Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state is a foundation member of the All Progressives Congress, APC and has been working assiduously to strengthen the party in his state and Nigeria as a whole.
Yahaya Bello, who is the director of Kogi Youth Arise Forum in the build up to 2015 general elections used his resources, wide political network and intellect to deliver the state for President Muhammadu Buhari as well as some elective positions including Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly seats for APC.
He later contested to pick APC ticket for November 2015 Kogi governorship election but lost to late Prince Abubakar Audu during the primary election. Yahaya Bello came second during the primaries and accepted the outcome in good fate as a loyal, faithful and committed party man.
His defeat did not deter him from mobilizing Kogites to vote for the APC in the November 2015 governorship election as he deployed his resources and political arsenal to ensure the party’s victory through Kogi Youth Arise Forum headed by his close ally, Edward Onoja.
However, the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu on election day changed the narrative as APC handed over the party ticket to Bello to finish the race. No doubt, APC was coasting home to victory due to the support of many party stakeholders including Governor Yahaya Bello.
Upon his declaration as winner of the election, Yahaya Bello appealed to Prince Abubakar Audu’s running mate, Hon. James Faleke to retain the deputy governorship slot, but the latter, believing he deserved the governorship ticket, felt otherwise and challenged Bello’s victory in court.
Although, the prolonged legal battle instituted against him by his fellow party man almost disintegrated Kogi APC, yet, he remained focused and continued to strengthen the party.
To his credit, APC membership base in the confluence state has increased to over 500,000 while the party won 34 out of 37 political positions contested during 2019 general elections in the state. He also delivered Kogi state for President Muhammadu Buhari with a wide margin.
Furthermore, the resilient, dogged and purposeful fighter contributed immensely to APC victory during the 2018 Ekiti governorship election. Yahaya Bello apart from participating in the campaign mobilized thousands of Kogites, mainly from his tribe, Ebira to vote for APC. The governor had addressed thousands of Kogites living in Ekiti state in their language at the party’s Mega Rally attended by President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to vote Dr. Kayode Fayemi. That eventually came to fruition. Governor Yahaya Bello popularly labelled as a foster-son of the president played a similar role in Osun state. In the same vein, the Kogi state Governor is one of the game changers in build to the party’s national convention where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole emerged as national chairman.
It’s however disturbing that some fifth columnists are trying to downplay Governor Bello’s contributions to APC at state and national levels for selfish reasons. It is clear that the opposition party feels that destabilizing the APC in Kogi state is the only strategy to win. However, sound political strategist know the likely consequences. For instance, APC lost over 45,000 votes to the Action Democratic Party, the platform which the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti contested on during the election. Likewise, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Hon Lasun Yusuf played a passive role during the election to protest his defeat at the primaries. It’s an open secret that the party is still battling with actions and inaction of some leaders in Osun till today.
A philosopher, Derek Landy said it will be ridiculous to allow enemy break our camp to defeat us. In his words: “That’s ridiculous. The only point in having enemies is so you can defeat them, kill them, brush them aside.” “Or give them a chance to redeem themselves.”
Therefore, APC should not fall for the gimmicks of fifth columnists by denying a governor who has performed modestly well despite the limited available resources. The fact checking efforts of independent organizations has begun to show that majority of allegations against Governor Yahaya Bello are false and nothing, but mere propaganda to dent his image. Kogi must not retrogress.
The Strike Squad