Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello of Kogi State was born on June 18, 1975 in Okene, Kogi State. Bello is about the youngest Governor in Nigeria and the only one to be born after the brutal Nigeria/Biafra Civil War. In 2015 following the victory of the late Prince Abubakar Audu and his sudden death the All Progressives Congress announced Bello as the replacement of the deceased seasoned politician who originally won the election but died before the result was declared. The youthful exuberant Governor obtained an accounting degree from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 1999.
Yahaya Bello became Governor of Kogi state by a tinge of good luck. Or should we say rather that he was made Governor by melancholic accident? The grim reaper aided and abetted his sudden rise to power and wealth in Lokoja when the man elected suddenly kicked the bucket. Bello must be grateful to God (or Satan) for taking the life of the right man chosen by Kogi people to pilot their state affairs.
Before venturing into politics Nigeriana Bello was a businessman who was once the Managing Director of FairPlus International Ltd. Married with children his hobbies include reading, driving, travelling, playing soccer, boxing etc. Few months ago a viral video surfaced online where Bello was in his private gym dancing sportively and building up his muscles!
Gov. Bello is COVID-19 skeptic and he was against the vaccination policy. He refused to wear face masks publicly. Bello once claimed that he had rejected a ₦1.1 billion support fund for Kogi State from the World Bank because of his belief that COVID-19 was a “glorified malaria”. Even after the pandemic had eliminated men of power like Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to President Buhari Bello is still in his anti-COVID hubris.
Scandals had enmeshed his administration amidst backlog of salary arrears owed workers in the state. Yet Bello lives an obscenely opulent lifestyle! He had played host to a host of stars — footballers, Nollywood entertainers, boxers and celebrities. Lokoja has become a Mecca of some sort where ‘egunje’ is very easy to be obtained from the audacious Governor.
Recently a 20 billion Naira Sterling Bank Plc bailout loan had hit his administration. The fund was initially deposited in a special bank account only for the money to be transferred or retransferred surreptitiously into a private account for reasons of embezzlement or corruption. Bello ‘swims’ in scandals of all sorts. Besides, he loves the spotlight and craves for same.
He has imperially transformed himself into a local ’emperor’ in whose court one finds jesters, freeloaders and swindlers! For some of his friends he is a benevolent father Xmas whose generosity knows no bound. And for his admirers he is just a jolly good useful ‘idiot’ who is good at distributing scarce state fiscal resources in order to maintain a cult of personality.
And for the cynics and critics like us (including one ex-Senator Dino Melaye, himself an eccentric figure from Kogi state) Bello is nothing but a square peg in a round hole, an ‘apostle’ of extravagant waste. Yet the man is advancing an inordinate presidential ambition greater than his entire self.
The tragedy of gubernatorial governance in Kogi state we are witnessing lately as epitomized by Bello and his gang of corrupt enablers could be linked to his chance intrusion into the Government House in Lokoja. Here is a man who ordinarily should not have ‘smelt’ governance at the local government level being propelled to state governorship!
Abuse of power, megalomania and hubristic showmanship has set in culminating in abysmal failure to provide democracy dividends for the poor Kogi people.
Now, having amassed so much wealth (stolen through kickbacks and outright contract and loan scams) Bello is confident heading towards 2023, age on his side. He wants to be President! Well, anyone can be President of a broken nation including terrorists, lunatics and of course Yahaya Bello.
President Muhammadu Buhari has effortfully lowered the indices of governance at the federal level, messing up almost everything, that anyone could aspire to replace him hoping to better his catastrophic presidency. The late Lamidi Adedibu or Barkin Zuwo could have done better were they to be alive and elected to do the job!
The Senior Pastor of the Citadel Global Community Church, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, made a very important valid point recently while featuring on a Channels Television interview. For the man of God: “Let the best of the best emerge… it doesn’t matter which part of the country the person comes from….it is not really where the person comes from that matters, it is what he is able to do and deliver” stressing that emphasis should be put on competence in the choice of leaders come 2023.
Given the enormity of destruction perpetrated by President Buhari and his Fulani gang in terms of national unity, insecurity and economic woes it would take a strong character in his patriotic competent best to make Nigeria whole again.
Against this backdrop, therefore, come 2023, Nigeria needs a detribalized cosmopolitan President, young, hale and hearty, one whose pan-Nigerian worldview would not be in any doubt.
For all we care the future President could be Igbo, Fulani, Hausa, Yoruba, Ijaw or Tiv. What is paramount here is not where the President comes from, his or her religion but what (s)he is coming to the table with. It is high time we did away with ethno-religious politics.
Setting or resetting Nigeria on an irreversible path to progress, if not greatness, requires quality work and strategic thinking. Come 2023 Nigeria and Nigerians must be saved, one me or you at a time!
Given his pedigree and poor stewardship in Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello does not fit into the description of a President Nigeria urgently needs come 2023. Bello must, therefore, back off and allow great minds and men of strong character compete for power post-Buharism.
AUTHOR: Ozodinukwe Okenwa
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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