THISDAY

‘Bello Will Replicate His Good Work If Elected President’

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Christophe­r Oni, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressiv­es Congress (APC) is a philanthro­pist and founder of Apolo Faramebi Foundation. He has high sentimenta­l admiration for Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Oni talks to Deji Elumoye on Bello’s credential­s that will stand him out for the coveted office of the President of Nigeria come 2023 What informs the clamour for North Central to Produce President in 2023?

Snce the return to democratic government in 1999, all the political zones in the country have had their fair share and have tested power at the highest level of leadership in the country by producing either President or Vice President. Some for two terms and it is only fair and just that the region which is the major contributo­r of votes in all elections, the North Central should be allowed to taste power this time. This and many other reasons call for the advocacy you are hearing and was championed by the Kogi State House of Assembly which feels and know that the governor has done well in various areas.

What inherent and leadership credential­s does Yahaya Bello have that necessitat­ed people rooting for him?

This question gladdens my heart so much. My people have an adage that ‘when you are told to go and call Rotimi, it is the Rotimi in your House that you will call, except if reference is made to another or particular one’. I will give you just three broad reasons with several points in each of the headings why the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello should be the next President and most accepted candidate for 2023.

First, Bello assumed power through a very divine circumstan­ce and most of the issues that concern him are divinely made. Nigeria as it stands now needs a young digitally minded, politicall­y conscious and sagacious leader that is not only courageous, competent, experience­d, connected, active, youthfully accepted, but one that has the capacity to address the country’s major challenges and to challenge the status quo such as bringing on board, those with the right capacity to effect systemic change, address security issues and make the economy function optimally. Governor Bello has these few areas that I mentioned and would make Nigeria work effectivel­y, if given the opportunit­y. Kogi is working today because he identified and brought on board those with capacity through strategic, conscious and deliberate involvemen­t of Youths in governance at all levels in the state and you know that youth are digital and solution driven individual­s. This is what the young man is bringing on board if he emerges as flag bearer of his party.

All over the world, you know that women are master planners and natural managers in all spheres. With what he has started by engaging women in governance, most appointmen­ts - political, profession­al and otherwise - will see women occupying them if he emerges and I can tell you Nigeria will be better for it. This is what many women out there crave for and you think they will not go for Yahaya Bello, seeing what he is already doing in the Confluence state?

Secondly, is the issue of security. It is Nigeria’s major problem now, and in this area, the young governor is a master strategist and tactic ian in dealing with security related issues. Kogi State is regarded as the most secured state in Nigeria not because it has imported some internatio­nal hands to deal with it, but because he has adopted local options and intelligen­ce to address it. Ya hay a Bel lo as you can see, started dealing with criminals from his constituen­cy. Individual­s with record of criminalit­ies were sent parking from the state. Personally, I queried his earlier stance thinking he was witch hunting his political enemies, but later I realized it was for the good of all of us. So,I can boldly say that crimes thrive in Nigeria today because those fighting it are really not sincere in their fight. But this man like he has done and was alluded toby some security chiefs, has security intelligen­ce and has mastered how to deal with it. So, if Ya hay a Ad oz a Bel lo comes on board, he will address this because he is infectious ly courageous and a dangerous ly no nonsense man in dealing with criminals and upcoming ones, not min ding who their sponsors are. Of course you know, once security is handled, the economy will bounce back, Nigeria will become an investor’ s destinatio­n, and every other thing will fall into places.

Third ly, no leader in the current dispensati­on in Nigeria is as unifying as Ya hay a Bel lo. Before now, Kogi state was divided along religious, political and ethnic lines. It generated a lot of bitterness and divisions across all levels, but look at the story today. There is unity, togetherne­ss, love and friendship even beyond party lines. Appointmen­ts are given the spread needed, Eb ira commission­er snow have aid es that are I gala sand I gala now have both O ku na nd Eb ira aid es to ensure that the Ya hay a Bello’ s EBIGO agenda comes to stay. Any man who can effectivel­y lead Kogi State with its ethnic and religious plurality, location and complexiti­es, can lead Nigeria effectivel­y because Kogi state on its own is an assemblage of Nigeria in its right. Governor Bello on account of his unifying approach to leadership has received laurels from various bodies, groups and cooperate organizati­ons home and abroad for how he has effectivel­y united his people.

Most importantl­y, age is seriously of great advantage to my Governor. By 2023 when he would become president by the grace of God, Bello will be 48 years thereabout. Recall he just celebrated his 46 birthday, which my foundation celebrated massively too, this age grade or period of time for him is a productive age characteri­zed by courage, vision, performanc­e, tenacity, charisma, positive radicalism and everything active. The relationsh­ip between age and performanc­e in the case of Yahaya Bello should be considered in leadership because the younger person is always swift, spontaneou­s, decisive in action and very futuristic. All these qualities are seen in Yahaya Bello and we have to explore them for our common good.

So, who is Governor Bello’s godfather and don’t you see his stance on Corona Virus affecting his fortunes in 2023?

I put that question back to you, who is his godfather? You know how he emerged, first divine ly and secondly by demystifyi­ng the theory and practice of godfathers and godfather is min the state. Name one god father in AP CinKogi state or another person determinin­g what happens in government? Could the god fathers stop the screening exercise when he started with all they did in their hiding before they were finally relegated to the background? Yes, there are party men and women, elder sand states men whose invaluable contributi­ons will make the project come to reality at all levels and states. Some even from other parties as you can already see, but they are not godfathers and my governor does not use his teeth to divide a meat he does not eat or forbidden from eating.

On your question pertaining to coronaviru­s, it will interest you to note that it is one of his selling points. Governor Bello has provided a lot of insights to Nigerians on why they should know that they are just trading with their future using corona. Most of the State House of Assembly members visited, they told our lawmakers that Yahaya Bello’s position on Corona made them love him more because he has been telling the truth. It’s just the name; corona is malaria and can be treated.

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