Flaunting the metaphorical banner of youth as tomorrow’s leaders, it came with much hype and arrogance. For some observers it was an early sight. To others, it was a bold attempt by an outgoing governor of Kogi state to frame his presence in a presidential race that is as colorful as it is puzzling.
But, whichever way you look at Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello’s recent presidential statement, it came with a lot of courage, courage and seriousness. He must have left some lessons for other wavering presidential hopefuls to follow in his footsteps. While others gazed and gazed at the stars, he dove in.
The event at Port Harcourt Stadium, where the current Transport Minister Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi announced his interest in the contest, tends to give credit to Yahaya Bello’s opening shot. But as Amaechi looked home, Bello took to a neutral podium to testify, at a time when stakeholders, particularly governors, were aware of where to pitch. If Bello had returned home to Lokoja as the venue, the confluence city would have experienced an earthquake in terms of local crowd influx.
Challenging the structure of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), GYB, as his supporters call it, decided to run on his own terms. It is left to APC policy watchers to decide whether GYB’s presidential statement feigns political indiscipline or a courageous appropriation of their democratic rights.
To a large extent, the Kogi state governor’s bold move has influenced new thinking in politics about the power distribution matrix in the country since his foray into the US system of presidential democracy.
Coming from the state of Kogi, with its meager resources, Governor Bello brushed aside concerns about who might finance his presidential run. Above all, he answers the question about zoning by maintaining his position that his geopolitical zone, the North Center, is also disadvantaged and has not tried the Presidency since the birth of this Republic in 1999.
GYB’s aspiration appears to have prompted Nigerians to begin counting years of presidential rule by region, with Northwest credited with 15 years, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Buhari.
The Southwest has eight years of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, while the South/South enjoyed six years of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, leaving the Southeast, Northeast and North Central with zero democratic presidencies.
Yet despite the bold attempt to discount the years spent by military heads of state, there is a temptation to ask why Bello is drawing forces from outside the middle belt coalition, which has been fueling the middle belt aspiration to the 2023 presidency.
Although the question of who is his backbone resonated in the air in the Plaza del Águila, there was no doubt that Governor Bello was sending a strong message not only to other areas, but also to other presidential hopefuls, that it is not just about of fiscal resources, but also human. It counts a lot with young people from all over the country.
Yahaya Bello’s candidacy and the possibility of his eventual presidency would be intriguing, especially given that APC has produced its national president, Senator Abdullahi Adamu of the North Center. That possibility is unclear, even as some observers say Bello is being used to keep hopes alive for a northern president.
However, there have been many changes of opinion since the young governor of Kogi state made his public statement. A clever example comes from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which had been paralyzed with the idea of the total zoning of its Presidency despite electing its national president from the North Center, in the person of Senator Iyorchia Ayu .
Speaking on the imperatives of zoning and the microzoning addendum, 2019 PDP presidential standard bearer Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in direct response to the presidential aspirations of the likes of Governor Nyesom Wike and his former counterpart from Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose said he was prepared to abandon his ambition if only the party would microzone the presidential seat in the Southeast.
Citing justice and fairness as justification for his stance, the former vice president nonetheless maintained that if the PDP splits the presidential ticket in the south, he will not withdraw, emphasizing: “Former President Goodluck Jonathan was president for six years. In fairness and fairness, Wike shouldn’t be contesting, but he is contesting.
“Olusegun Obasanjo was president for eight years. In fairness and fairness, Fayose shouldn’t be arguing, but he is arguing. My region has not produced a president in this country, but I am ready to resign if the PDP zones it in the southeast.
“If Wike and Fayose want justice and fairness, they should fight to have the PDP presidential bid zoned to the South East and not the South.”
In the emerging dialectic, it is evident that the North has its interests secured and therefore has nothing to lose since the area will surely produce the Vice President as well as the presidency of the two main political parties.
However, from the articulations of the Vice President of the Fourth Republic, the impression has been created that within the PDP, the South/South does not seem to trust the Southeast, while the Middle Belt could be said to be totally ambivalent about the prospect of an Igbo Presidency. candidate.
It is in this context that Atiku’s supporters argue that, according to the 2019 results, he (Atiku), instead of Governor Bello, has a reserve of at least 12 million votes and, as such, can present himself as the best candidate. against APC.
The governor of Kogi state must have already left a mark on the talks that guided the search for Nigeria’s futuristic president. He may have chosen Eagle Square as the venue for his public statement to address the crucial demands of choosing President Buhari’s successor.
The governor also had his eye on the critical demographics of youth inclusion. Among those present at the occasion are his deputy, Edward Onoja, the Vice President of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, a daughter of the late MKO Abiola, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, among other young people. political actors.
GYB, who dreams of becoming PYB (President Yahaya Bello) after the 2023 presidential election, used the occasion of his presidential statement to give an idea of the negative image his administration has been receiving in the media.
He claimed that powerful enemies, who he said control the media, were responsible for “bad press”, even as he challenged Nigerians to visit Kogi state to witness the unprecedented development taking place in the state.
In a veiled allusion to how he emerged as the APC gubernatorial candidate in 2015, Bello stated: “It is well known that we offended powerful vested interests on our way to power in Kogi state. Furthermore, since we took office we have committed the unforgivable political sin in Nigeria, that is, refusing to have sponsors and bowing to them.”
As a forerunner, Bello seems to know that he will compete against other powerful contenders based on his track record.
For example, after explaining the shortcomings of his administration and not caring that the flip side of his promises would be presented as criticism of the Buhari era, Bello declared: “I am running for president because I see a bright light shining at the end of the Buhari era. Buhari”. tunnel for our nation. I am not one of those who only see pessimism. It is my intention to take custody of that light to pierce the dark stain on our past and present by removing every gap in our nation and repairing it.
“I will make sure that the light is delivered in a timely manner to the successors, who will be trustworthy of our great future, who will build the Federal Government that I lead.
“I am running on the broad political philosophy of progressive activism through social action and political reform…I am running to restore hope by providing security…Our focus will be the proper management of our great diversity so that it can truly be an advantage”.
He commented that although President Buhari has a goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, a “Yahaya Bello administration or presidency will have an additional goal of creating 20 million millionaires by the same year 2030 with the goal that each of them will empower five other citizens.”
Bello’s recipe for poverty reduction differs from World Bank strategies, which emphasize microcredit, where loans are monitored in various ways, including input, process, and impact. Would Bello’s millionaires be jobless products of wealth or portfolio investors taking advantage of government sponsorship?
There is no doubt that Nigerians are keen to ask questions when campaigns start, but since Bello led the way through his public statement in Eagle Square, Abuja, two members of President Buhari’s cabinet have joined the queue.
In addition to Transportation Minister Amaechi turning his thanksgiving program into a Presidential statement, perhaps in deference to Section 84 (12) of the Election Act 2022, Acting Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo adopted a novel approach to declaring virtually.
While Amaechi, a former Governor of Rivers State, has charted his political odyssey from serving as Speaker of the state House of Assembly for two terms, Governor for two terms, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for two terms and minister for two terms. Osinbajo said the past seven years had prepared him to step into the shoes of President Buhari as Nigeria’s next president.
And so, since Yahaya Bello’s beagle, more presidential hopefuls have begun to come out ready for the public scrutiny that would attend to their ambition, especially in light of failed promises and current socioeconomic challenges.