AKINOLA, Opeyemi Michael.
On the 27th day of January, 2021, I was to leave for Ilorin very early. Fortunately enough for me, no sooner than I arrived at the motor park when I saw a vehicle heading towards Ilorin. I hurried into an eighteen-seater-capacity bus almost immediately. I was astounded at the massive silence in the vehicle as though I was at a graveyard. I sat at the rare of the bus beside a man who appeared older than everyone else on the bus – with the appearance of grey hairs scattered on his head and frailing facial outlook- I assume the man to be in his seventies. Suddenly, the man seated beside the driver broke the silence which jolted me out of my reverie: “Wonders will not cease to happen o. I heard that Yahaya Bello has shown interest in 2023 presidential race”
“Don’t mind the man. That will sabotage his political career. He should go and have his rest. We don’t need him in Nigerian government”, another voice supported.
The conversation birthed more tension when a voice from the backseat resonated and gave a contrary statement, ” Anybody who is not in support of Yahaya Bello’s presidential ambition is an enemy of Nigeria “. This statement generated a heated argument which later metamorphosed into a critical discussion on Nigerian political leadership. The conversation became overwhelmingly interesting as I listeened with keen interest to the positions and arguments of both parties. So, it turned out as a palliative to the gridlock of discomfort necessitated by the bad road. My trip to Ilorin was now one of my best trips in the new year as I enjoyed how people engaged in constructive and logical arguments as regards political matters. I expected that at the end of the debate, I would be able to ascertain the worthiness or un-worthiness of Yahaya Bello’s presidential interest.
” Bello has failed to transform his state. Therefore, he can’t transform Nigeria. We need a hard-working and selfless person to take over the baton from the currently under-performing president”, a lady on glasses said. A man from the front-seat replied her: “Let our conscience guide our speech, madam. Gov. Yahaya Bello has done his best to move Kogi State forward. You can’t compare Kogi of today with the old Kogi. There is now a massive transformation, and the train of development has not stopped moving. It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. Kogi is no longer crawling on its toes; it is moving with great speeds”. Another man responded, ” Young lady. I was once in your shoes. I had passionate hatred for Yahaya Bello because we are not of the same political party but when I visited Kogi and saw what he is doing there, I believe he is competent enough to tranform Nigeria to higher pedestal of development. I have learned to always see beyond party politics and vote on the strength of good representation”.
Amidst the cacophony of voices in the bus, a particular voice became distinct. The question produced by this voice opened my mouth wide in utter wonder as how greatly ignorant and highly sentimental some people can be. Listen to the shocking question asked by a lady: “Insecurity is one of the greatest challenges Nigeria is bedeviled with. How can someone who has failed to combat the insecurity challenge in his state, fight that of a Federation?”
The old man seated by my side angrily responded to the lady: “Since the beginning of this conversation, I had planned not to be involved. Even if you are not a supporter of Yahaya Bello’s presidential ambition, don’t allow that becloud your sense of reasoning and heart of sincerity. Bello deserves an award for fighting insecurity. Kogi has now become the safest state in Nigeria. This is one of the greatest feats of a good leader. He actually deserves an applause”.
The driver added, ” Yahaya Bello has shaken the whole world and changed some orientation about the Covid-19 commerce. He does not want to be part of the commercialization of the virus at the detriment of his people. He is a man of the people. He places his people first”. This statement calmed the atmosphere of the tensive debate.
Essentially, my journey to Ilorin was an eye-opener. It pointed out the need of Gov. Yahaya Bello to occupy the presidential seat come 2023. Nigeria is in dire need of a selfless, non-tribalistic, and youthful leader like Yahaya Bello to transform her. The greatest monk of nation’s division and disintegration is the allowance of tribalism to play an integral role in governance. An atom of tribalism, if allowed in nation leadership, most especially, is lethal enough to shatter its government. Yahaya Bello has successfully mended the torn fragments of ethnic unity in Kogi State. In Kogi State of today, everyone is recognized and not placed above the other irrespective of whichever tribe or ethnic group he belongs to. This is achieved under the administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello. Gov. Yahaya Bello believes so much in One Nigeria. He belives we have equal rights as long we are as legitimate citizens of Nigeria.
Yahaya Bello for all Nigerians