The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said that rather engage on the unconstitutional issue of rotational presidency, what Nigerians should focus on is look for that Nigerian, no matter where he comes, who can be the captain to pilot the country to the promised land.
The governor who stated this at the First Annual Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB) Seminar for Nigeria’s Political and Crime Correspondents/Editors at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, said that even after 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and another six years of All Progressives Congress (APC), in the country, the problems of the nation has not been solved by the rotational presidency that has taken place over the years.
Bello insisted that the political party must not limit the choice of Nigerians to any region, adding the nation must not continue on the sentiment of rotation as it is a setback to the development of the nation.
Bello in his paper, Perspectives on Leadership and Aspiration’, admitted that “there is no denying the fact therefore that we need to urgently rearrange in the ways and manners in which we relate if we are to arrest the dangerous slide in confidence and team-building amongst Nigerians caused by years and years of mismanaged diversity.”
Giving Kogi as example of a place where merit is the order of the day instead of where you come from, the governor said that “within the context of Kogi State which is a microcosm of Nigeria itself, our diversity was enough to tear us apart as a government in the same manner it had divided our people for decades before our coming, but that is if we allowed it. We refused to allow them, and by working together instead, we were able to leverage on our diversity.”
He stated that “tribe, religion, geography and class no longer play role in the measure of anyone among us. We have Nigerians from everywhere helping us to move Kogi State forward, right from our cabinet and into other areas and position.
Today, we have managed to improve the sociopolitical outlook for our people and state and created an intra-state legacy of cooperation and integration which will outlast us. This achievement did not come from wishful thinking but by the deployment of five foundational mindsets from my day one in office.
“One, government exists for everyone and every part of the society. Two, our constitutional guarantees of equality as citizens are binding on leaders to enforce irrespective of their own personal beliefs, feelings and inclinations. Three, inclusivity and equal access to government and her institutions are the inalienable right of all citizens. Four, Affirmative Action is for every section of the populace and governance is useless unless it ensures that wherever people are disadvantaged or excluded in our society, leadership makes it a point of duty to take action to balance the equation. Five, and finally, equity, unity and the fear of God are the principal bedrocks on which any society which aspires to be egalitarian, and most especially a diverse society like ours, must be built.
“As the clarion call goes forth for 2023, one can easily discern by events such as this that the Organised Media in Nigeria is already working hard to crack the complex equation of who the next Nigerian President should be. All I can say is that in factoring your 2023 equations, please allow yourselves to be guided by the National interest to input the following factors: Youthfulness. Natural force and physical energy cannot be abated if performance is to be elevated.
“Courage. A clear capacity to be zealously affected in a good matter and to lead with courage and foresight in the pursuit of the overall best interests of the people. Security. Proven ability to enforce security, unity and peace in a large territory with a difficult terrain. Diversity. Clear records in successfully managing diversity which is where most post-Independence leaders of Nigeria have failed. Today we have a Kogi State where the youth are predominantly the ones in office, the women have crossed the 35% Affirmative Action threshold of the SDGs and continue to rise and People With Special Needs have adequate representation in government.
“Finally, and also very important, the inescapable point of equity, ie, that only the North Central and South East Geopolitical Zones of this country have not held the Presidency or Vice Presidency, the two highest offices in the land, since return to civilian rule in 1999. All talks of zoning must be the handmaid of equity or we are merely playing dangerous politics and healing the wounds of the country deceitfully.”
On the call for state police by some Governors across the country, Bello said he did not support it as it subject to political manipulations by unscrupulous state chief executives.
He stressed that the call would end like the call for the creation of state Independent Electoral Commission, the support of which has waned on the heels of manipulations by state governments
“This administration does not measure itself by how high we have climbed but by what depths we have climbed out from. A few examples will suffice. We set our sights on security in the state and overhauled it. Nigerians may want to know that our police, military and other Law Enforcement officers are not cowards. The vast majority of our officers are good, intelligent and diligent folk. We discovered that they just needed the right tools to do their jobs and a little motivation to give us their best. We did our best to give them both. It took a huge toll on our resources, but we got and distributed over 200 patrol vans, over 500 motorcycles and thousands of communications and other gadgets to our security contingents in Kogi State within our first year.
“In the last five years, our results speak for themselves. By 2018, after about 2 years in the office, Kogi went from being a violent crime hub and the kidnap capital of Nigeria to the ‘second most peaceful state in the country’ and ‘the state with the second lowest crime statistics in Nigeria’ according to the rating agencies and law enforcement records.
“The ubiquitous armed robbery and communal clashes we inherited are largely extinct now. We still record kidnapping but only as opportunistic attacks far removed from the franchised operations they used to be in the past when busloads of passengers were routinely abducted for random on our highways. Much respect for our gallant law enforcement contingents in Kogi State who generally subdue such criminality with professional despatch and extreme prejudice.”