By Amb. Mahmood Aliyu
Governor Yahaya Bello is no doubt one of the most criticized Governor in recent time. The reason for these criticisms are not far fetched. It is as a result of his incredible policies and actions that seems to be out of sync with the usual crowd mentality and mindset in which things are been done in the past. It is safe to say that Governor Yahaya Bello has recorded some meaningful gains since assumption of office and and as well failed in some aspects.
His outstanding performance on security, women and youth inclusion in government has earned him several awards and accolades including the recent feat achieved in line with the National Gender Policy formulated to promote a 35 percent affirmative action for women – a policy that demands 35 percent involvement of women in all governance processes.
The national Gender Policy (NGP) has formulated a 35% Affirmative Action (AA) in Nigeria since 2006. This policy demands that 35% of women be involved in all governance processes. The NGP is recognized but is not practiced as the structures and processes to use are not in place but as at today, Governor Yahaya Bello remains the only Governor that have actualize this policy, this aptitude has further positioned him to be a highly sought after at the national level, little wonder he was appointed to Chair the Northern Governor’s Security forum. Governor Bello has never failed to demonstrate his political will to stand by the people.
We can’t forget in a hurry his infamous stand about the novel virus (covid19) that has since disrupted every aspect of the nation’s economy.
Governor Yahaya Bello was preemptive about the repercussion of locking down the nation all in a bid to curtail the spread of the novel virus, he suggested a more practical out of box approach on how best to handle the situation but many didn’t have the foresight until it was too late. The hardship that followed the lockdown is better left unimagined. Many have realized that his suggestion was the best approach even though it’s an unpopular opinion. The several infrastructural development recorded under his few years in office is something worthy of commendation as well, before the advent of New Direction Government, there were villages in Kogi State that have never enjoyed power supply and portable water. Governor Yahaya Bello extended dividends of purposeful governance to these villages through a massive rural electrification project called “operation light Kogi state”
Governor Yahaya Bello led administration has done very good job by revamping Kogi State staggering economy by establishing a rice mill worth over 4 billion Naira in Kogi West. The factory has the capacity to produce over 1000 bags of 50 kg of high quality rice every day, and has provided job opportunities for over 5000 people as direct jobs, and many more indirect employment. He injected N300 million into the economy of Kogi State every month through the factory, while generating additional over N120 million revenue to the state IGR monthly. In the aspect of road infrastructure Governor Yahaya Bello inaugurated a N10bn road construction project with an aggressive rehabilitation and construction of roads across the three senatorial districts of the state for the benefits of all the citizenry. The over 10 kilometers Itakpe-Eika- Kuroku-Okene road was embarked upon and completed by his administration because of the economic importance of the road to the people of Kogi state and travelers. The 18.3 kilometre-long road network in the Kogi Central include Agassa-Ahache-Upogoro road, Ogaminana-Ebogogo, Itape-Eika-Kuroko and Obehira-Ihima-Obangede roads in Okene, Adavi and Okehi local government areas were all constructed within the tenure of New Direction government. Others are Iyamoye-Jege-Ife-Olukotun-Ponyan-Ejuku-Ijowa Isanlu roads and Ekirin-Ade-Ohun-Ifeolukotun roads, in the Kogi West. The ‘New Direction’ thematic blueprint took cognizance of the decay in infrastructure, health and education and the government hasn’t relent in addressing this menace. But of all these outstanding performances, there are areas he failed that needs to be studied so as to establish if he is worthy to take up a more challenging task at the national level.
Governor Yahaya Bello has failed to toe the path of the old ways of playing politics, where women are being seen as second fiddle. He has accomplished an unprecedented feat in the just concluded Local Government council election where he ensured 21 women emerged as vice chairmen across the 21 local government and councilors. Governor Yahaya Bello has failed to embrace politics of ethnic bigotry. He ensured every tribe of the state are carried along in terms of political appointment likewise youths inclusion. In my opinion, Governor Bello is a perfect definition of a new breed politician. I consider him worthy to take up the challenging task of repositioning the country as the country gears towards electing a president in the next few years. I want to join the millions of Nigerian youths to call on Governor Yahaya Bello to contest for the position of president of Nigeria come year 2023. He has displayed unimpeachable aptitude in the state and we want him to replicate such at the National level.
All these outstanding failures are what endears Governor Yahaya Bello in the heart of many. We are calling on those close to him to extend this clamor to him, he love the youths and youths no doubt has reciprocated this love on different occasions. It is time for Governor Yahaya Bello to rescue the youths and the entire nation from the shackles of maladministration and analog system of governance. – Amb Aliyu Mahmud writes from Lokoja.