There is a fervency in the political space, the pace is monstrous and the call is for NEW THINKING in leadership, for NEW IDEAS in governance, and for a NEW ORDER in our Country. Nigerians are unanimous in the call for something new and different. The PDP bungled the opportunity to challenge for the soul of our nation by throwing up a 75 years old gerontocrat as its Presidential Candidate for the 2023 Polls. The APC must not fail to take initiative and right that wrong.
The sweltering harmattan of discontent and disapproval of PDP’s decision to stick with the old is palpable amongst young people and women, and don’t forget that they make up 70% of the Voting population. Across the socio-political amphitheatre here is the refrain that liters the space, ‘Atiku again?’, ‘Must Atiku Rule Nigeria?’, ‘Doesn’t the PDP have a young, vibrant and credible person to put forward as Presidential candidate?’, ‘At 75 what more does Atiku want?’, ‘So Atiku Abubakar in almost 40years of active politics has not mentored someone he can support for President?’, and the curiousity appears endless.
The APC must not go the way of the PDP in putting forward a Presidential Candidate for the 2023 Polls. Truth be told, Nigerians want a new deal and a new day. Nigerians desire capacity, competency, commitment to purpose, and youth. And Nigerians want a leader who can think on his feet, who can work and walk long hours with little fatigue, and a leader full of strength and energy as there is indeed so much work to be done to reset, re-fix and rework Nigeria. The APC cannot therefore afford the luxury of ignoring the urgency of now.
Compatriots I place before you 12 huge and pertinent reasons the APC should put forward Governor Yahaya Bello GYB as her Presidential Candidate for the 2023 Polls.
SECURITY. That Governor Yahaya Bello GYB is the best Governor in the area of Security is known even to the fiercest of his critics. From inheriting a State six years ago that had a Boko Haram IED plant to making Kogi State the safest State in the entire North, and arguably one of the safest States in Nigeria is profound achievement. Don’t forget that this great feat is indiscriminate of the fact that Kogi State is the only State in Nigeria with 10 borders, ditto 9 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. And considering the fact that our biggest challenge as a nation going into the 2023 General Elections is security, GYB is indeed the most suitable candidate to lead the APC challenge to retain power at the centre.
HEALTH. Not only is GYB one of the few Governors to have made the healthcare of the citizens one of primacy, he pays healthcare workers their salaries, allowances and emoluments as and when due. Kogi State under his watch has built one of the best Hospitals in Africa which is The Reference Hospital in Okene, and GYB has built several ultra modern medical facilities across Kogi State. GYB knowing that health is life, will come into the Presidential contest with a massive resume’ as his feat in the Healthcare sector speaks profound.
EDUCATION. In this era of constant industrial action (Strike) by almost every sector of our tertiary education, GYB’s Kogi State is the only State in Nigeria where no tertiary institution is on strike. GYB did not only add to the infrastructure in the Kogi State University, he built a new University (The Confluence University) which is up and running. He ensures that all the schools are well funded such that no University, Polytechnic or College of Education is on strike in Kogi. And across Kogi State there is a massive overhauling of the infrastructure of Primary and Secondary Schools, as well as the upgrade of the capacity of Teachers. GYB will lead the APC Presidential challenge in 2023 with an intimidating resume’ in the area of education.
HERDERS/FARMERS HARMONY AND PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE. Kogi State under GYB has profoundly managed this problem. There is no doubt that incessant Herders/Farmers tiff is a massive national challenge, but this is largely extinct in Kogi State because of the ‘live and let’s live’ strategy of GYB. In Kogi State Herders and Farmers are healthy partners in the agricultural chain because they both have something for each other. GYB will bring to the table a robust solution to the challenge. And indeed capacity and competency will speak for him.
YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP. Kogi State is number one in Youth Inclusiveness in leadership in Nigeria. And that appeal was brought to bear when GYB led the APC Membership Mobilization and Revalidation drive during the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee watch over the APC. As the Head of the Committee on Youths, Women And People with Disability, he along with the leaders of our Party brought in over 21million new members to the Party, a number if properly mobilized can win the 2023 General Elections for the Party. It is therefore important that the APC puts forward as its Presidential Candidate a leader with such massive appeal amongst young people considering the urgency of now, and the number of Young people in the voter demography.
GENDER PARITY AND WOMEN INCLUSION IN GOVERNANCE. Kogi State is arguably the only State in Nigeria that can boast of compliance with the United Nations MGD Goals, and the Global Affirmative Requirement of 35% minimum inclusion of women in leadership. In Kogi State, from the longest serving female SSG in Nigeria today, to the ADC to the Governor; from the Vice Chairmen in all the Local Government Areas in the State to all the Speakers in the Local Government Councils; and with most of the State Government Agencies run by women, Kogi State leads in GENDER PARITY and inclusion of women in governance across the nation. Knowing very well that the highest number of voters in Nigeria are women, GYB comes in as the best person to lead the APC challenge to retain the Presidency in 2023.
WORKERS WELFARE AND SALARIES. That GYB inherited a Salary Bill of over 50billion and about the largest civil service in Nigeria is verifiable. That Kogi State is one of the States with the lowest revenue allocation in Nigeria is also true. However it is on record that GYB has cleared the backlog of salaries, that GYB pays State Government workers as and when due, that salaries due Local Government Workers are being paid, and that Kogi State have joined the States paying the new minimum wage. All this is the product of the expertise of the leader called GYB who was able to raise the IGR of the State from a miserly 300m per month to about 3billion monthly. GYB is therefore the star boy that the APC needs to defeat Atiku Abubakar come the 2023 Presidential elections.
FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. That for 3years and counting Kogi State tops the national chart in fiscal discipline and financial responsibility is a testament to the prudence of Governor Yahaya Bello GYB. It is on record that the World Bank have also attested to the sagacity and prudence of the young and phonomenal leader called GYB. In a nation troubled by corruption and wanton looting of State resources, only a candidate that comes with a resume’ of financial discipline and rectitude can win the Presidential election for the APC, and GYB fits the bill.
JOB CREATION AND WEALTH CREATION. The Skill Acquisition Program of the Kogi State Government is indeed one of the most credible governmental programmatic in today’s Nigeria. Not only are young men and women being trained to be self sufficient and self reliant, the Government supports them with seed monies to carry on with life after training. Do you know that inorder to create more jobs and also help the Agricultural value chain, the Confluence Rice Mill built by GYB in Kogi State employs over 5000 workers directly, and receives feed from farmers across the State, and the nation? GYB is thus the lead Aspirant that should head the APC challenge for the high office of President come 2023.
INFRASTRUCTURE. From educational facilities to Road Construction, from Health care facilities to recreational facilities, from factories, industries and multinational companies and corporations sprouting and supporting the infrastructural revolution that draws life from the Peace and Security of lives and property guaranteed by the GYB government, Kogi State is today a huge construction site. And GYB is set to take the infrastructural revolution of the Buhari administration to the next level. He is the one to trust with the Nigeria of our collective dreams, I assure you.
THE REACH. GYB in the words of the Senate President Ahmed Lawan is the ‘shield of the APC’, he connects with the high, the mighty, the low and the small in the Party. In the larger Nigerian State GYB has the widest spread of support groups rooting for any Presidential Aspirant be they of the APC or the PDP. Indeed GYB Support Groups are the most effective and boisterous groups across the nation, little wonder it is GYB everywhere you go. The GYB Movement is a massive ideological cum intellectual vehicle that seeks no harbour but the Aso Rock villa from where the rebirth and rebuilding of our nation is key.
AGE. At 46, to be 47 before the election, GYB is the youngest serving Governor in today’s Nigeria. He is the BRIDGE between the young and the old. He is vivacious, he is smart, he is intelligent, he has the competency and the capacity to get the job done, he is passionate and committed to the quest for a nation that works, he is fit and proper, and he is ready, willing and able to lead the challenge for a new nation and a new deal for the masses of our people. He can lead the APC Presidential challenge and as the candidate of our great Party take Nigeria from the nadir to promise.
Compatriots, GYB is a mobilizer of men and women. He is a passionate and a caring leader to the Old, the Young and to Persons Living with Disability. You can take this to the Bank for value, to GYB the challenge to birth and berth a new Nigeria is soul deep. And the cap fits the one who sees a New, Prosperous And Great Nigeria as his unalterable commitment. The cap fits GYB.
Finally Countrymen and women, the Hope 2023… Bridging the Gap mantra of GYB is not only a call to a new deal for all Nigerians, but a license to pursue the best of our abilities in a peaceful, just and equitable Nigeria. It is a new day, Great Nigerians, together with GYB the sky is bright.
God Bless Nigeria.
Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr.
Convener COUNTRYFIRST MOVEMENT.
A Leadership And Mentorship Instructor.