The stage is almost set for Nigerians to once again, choose the leaders that will steer the affairs of the Nation at all levels for another four years. But before the general elections, the struggle is within the parties, and in that regard, many have put their hats in the ring. The presidential race in the ruling All Progressives Congress is populated by known heavyweights in Nigeria’s politics, and in the next few weeks, depending on what the party decides, all aspirants that have had the courage to declare so far and those still preparing to do so, would have to jostle for just one ticket.
Some Groups have even almost concluded that this ticket belongs to a particular zone as a result of some prior unwritten agreement, but those who have the interest of the nation at heart have said, times without number, that there is no zoning in the constitution of the party, and more importantly, that the best must get the job, regardless of his zone, if the wellbeing of the country is the target.
On the 2nd of April 2022, His Excellency, Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, formally declared to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023 under the platform of the APC. In his signature bold manner, the declaration ceremony at the Eagles Square Abuja, has been described, even by unrelenting critics as the first-of-its-kind in Nigeria. This was even more significant because, while others veiled their declaration under other programmes, others, afraid to test their popularity the way of Governor Bello, settled for video recordings of their declaration speeches.
It is indeed commendable that despite the fears that there would be an irreversible crack in the APC after the last Convention, the party, under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, proved naysayers wrong and had a rancour-free exercise, which has produced leaders of note to man the different offices in the party.
The party, in its wisdom, knows that, after eight years, it must present a candidate that can win the next election, considering the “we against them” attitude of citizens in many Countries to the government of the day, which usually makes retaining power, under a free and fair environment, difficult for incumbents. There are, however, many reasons the choice of Yahaya Bello would make the journey easier for the ruling party.
The party needs a candidate that can connect massively with women and youths, considering their combined numerical strength and that candidate is no other than Governor Yahaya Bello.
The preference of Nigerians, regardless of tribe, religion or party affiliation, for a younger leader is also very clear. Of the pool of aspirants, as the country stands today, even across party lines, Governor Yahaya Bello is the best bet for the younger generation if this dream must be actualized. This consideration has made millions of youths across Nigeria resolve to put their numbers behind the Governor, and this is verifiable with the number of active youths with PVCs currently on the Bello Ambassadors Network, Rescue Nigeria Mission, and Yahaya Bello Network, among many other support groups.
Again, the North-Central, where Governor Bello comes from, has not produced a democratically elected president in the history of Nigeria, and so, irrespective of what people are made to believe, they will support their own when it is time to take a stand. The North Central believes strongly that the time for them to occupy the Aso Rock Villa is now. Being the strongest contender from the region places Governor Bello in a vantage position to clinch the presidential ticket.
Yahaya Bello is an acclaimed unifier. It is a well known fact that, for the first time in the history of Kogi State, the sharp, bitter division between the three major ethnic groups gave way to unity and harmony under the Governor. He united the tribes, starting from his cabinet, and today, everyone is first a Kogi indigene before being identified with his ethnic group. Nigeria needs a unifier now more than ever. The Governor is ever ready to build on the President’s efforts in this regard. How he turned the state from a notorious state, where kidnappers and criminals built empires, to one of the safest in Nigeria today and, conveniently, the safest in the north, is a question that has been on the lips of many Nigerians. Therefore, in terms of the main issues confronting the nation, Governor Yahaya Bello has excelled remarkably in Kogi State.
The loyalty of Governor Bello to the leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari, has often been described by critics as “annoying”, but this is the stuff our aspirant is made of. He is loyal to his friends, colleagues and allies, and more so, to the APC. He has demonstrated this on so many occasions, even in very difficult situations. He has no record of betrayal to his party members and his principles. He is a fair game player.
The current well experienced and accomplished party leaders would definitely not sacrifice these laudable attributes for “destructive” politics. They will rally round Governor Yahaya Bello and retain the presidency with a wide margin come 2023.