Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello is slightly older than me, but he is still of my generation, and most times he opens his mouth, I am tempted to feel he is disgracing my generation.
I have, however, come to the conclusion that he is only giving one person a bad name, and that person was born on June 18, 1975, the youngest of six children, attended Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Agassa in Okene, had his high school at Agassa Community Secondary School, and tertiary education at both the Kaduna State Polytechnic, Zaria, and the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. His name is Professor Alhaji Chief Dr His Excellency Yahaya Bello.
Since he was foisted into political consciousness, Yahaya Bello seems to be struggling to justify the education he had; he is battling to display the wisdom such education connotes, and he is at a loss on how to prove that he is not carrying some burden too much for his mortal frame.
The manner Professor Alhaji Chief Dr His Excellency Yahaya Bello became governor was not ordinary. Abubakar Audu was cruising to victory and died before results could be declared, and in the wisdom of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Audu’s running mate, James Faleke, was not good enough to inherit the throne. Yahaya Bello was called to come and take the cap, even when he was not the running mate! The courts, including the apex court, agreed Faleke should not have the crown. So, Yahaya Bello happened and Kogi has been at a cruising level since then. He portrays himself as a gift that keeps giving, says he has done spectacular things in the last five years and deserves our accolades. In fact, some of his supporters say he deserves to be deified. As far as they are concerned, if he had lived in the same era as Sango, Ogun, Venus, Osun and other gods, he would have also been a god. His effigy, they say, would have been in shrines and palm oil, ogogoro, apeteshi, bitter kola, kola nut and so on, would be used to appease him. They argue we have this god in our midst free of charge and we are not taking advantage of his presence.
But, we need answers to these questions: What is the condition of the roads in Kogi? Are the people battling poverty? Are there people down with illnesses and unable to take care of themselves? Are expectant mothers dying while trying to bring forth lives? Are government employees getting paid when due? From what I hear, the governor has not been able to lift the people in these areas.
A few days ago, Yahaya Bello granted Channels TV an interview. It was not his first or second or third to be beamed live from the government house, with him sitting like a royal and picking his words like one unsure of himself. Many of these interviews he has granted of late have been about his presidential ambition, but in his most recent, he spoke like someone who does not understand English language. Or how else can one interpret his statement that all Nigerians were begging him to run as President in 2023? Even in his cabinet, there are people who, when not being watched, will pillory his ambition, yet this man claims all Nigerians want him to be President, as if Senator Dino Melaye is no longer a Nigerian. The word ‘all’, if Yahaya Bello does not know, means there is no dissention to his ambition. That is absolute balderdash. We could have forgiven him if he had said many or several Nigerians. The man was not even modest to say the bulk or majority of Nigerians were supporting him. He said all of us were dying to have him replace President Muhammadu Buhari and save us from the much-predicted doom.
This statement is not the first ridiculous assertion from Yahaya Bello. Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has carried on as though the Kogi atmosphere is a vaccine against the virus. The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 condemned him and he took several newspapers pages to attack the body, which is made up of experts and representatives of international humanitarian agencies. At the time Yahaya Bello was saying his nonsense about the virus, America, the United Kingdom, and many other superpowers had lost thousands of people to COVID-19. Our casualty figures back home were also not too small to make one take the virus seriously. Many are still down in isolation centres around the world, especially India, where a new strain of the virus has overwhelmed the health facility.
At 45 years of age, Yahaya Bello is free to fill the vacancy that will be at the Presidential Villa in Abuja in 2023, but he has not shown us that he has what it takes to save us from the punishment that leadership has been for our nation since time immemorial.
Given the multi-faceted challenges biting us like python, and gradually ebbing lives out of us, we do not need a man like Yahaya Bello to govern us. He lacks the magic wand like the one Moses used to divide the Red Sea and lead his people to safety. We are in dire need of such magic wand and going by what Yahaya Bello has shown us so far, we need to continue our search for our messiah!
The magic wand must be such that can defeat poverty (which President Muhammadu Buhari has unsuccessfully wrestled) and make a thing of the past; with the magic wand we need, corruption should bid bye-bye to our country; with his magic wand, sickness and diseases should flee from our land; with his magic wand, expectant mothers should be delivered of their babies like the Hebrew women; and with his magic wand, our infrastructure should become world-class. Yahaya Bello lacks this much-needed magic wand.
We need a leader who will ensure the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and members of the Paris and London clubs are not the only determinants of the directions we follow.
My final take: Professor Alhaji Chief Dr His Excellency Yahaya Bello should save us from his constant verbal harassments. No one, except sycophants, is begging him to come and be president. He knows this is the truth and he should stop deceiving himself about not disappointing the so-called all Nigerians who are earnestly yearning for him to run. He should instead run from the sycophants who are, no doubt, deceiving him in order to get filthy lucre from him.