Will Yahaya Bello Bow to Pressures to Join the Presidential Race?

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Ibrahim Oyewale examines the insistent calls from various groups and individuals exerting pressure on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to join the 2023 presidrntial race

Ahead of 2023 general election in the country , there have been persistent calls on the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Adoza Bello by various groups, organisations and individuals both within and outside the state to contest for the exalted Number One position in the land. This has continued to gather momentum in the recent past and probably has also lent credence to the earlier call made by the 25 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly in December 2020 during a plenary season .

The Kogi State House of Assembly had passed vote of confidence on the state governor, Yahaya Bello and urged him to contest for the position of President in 2023. This was contained in two seperate motions moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Hassan Bello Abdullahi and member representing Olamaboro Constituency , Ujah Anthony : “Motion to Call on Kogi Governor to Contest for 2023 Presidential Election and Vote of Confidence on the Governor and Call to Seek Higher Office’ on floor of the House .

At the plenary session , members who spoke eulogised Governor Yahaya Bello , disclosing that they were impressed by his achievements and lot of dynamism he brought into governance in the past five years.

“That this Kogi State House cf Assembly further makes a call to national service to His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and we hereby Impress it upon him to run for the Office of the President or Vice President of Nigeria in 2023 after his current assignment In Kogi State.

“That this solemn call is first and foremost premised upon and born out of the belief that the subject, Yahaya Bello, is a fit and proper person, with the right mix of youth, experience and track record to .answer same firmly and decisively in 2023 and beyond.

“That we make this call aware that only the North Central and the South East geo political zones have not occupied the offIces of President and Vice President of Nigeria since the advent of the 4tth Republic in 1999.

“That we must, on behalf of our people, register-our pain and frustration with the attitude of some of our compatriots who persist treating the North Central Geo political Zone, and in particular, lamenting the citizens of the zone are treated as mere adjunct of the North.

“That this unfortunate attitude was again exempiified within the last two weeks by majority ot leaders of our party the APC who, in separate interviews with the press, propounded a two-way split of the Presidency between a hegemonic ‘North and South‘ based on an alleged ‘Zoning Formuia‘ which has suffered so much since change as to be unrecognisabie in any current alteration.

“That we demand, in the interest of equity and justice, that in the 2023 general election both the Office of President and Vice President of Nigeria must be ceded to the North Central and South East geo political zones in the interest to peace unity arbitrate or contest for, the legislators stressesd .

In his ruling the Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly , Mr. Mathew Kolawole said the entire members of have passed a Vote of confidence on the governor because he has done excellently well, calling on the leaders of All Progressive Congress at the national level to ensure that the North Central be allowed to produce next President .The house therefore passed a resolution that governor Yahaya Bello should constest for president come 2023.

In the past few weeks , the echo of governor Bello for President has continued to spread across the country like wildfire, with current slogan GYB2PYB. Among other groups mobilizing for the governor are National Youths Council of Nigeria , National Women Council of Nigeria NWCN , Kogi Women also staged a walk to call on Governor Bello to join the presidential race in 2023.

The governor whose posters for the 2023 presidential race have since flooded the Federal Capital Territory and many Northern States capital in the country, was said to have advised those he called elders in the ruling party to drop their presidential ambition for the younger ones. .

There is no doubt that Governor Bello has taken time out outside of his tight scheduled to receive groups, organisations and individuals who are druming support for the onerous task ahead in both Lokoja and Abuja reapectively

Mr Nihi Oladele who led other youths on the platform of National Yoiths Council in Abuja recently persuaded Governor Yahaya Bello to contest the 2023 presidential election, describing him as the Most Youth Friendly Governor in the area of political appointments, employments and social interventions empowerement programmes in the State . The youths leader cited the example of employment of over 100 young graduate lawyers into the State Ministry of Justice .In the similar vein , the governor had employed several graduates with ICT background who are doing well in various ministries.

Oladele who disclosed recently that National Youths Council will do everything humanly possible to mobilize millions of youths for Governor Bello in the bid to join the 2023 presidential race, saying that although the Governor has not heeded their clarion calls, he urged the youths to go and register in the ongoing All Progressive Congress APC National Revalidation and Registration Excercise across the country .

At every fora, the Secretary to Kogi State Government, Mrs . Folashade Arike Ayoade has been drumming support for the governor’s presidential ambition , noting that by his disposition womenfolk in governance in Kogi State has no equall in the country . Ayoade stated that what the Governor has done creditably well in the area of women empowerement was more than the 35 percent Affirmation being canvassed globally as the mark for inclusion of women in governance.

During a one day walk by Kogi Women in Lokoja for Governor Yahaya Bello to Contest Presidential election come 2023, Ayoade who was the spokesperson during the occasion noted that women in the State are all out to support the governor and show appreciation for what he has done tfor women in the state. She highlighted some of the critical decisions taken in favour of women in Kogi State, including her position as SSG, Commissioner for Women Affairs, stressing that in the just concluded local government election in Kogi State women were elected councillors and not only that women also emerged as Vice Chairmen and leader of council in all 21local government areaas of the state .

During a courtesy visit to the Governor at Government House in Lokoja, the leader of a religious body ,Kingdom Nework, , Archbishop Peter Ogieriakhi commended the Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello for various achievements

“We have seen for ourselves the eloquent testimonies of your receptive disposition towards all good-minded religious groups. This glorious audience is one of such eloquent testimonies. We are also aware that you have abridged every religious, regional and ethnic gaps in the state. We say thank you and as a body of Christ, we urge you to carry on in this Godly Spirit.

“We, are before the happy presence of Your Excellency today as part of our obligations to the good people of Kogi State in general and to Your Excellency in particular. As believers, we have the mandate to commit leaders into the able hands of God for proper directions and wisdom. So in addition to interacting with Your Excellency, we are here to lift you to heaven in prayers. No leader succeeds without God,” the clergyman stated.

The body of clergymen specifically appreciated Bello’s exemplary and courageous stance on some national issues, adding that he stood firm and spoke louder than everyone else in your category against the politicization and merchandising of the Coronavirus in Nigeria.And also managed the EndSars protest with such an excellent tactic that it did not degenerate into a dangerous level in Kogi State. Finally, we are aware of your development strides in relevant sectors in the state. You have also given the women and youths their place of pride in governance. This has made you a serial winner of awards over time. As a body of Christ, we urge you to keep up your good work.

“We have become aware of several calls for you to run the presidential race come 2023. You have the full backing of this body especially in seeking God’s face and favour in the actualization of this tall dream. We are resolute in our support for you to become the president of Nigeria”,

Responding Kogi State Governor , Yahaya Bello tasked all well meaning Nigerians and religious leaders to continue pray for peaceful co-existence and unity of the country in view of the current security challenges and ethno-reloigous sentiments ravaging the country.He also called on Nigerians to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed in his efforts at piloting the affairs of the country to the promised land

Bello made this call while receiving in audience the members of a religious body, The Kingdom Network , an Interdinominational Organization comprising members from across all the states of the federation who paid him a courtesy visit at Government House in Lokoja, lamented that the spate of insecurity , kidnapping, banditry and ethnic issues in the country are totally unacceptable, stressing that Kogi State is more secured and more prosperous despite the threat.

“Nigeria today as we have it , there are a lot of problems starting from insecurity , Kidnapping , banditry division along ethic and religious lines and other issues that divide the country , however we will continue to pray for the country “, the governor said

He stressed that he want to sincerely appreciate all the “pressures that has been mounting on me by the women , from youths across the country , pressures mounted on me by the leaders across the country , pressures mounted on me from the religious leaders , pressures mounted on me the leaders from low and mighty , pressure mounted on from various political party to run for 2023 presidential race .

He added that he was created by Almighty God to face pressures, noting that Ihe knew the tasks ahead , God is going to show us the way. “I know Nigeria under President Muhammmed Buhari is going to be better .We will continue to pray for for him and the leadership that is going to emerge on 2023 to make Nigeria great .

However, the recent responses by Governor Yahaya particularly when the Ex -international footballers led by former Supper Eagles player and former National Coach , Austin Eguavon who visited him at his Abuja residence might be one of the underpinning factors to be considered for the clarion calls by all and sundrry. The fundamental issue that came out of the meeting was the need for generational shift from older to younger ones. This is the major reason Governor Bello joined governorship race in 2015. By divine intervention, he merged as the governor .

While speaking in response to the ex-footballers, Bello said hat no matter the threats, gang-up and emotional outbursts from them, President Buhari would ensure that only the youths take centre stage in the governance of the country. He further stressed that President Buhari has since demonstrated his resolve with the nomination of 40 year-old Abdulrahhed Bawa as the Chairman Of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He Said: “I don’t. know the position that God has designed for me after my governorship tenure but l pray that l should be able to bequeath and hand over to a younger one who will out perform and outshine me.
I pray that good reasons will prevail on our seniors to know that the time is up for them because I have been charged with the responsibility of educating, sehsitising, mobilising strong, energetic, committed and patriotic new generation of men and women. I will not fail in that responsibility.

”I know that the youths and students are listening to me. We have spoken. We have communicated and we understand

However , as the call continued to trickle in on daily basis tongues have begun to wag and opinions are already divided According to a school of thought, the governor is eminently qualified to seek higher office in the land . Having done well in the state Bello is said to be constitutionally qaulified as well.

However, the opposition parties argued that Governor Bello still has a lot to deal with at home in terms of development of basic infrastructure.

A Lokoja based analyst , Mallam Abdullahi Umar argued that no law that there is no law that bars the governor from contesting for higher office, pointing out that Governor Bello was in order to join the presidential race as long as it has not stopped him from performing his duty as the Governor of Kogi State . He noted the constitution allows anyone seeking political office if he is qaulified.

The Director of Research and Docuementation, Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State , Mr. Dickson Ocholi lamented that the persisent calls could described as mere distractions which will not allow Governor Yahaya Bello to concentrate on state affairs between now and 2022 when presidential primaries will be conducted across the parties.

Ocholi pointed out that the Governor has enough work begging for his attention in Kogi rather than seeking higher office for now, calling on him to sit down in Lokoja , the State capital and restrategise in the interest of the people of Kogi State.

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The opposition parties argued that Governor Bello still has a lot to deal with at home in terms of development of basic infrastructure. A Lokoja based analyst , Mallam Abdullahi Umar argued that no law that there is no law that bars the governor from contesting for higher office, pointing out that Governor Bello was in order to join the presidential race as long as it has not stopped him from performing his duty as the Governor of Kogi State . He noted the constitution allows anyone seeking political office if he is qaulified. The Director of Research and Docuementation, Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State , Mr. Dickson Ocholi lamented that the persisent calls could described as mere distractions which will not allow Governor Yahaya Bello to concentrate on state affairs between now and 2022 when presidential primaries will be conducted across the parties. Ocholi pointed out that the Governor has enough work begging for his attention in Kogi rather than seeking higher office for now, calling on him to sit down in Lokoja , the State capital and restrategise in the interest of the people of Kogi State