Yahaya Bello: Where Asiwaju got it right

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By Philip Agbese

Governor Yahaya Bello remains a force to reckon with in the political landscape in Nigeria. You don’t have to like his face, but you can’t help but like his style. He is young and vibrant and one that speaks truth to power.

Alhaji Yahaya Bello is also one of the few who connects easily with the teeming youthful population in the country. He speaks the language they understand because he is one of them and has commanded tremendous respect from that circle.

His aspiration to be President of Nigeria ignited the youthful buzz across the country. So many saw his move as bold and an indication that the country’s youths are equally prepared for governance at the highest level in the country. And he has a brilliant outing. This story is meant for another day.

The recent appointment of Governor Yahaya Bello as the National Youth Coordinator of the APC Presidential Campaign Council came with a loud bang that resonated across the country as one hell of an appointment that would indeed deliver when it matters most. And he arrived at the scene with a brilliant performance on Arise Television some days back.

I marvelled at how he answered tricky questions posed by the programme’s anchors. That day, he displayed great intellectual depth and grasp of issues around the country affecting youths. He was confident about his postulations which are typical of the Adoza of Africa.

Those close to him would readily attest that Alhaji Yahaya Bello would break a sweat on issues concerning the country’s youths. This is not surprising, though, because he is a youth and his experience as the Governor of Kogi State over the years opened a new vista in his life by lending a voice to the teeming youths in the country.

I also find the personality of Yahaya Bello very fascinating. He is one governor that would constantly provide video skits either dancing to a song or doing something that easily warms the hearts of youths. Little wonder the vast followership he enjoys amongst the teeming youthful population across the country.

Do we talk about his dress sense? Yahaya Bello is always bespoke when he steps out. And his carriage would make you green with envy. He is at home with that critical youthful population. I dare say that most youths in the country see hope in Governor Yahaya Bello because he understands the language of the people, which is a gap left unattended for several years. And this is where I think the APC got it right with his appointment to coordinate the youths for the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

Brilliant and a masterstroke would be an understatement to describe the appointment of Bello to the APC Presidential Campaign Council. Trust him; he would hit the ground running with little effort because he is in familiar terrain. His network across the country, his benevolence and his support for youth-orientated initiatives are noteworthy.

I recall that during the End SARS protest across the country, Yahaya Bello came out to identify with the youths by supporting an end to SARS brutality. In his words, “Seeking an end to the brutal conduct against citizens by FSARS, other police units and the personnel of all security agencies is a worthy cause that must be supported by all” That is the quintessential Yahaya Bello. It is also on record that he didn’t fail to caution the protesters on the dangers of taking the laws into their hands.

I am aware that he worked tirelessly underground to ensure that the protest remained peaceful and that the federal government attended to the request by the youths for an end to police brutality. Some said that Yahaya Bello also made overtures to some protesters on the need to keep their activities within the threshold of reasonability.

The APC has done well in choosing Yahaya Bello to lead the youth campaign for the party’s success. Two things will happen, in my opinion. Yahaya Bello will galvanize the buy-in of the youths into the programmes of the APC presidential candidate. He will lead the youths from the front and secure the much-needed support from this crucial constituency in the country.

If the APC clinches the presidential elections, the youths should be assured that youth-related matters will get the critical attention it deserves, with Yahaya Bello around the corner in whatever capacity.

At one time, an acquaintance once mentioned to me that Yahaya Bello is what Julius Malema is to South Africa. The only difference is that Yahaya Bello is in the ruling party, while Julius Malema is in the opposition. He went further to state that they both share a lot in common. They speak the minds of the people and are passionate about seeing the government executes the social contract it entered with the people.

Someone also mentioned that he is the dissenting voice in the Nigerian Governors Forum, where it is recorded that Yahaya Bello is always in the opposition on issues with a negative impact on the people. His position is always in the people’s best interest, regardless of his political affiliations.

Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the star boy of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. Not many might want to agree with this position because they do not identify with the hopes and aspirations of the teeming youthful population in the country. Take it or leave it; Adoza is the face of the youths in the country. And he is passionately aggressive about it. This is where I think his APC Presidential Campaign Council membership would work wonders.

He has a way with the youths. He is a role model to many. He is their supporter-in-chief and one they look up to in ways too numerous to mention. What more can one say about the phenomenon called Yahaya Bello but for us to sit back and enjoy the days, weeks and months ahead.

Bello will come to the party because he is the life of the party. The queue behind him would be phenomenal, and the APC would be better for it. No government anywhere in the world would succeed without carrying the youths along. This is where the APC, in its wisdom, deemed it necessary to bring onboard Yahaya Bello to champion that cause.

Please permit me to write in vernacular “Yahaya Bello na talk and do master”, and the APC presidential candidate has sent a strong message to the youth through Yahaya Bello. It, therefore, behoves on well-meaning youths in the country to listen to the message from Yahaya Bello. Not just that, they can take his words to the bank. He says what he means and means what he says—my two cents.

Agbese, a youth activist is APC House of Representatives Candidate for Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency wrote from Agila.

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