of Kogi people.
For the records, Kogi state is no longer that enclave where a few would constitute themselves into institutions that decide who gets what and how. Today, Kogi is in a state of absolute bliss, courtesy of the fearless posture of Governor Yahaya Bello.
I like to look at the state as a reflection of Nigeria, which needs a courageous leader who would confront those obstacles that hinder our progress. And Yahaya Bello fits this bill. We are aware of how he stood his ground on some critical decisions that turned things around in the state.
I have no reservations that Nigeria needs a leader like Yahaya Bello. His style of politics was unique hence the feats he recorded in governance in the Kogi state. The summation of Yahaya Bello is that of when focus meets commitment. This is what Nigeria needs at this critical point of our existence.
The issues that have held us down are not different from what he met on the ground in Kogi state. I take every opportunity to salute his courage in leadership. I do not doubt that his aspiration to lead this country is borne out of a burning passion for setting the country on a high pedestal in terms of socio-economic advancement.
He might not be a heavyweight name because he doesn’t play to the gallery. His type is rare because of the emphasis on putting issues in proper perspectives. I can bet that Nigerians would be surprised to learn about some of the challenges he faced in reclaiming Kogi state from the cankerworms that fed fat from the rot in the system.
The same can be said of Nigeria, and it is imperative that we get it right in 2023. And Yahaya Bello has what it takes to put things right should he actualize his political ambition. Nigerians must come to terms with the fact that the race is not for the weary but for the strong-hearted—the lionheart with the courage to challenge our adversaries without a blink.
The race is for that individual who is not afraid to call a spade a spade. That individual who knows no tribe or religion but one Nigeria. That individual who would match his words with action. That individual who is ready to withstand the rigours inherent in our plurality. That individual who would unite Nigerians more than ever before. That individual who would place a premium on every human life in Nigeria. That individual who would churn out policies and plans that would stand the test of time. That individual that Nigerians would be proud of, and that individual who would reclaim our pride of place amongst the commit of Nations.
I can go on non-stop regarding the capacity and the desire of Yahaya Bello to change things around in this country and make the country great again. He is a reincarnation of the focused leadership of the first and second republics in Nigeria. His ideas about governance are the politics of development. This is why every Nigerian desirous of a new Nigeria with endless possibilities should rally support for the Yahaya Bello presidency.
They say he is young and inexperienced. I say age is nothing but a number. They say he doesn’t have what he takes to lead Nigeria. I say his credentials are intimidating, and his heroic exploits in Kogi State are there for all to peruse.
We must begin the march towards national rebirth with Yahaya Bello, enough of the recycled hands that have been in our faces for donkey years and yet, the country is still comatose. We need change, which is what Yahaya Bello offers for Nigeria. You might not like his face. You can also detest his boldness, but you cannot deny that with Yahaya Bello, a new Nigeria is possible.
Unazi is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.