By Issa Itopa Lucky
Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has kicked off what is termed as a youthful clamour for the highest office in the country, being the office of the president of Nigeria, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The governor who is 46 years of age at the moment and is in his second term as governor of Kogi state seem to be pulling a bit of weight especially from the ranks of a few celebrities within the country who having been endorsing him for office of President ahead of 2023, on various platforms. He also has the support of a handful of youths from especially his state, Kogi; his geo-political zone, North central and from across the country, in all fairness to his growing popularity.
While it seems overdue for a youth to preside over the affairs of Nigeria, however the character of who the youth would be, poses a big question mark on the reality of such ideology.
There are a few others out there who fall within the rank of youths and ran for the office of president in 2019 that are looking forward to trying again in 2023. They include the likes of Omoyele Sowore, Kingsley Moghalu, to mention but a few of them.
What is however about Yahaya Bello’s candidacy is the fact that his candidacy seems to be drawing a lot of reactions from various strata of the polity. He is a sitting governor. He is a lucky man, considering how he became governor in 2015.
Yahaya Bello is a man of some remarkable firsts. Possibly on the basis of these records, he is looking forward to making history again this time at the national level but however the facts are clear that it is not going to be an easy ride either.
There are the older sets who are doubtless veterans in the process. They are popular in virtually all the 774 local governments and thousands of wards in the country already. Springing a surprise to defeat them to a popularity contest will not be a day’s job, even Yahaya Bello himself obviously knows that and is expected to not be leaving any stone unturned to see his presidential aspiration through to the end inspite of the older generation who are equally interested in the contest.
The clamour for a youth to preside over the affairs of Nigeria, while it is not out of place, there are certain concerns as to why the general populace would prefer to insist on the older generation to lead them yet again in 2023.
To this end, there are concerns as to the risk of handing power over to a youth. This is as the youths who though make a large chunk of the voting population, don’t actually trust each other. As it regards Yahaya Bello, many fear that he may abuse federal power to witch-hunt his political opponents and amass wealth for himself and his cronies. These such concerns are not new to why young people are not able to spite the older generation to put their own fellow young person in power, federal power for that matter.
Yahaya Bello is also being criticised for failing to thus far turn Kogi to eldorado. In fact, many believe that while the governor is doing well with the first and prime assignment of a chief security officer as it regards Kogi state, which is security of lives and property of the people of Kogi state, he has however failed to do enough to see to the prosperity of the people of the state.
These and many more are factors militating against the Yahaya Bello presidential candidacy in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election but then there is no harm in trying and who knows, just like 2015 when he ran for governorship of Kogi and won, he might just be lucky again.
Yahaya Bello is ‘youthful’ in the youthful sense of the requirements of the office. He will be 47 years of age by the time the country will be going for the 2023 presidential election by February 2023, at such age he is mentally alert to be able to discharge the job requirements of the office.
Yahaya Bello who has doubtless used his ‘youthful energy’ to keep Kogi safe inspite of how the state is bound by many states that are yet even seriously tormented by insecurity at the moment, will do well if voted in to preside over the affairs of the country.
Much as the maximum age for one to be referred to as a youth is 39, being the age before 40, by extension, Yahaya Bello doubtless at the moment represents the energy of a youthful leader who will not have issues with the needed energy to effectively preside over a complex nation like Nigeria if voted in as president in 2023.
A Yahaya Bello Presidency will of course open doors to a youthful cabinet. This is as majority of his appointees in his current capacity as Governor of Kogi State, are youths, infact persons in their 30s and some in their 20s.
So if Nigerians would indeed take the risk of handing the nation to a young person with youthful energy, Yahaya Bello should indeed come to mind but not regardless of the risks that can be attached to the possible excesses of a youth.
But for Yahaya Bello, except for issues of non-payment of salaries or issues of part-payment of salaries, which of course many fear he can replicate at the national level if voted in as President, he is indeed youth-enough to lead Nigeria in 2023 if Nigerians may so consider him.