I have read with disgust virulent vituperations against the government of Yahaya Adoza Bello in recent time all aimed at de-marketing the candidature and cast aspersions on the Presidential aspiration of His Excellency Governor Yahya Bello. Some of this critics went to the extent of calling his Excellency “a humanitarian Disaster”.
It is against this background that I write to correct some misleading information the general public has been fed with and remind the “rational critics” of some of the qualities of His Exellency that make him a good fit for the plumber job in Aso Rock.
The truth be told, Yahya Bello has his shortcomings as a human and as a leader, he has performed excellently in some areas the same way he has not fared too well in some areas.
He has recorded some As, B’s C’s and even D’s in some areas and not parallel Fs as the critics would have the world believe. In fact, his second term has been a relative improvement on the first term particularly in the area of workers welfare.
Yahaya Bello has recorded an A+ in the area of promoting peace among and within the formerly divided big 3s of Kogi – the Igalas, the Ebiras and Okuns.
The relationship has gradually grew from a frosty one or a cold war to a relatively cordial one save for the infamous High Court judgment on Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Koton-Karfi.
Yahaya Bello has closely knitted these formerly united entities through an equitable distribution of political appointments within and outside the state. Today, we have a Governor from Kogi Central, the Federal Minister from the West and the Ambassador from the Eastern part of the state.
The Way Forward in Nigeria Please note, the immediate past Minister was from the Eastern axis. State Commissioners, Special Adviser and Senior Special Assistants as well as Board member been equitably distributed between the three senatorial districts. This is a complete paradigm shift from the past where one senatorial district cornered virtually all the available political slots at both Federal and State levels.
The Governor, the Federal Minister, the ambassadors, name it all, all from that axis. In my view, at this stage of our national existence were we all are at the border line of ethnic and religious divides with calls for secession being echoed from every quarter of the federation, a Yahaya Bello like personality is the unifier Nigeria needs in 2023. Equity, is Yahaya Bello’s recipe for the new air of unity that sweep’s through the state.
Also, before the coming of Yahaya Bello, self appointed Sheriffs of the high way used to have a field day in Kogi State. They use to attack Banks in the state like officers on routine checks, this menace has since been curbed under the watch of Bello.
The security situation of the state greatly improved on a general note with Jide Otitoju, a well known critic of the governor, even praising his giant stride in this regard on the popular TVC’s Journalist Hangout.
However, the irrational and obsequious decision to welcome all expelled herdsmen from Benue, Taraba and other states of the federation has gradually diminished his achievement in this sector in recent time.In addition, Yahaya Bello unlike his contemporaries don’t negotiate neither does he bargain with terrorists or faceless individuals, he deals with them squarely and decisively.
I think this is another area Nigerians might probably need the personality of Yahaya Bello at the Federal level if we all agree that security of lives and property is at the heart of the social contract that birthed modern state.
Furthermore, since the coming of Yahaya Bello, the internally generated revenue of the state has gradually but consistently grown from a paltry three hundred million naira annually to a whooping sum of over a billion Naira; that is a nearly 300% increase. And recently, Kogi State just trumped Lagos State as the state with the highest foreign direct investment in 2020.
All these economic gains couldn’t have been accidental, it takes a lot of economic acumen to achieve this. However, we still look forward to how this will reflect positively in the lives of Kogites.
With Nigeria constantly romancing with negative economic indicators of recession and depression, Yahaya Bello-like economic acumen is what Nigeria needs at the moment to bring her out of the woods. I want to say that while I have my reservations on Yahaya Bello’s government, it has not been a colossal failure as some would have the world believe from the fortress of their Abuja mansions.
Also, while I have my reservations on Yahaya Bello’s presidential aspiration, considering the likely zoning arrangement should it be respected and upheld as well as his disadvantaged ethnic origin, I think his aspiration should not be dismissed as unrealistic and illusory, rather he should be commended for daring to dream big.
This is what Obama calls Audacity of Hope, the ability to dream even when the odds are against you. Remember, if you can dream, then, you can achieve; after all, all great achievements of today started as dreams. However, it remains to be seen how Yahaya Bello would bring this dream to reality.
From the above, it is obvious that Yahaya Bello is not a colossal failure or humanitarian disaster as the naysayers have advanced. He has recorded some Ds, C’s, B’s and even an As which the critics should be humble enough to acknowledge.
Inda Nurudeen Bello writes from Ajaokuta, Kogi State.