The media has been awash lately with calls for the “youthful” Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to contest for the 2023 presidential election. A call that has assumed great theatrics on many occasions.
Leading the charge for this call are youths, notably a self styled “Ambassador”, who goes by the name Oladele John Toluhi, who leads a group of youths known as GYB2PYB (Governor Yahaya Bello to President Yahaya Bello), a group that issued a 14-day ultimatum to Bello to accept their demand that he joins the presidential race or they occupy the streets all over the country until he accepts their demand.
It is interesting to note that Toluhi was the young man that embarked on a walk from Abuja to Otuoke, the home town of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa State in 2015, to honour the former President after his electoral defeat by President Muhammadu Buhari. Toluhi’s walk to Otuoke, came after a northerner had embarked on a similar walk from Lagos to Abuja in honour of President Buhari after he won the election, making his own road expedition more of a copy.
Aside the call from the GYB2PYB, there has been a series of activities around the Kogi Governor lately that has given him good visibility and put him in the news constantly. There had been awards, notably the gender friendly award championed by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), which suggests that Bello’s administration is women friendly.
Another notable award is the one given by a group led by former Super Eagles player, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, which named Bello as the ‘Captain and Pillar of Nigerian Youths’.
Asides the awards, Bello has also played host to players in the Nigerian entertainment industry, especially Nollywood, who all sang his praises to high heavens and described him as the best thing to happen to Nigerian youths.
Away from awards and ‘arranged’ calls for him to throw his heart into the ring of presidential election contest, Bello’s lame duck House of Assembly has also been on the road trip, soliciting the support of other state lawmakers for their governor’s 2023 expedition.
Leading the charge is Bello’s errand Speaker, Matthew Kolawole, who has led state lawmakers to Niger and Sokoto states houses of assembly to seek their support for Bello.
Expectedly, the governor, in a recent chat with journalists in Abuja, told the world that he has accepted the challenge to contest for the presidency, as a way of honouring Nigerian youths who have been clamouring for him to lead them and by extension, the country. He also disclosed that his formal declaration will take place at a more auspicious time.
With that, Bello becomes the first member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to publicly admit preparing to contest for the presidency in 2023, as not even Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, whose ambition is already public knowledge, has come out to admit it.
It is, however, instructive to note that all the theatrics leading to Bello’s acceptance of the call were mere stage managed events to give his ambition a resemblance of popular demand, while the gale of awards were also orchestrated to confer some form of credibility on him.
Some analysts have, however, frowned at the chain of events leading to Bello’s acceptance of the challenge, branding them as unnecessary. According to some, it is within his right to aspire to the highest office in the land without making so much fuss about it, while others say these events only point to the fact that he knew he may just not possess what it takes to lead the country and had to create a semblance of it.
Nigerians, from different walks of life have, however, identified four reasons the presidential ambition of Governor Bello should not be taken seriously.
Youth is not Synonymous with Competence
Governor Bello’s relatively young age has been one of the reasons advanced for the call for him to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Oladele John Toluhi, during one of his expeditions, did not mince words, hinting that his group is calling on Bello to join the race because of his youthfulness.
He said: “The Nigerian youths have put their resources and manpower together and with over 15 million of them signing signatures to ask Governor Yayaya Bello of Kogi State to contest the presidency come 2023.
“We believe that as youth leaders, we owe our nation this duty, to make sure that in 2023, we do not just have a president but the president that is youth minded. We want to have the president that is youth and women sensitive.
“We felt that it is the right time for Nigerians to have a feel of what Kogi State is currently having. We are aware that Kogi State today is the government of the youths, by the youths and for the youths.”
However, an APC youth leader in the Kogi West Senatorial District, who does not want his name mentioned, said brandishing Bello’s young age as a reason for calling him to contest in 2023 was wrong. According to him, Bello has failed to show that youth has any role to play in leadership or competence and performance.
“Bello has been a disappointment as a young governor. We actually thought he would be different as a young man but unfortunately, he disappointed even the youths in the state. He has been a great disservice to the not too young to run movement. So those clamouring for him to contest should have a rethink.
“Kogi has gone from bad to worse under Bello that it would be unthinkable for anybody to be rooting for him to be president. Even if you are not from Kogi State, you must have been reading the news of happenings in the state. The only explanation anyone can advance for his or her romance with the GYB2PYB is financial inducement or gratification. That he is young is certainly no achievement or criteria for competence”, the youth leader said.
Governor Bello holds the record as the only governor in Nigeria and high ranking public office holder to publicly dispute the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor’s utterances and actions on the pandemic has become an embarrassment for even residents and indigenes of the state, so much that caes suspected to be COVID-19 related are taken outside the State for attention.
Eniola Bello, the Managing Director of Thisday and a fellow Kogite, in a piece in his column, Eni-B, titled ‘Yahaya Bello: The Ugly Face of APC’, said: “Bello’s notoriety for his re-election victory is only surpassed by his ill-informed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the global response to the pandemic early last year, he has, consistently cast doubt on the existence of COVID-19, insisted that there were no infections in Kogi State, frustrated officials of the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) from operating in the state, supplanted science with his opinion, dismissed the necessity for vaccination, and has refused to wear face mask, except of course when he has to visit the State House, Abuja for his regular photo ops with President Buhari.
“It is therefore strange that a governor who, with his utterances and actions on the management of COVID-19, has consistently embarrassed the ruling party could be appointed to chair a committee to drive new membership. With the Kogi governor’s shenanigans, why should anyone desirous of a better country take the APC seriously? If Bello is the face of the new APC in the making, this is an ugly one. That he would even contemplate contesting the presidential election in 2023 speaks to how low his ‘political father’ has reduced Nigeria.”
Inability to be Tactful
One of the reasons advanced by analysts why Yahaya Bello must not be taken seriously in his latest adventure is his inability to be tactful. This, many said, had led him to talk too much, revealed too much and caused untold embarrassment for self, state and party in recent times.
“Nigeria cannot afford someone who is unable to apply the breaks, especially when talking. Bello talks too much and in the process says things he is not supposed to say. I don’t know if it is a personal problem or that he is just trying to play to the gallery.
“Remember a video that went viral where he was talking about how a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode approached him on his willingness to join the APC. He rambled and rambled in that video, which was seriously unnecessary. I want to believe he ruined whatever agreement he had with Fani-Kayode with all he said. You don’t have to play to the gallery even when trying to shine. Bello is certainly not a Presidential material”, a political analyst, Segun Fabunmi said in a chat with DAILY POST.
No Antecedents of Visible Achievements
Claims by Governor Bello that those who are clamouring for him to be the next President of Nigeria, wants him to replicate the successes he has recorded in Kogi on the national stage, has been knocked by even stakeholders in the state and self deception.
An aspirant for the House of Representatives for Lokoja/Kotokarfe Federal Constituency, Ahmed Sani believes that the Governor never meant it when he said so.
“What success does he want to replicate on the national stage? Is it insecurity, failed roads, failed health and education sector?
“Bello, as far as I am concerned, does not have any notable achievement to his credit. The state is getting worse by the day and even Kogites outside the state are afraid to come home because of insecurity, especially kidnapping.
“There has been no change in the status of major towns in the state since Bello assumed office. Even Lokoja, the state has become worse, looking more like a rustic town. In fact, it will be safe to say there is no government in Kogi under Bello”, Sani said.
For Adeyemi Enimola, another Kogite resident in Lagos, Bello is only playing games with his purported ambition, adding that the governor should be smarter than embarking on a futile journey.
“Bello cannot be that daft; he should know he does not have what it takes to be Nigerian president. He lacks everything qualifying quality, aside that, he is a Nigerian that has the right to aspire to any office. I honestly believe that what he is doing is merely positioning himself to be visible outside of office, nothing more. You know the way politicians think; he is already projecting beyond January 2024 when he leaves office as governor”, Enimola said.
Credit: Daily Post