By: Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi
It was Winston Churchill who said The Price of Greatness is Responsibility. For Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the fourth Executive Governor of Kogi state, his waxing prominence in the national political firmament gets the faint-hearted trembling. This is not achieved through any magic than the responsibility of diligence in national service.
Never in the history of Kogi has a governor been this noticeably seen in the national limelight like this. Against all odds, he emerged governor of the most centralised state of the federation in 2015 after the demise of the winner of the APC primary election, Abubakar Audu. This course did not come without hiccups. His party the APC acting rightly in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act that only a political party can submit the name of a candidate in an election to the electoral body decided in its wisdom that Yahaya Bello, who came second in the primaries should be the candidate of the party for the supplementary election. While it was easy for his political foes to conclude that it was a victory gotten by late Abubakar Audu, they forgot that it took the political mastery, uncommon strategy and unprecedented political calculations to tower high and come as first runner-up in the most competitive primary election preceding the November 21st 2015 gubernatorial election. The vibrant, youthful and useful GYB defeated several political giants with incomparable margin and in a close race to late Abubakar Audu, a former Governor to emerge the first runner-up, when he was just a green horn and at just less than forty years of age, it is indeed a feat yet to be recorded in the fourth republic.
The Ahmadu Bello University-trained Accountant, civil servant and businessman surmounted all the legal hurdles that came his way and eventually presided over the affairs of the state as its helmsman. Ever since then, like a wildfire, at 45, his popularity has known no limit. He has been like the David in the bible, who was so engraced that he fought several forthright battles and never to be defeated in one. His record-breaking achievements in his first term made his re-election for another four years a walk in the park with a resounding victory. Again, the people’s mandate he massively secured has continued to be his advocate. One outstanding achievement of Governor Yahaya Bello that Kogites have continued to celebrate, is the unity of purpose and Federer character entrenched in the totality of appointments, employment, developmental projects and the civil service, the Yahaya Bello led administration has banished tribal bigotry, his God ordained leadership has expelled religious animosity, his governance has established order and regards to duties in the public service and political offices. A closer observation of the man Yahaya Adoza Bello reveals an altruistic fellow with contagious audacity to confront most insurmountable challenges, Governor Yahaya Bello’s sincerity of purpose and noticeable penchant for providing leadership has thrown him up and exposed his political capacity to national reckoning, again making him the first governor of Kogi to be so noticed, engaged and participate in national political concerns than any one before him.
GYB’s political ideology is one that totally changed the once PDP dominated Kogi State to a 97% APC controlled. It is noteworthy to state that Governor Yahaya Bello met a 16 member PDP state assembly in 2016 out of 25 and before the 2019 general election, the number reduced to just 2 while APC surged to 23. GYB’s politics of competitive inter party political marketing is one that caused the tsunami in the state House of Assembly, this indisputably began the political obituary of People’s Democratic Party in Kogi State. As at today, it is an unmistakable fact that Kogi is now solidly under APC
Are you still in doubt as to why he trounced his challengers in the tribunal and later the appeal court? Yet he has never stopped to extend the olive branch to anyone who is aggrieved over his victory to join hands with him in the overall interest of the state.
As a man who rose to national limelight at a very young age, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has not only dwarfed the records of his predecessors but has shown that his choice by the good people of Kogi to preside over their affairs was a decision guided by divinity. Under his leadership, the confluence state has in the past five years witnessed an unprecedented commitment to security of lives and property, he has made unmatched investment in the security infrastructure and architecture of the state. This is a clear and remarkable paradigm shift from what he met on ground where the people lived in constant fear and uncertainty.
The Yahaya Bello’s milestone in security is largely predicated on the inclusion of the people for whom his loyalty is unshaken. It is his firm belief that with the people at the forefront, a lot can be achieved in their governance process. This he has demonstrated by recruiting the locals, the vigilante to drive the grassroot security architecture of the state. The Isanlu incident however, was a regrettable one which the governor has assured will not happen again. Today, Kogi state Governor at the risk of sounding boastful is not only the most security pragmatic in the federation but a pace-setter other states have come to copy. This cannot be extricated from why he is being recognised with awards both locally and internationally.
It is also noteworthy that as a testament to the new level Kogi state has witnessed under His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello, his call to service in the national scene has on daily basis gathered fresh momentum. As an eloquent testimony to the visible signposts he is making in his state, GYB as he is known among supporters and allies was just recently appointed to chair the security committee of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) under the leadership of his Plateau counterpart, His Excellency Simon Lalong. This is with the focal aim of giving the bandits and killer gangs in the Northern region a bloody nose and permanently send them out of circulation in the country, an assignment that is yielding results already. As the recent resurrection of disturbances on the highway began, equal forces have been deployed to crush them away, leading to death of not less than 10 kidnappers in the last three weeks.
True to his assurance that the bandits will find it difficult to operate in the region, GYB has in the past one month of his appointment brought to fore the agility of his youthfulness in service to fatherland. Today, the bandits in the North are not only in disarray and on aggressive relocation to neighbouring countries, begging to be spared. The series of high powered security meetings he has initiated with heads of security agencies since his appointment has led to the harvest of deaths of the lethal jihadists who have caused our people series of sleepless nights. The killing of eight Boko Haram commanders earlier in the week whose names were given as Tumbun Dabino – Ba Issoufo, Tumbun Bororo – Amir Batam, Tumbun Jaki – Almustapha, Tumbun Bagaruwa – Modou Kollo, Dogon Tchoukou – Issah, Tumbun Rakke – Mustapha Woulama, Tumbun Dila – Boukar Kowa and Tumbun Mita – Abou Aisha who attempted to infiltrate the Army Super Camp in Damasak gives him joy as a man who is deeply committed to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari of ridding the country of all forms of criminality.
His choice by the ruling APC under the leadership of his Yobe state counterpart, Governor Mai Mala Buni to chair the party’s Ondo state governorship primary election committee did not come as a surprise to keen observers of the nation’s political developments. Unlike what we see each moment the people that call themselves opposition conduct their cash and carry, shambolic primary elections, there was no form of disagreement or rancour arising from the just concluded primary election of the party in the state. All the contestants gladly accepted the outcome of the election that produced Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the candidate of the APC in the October gubernatorial contest.
As a man who has benefitted from a fair and just process, he had earlier assured the contestants of fairness and impartiality, a trait for which he had carved a niche for himself in his accounting and civil service career. He visibly demonstrated this and not even a single individual who went into the contest raised an eyebrow of foul play.
To those who are still in doubt, GYB is an emerging and unstoppable political force. He has never developed cold feet in bringing to the national stage his experiential sagacity all in a bid to leave a society generations after him will be proud of. As an upwardly mobile young blood, he is ever ready to serve the land that has given him so much in any capacity.
As I bring this piece to a close, suffice to say that GYB is a rallying point for a justified sense of dignity and pride for any indigene of Kogi. The litany of people-oriented programs he has initiated in the state ranging from drastic reduction of over bloated civil service, peopled by ghost workers, rural and urban renewal, massive employment generation, health system development, women inclusion and others stand him out. GYB we are proud of you.
Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi
SSA Political Matters (K/B/I)