Emameh Gabriel writes about the readiness of the Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Jamiu Asuku, to contest for the APC gubernatorial primary in the state next month.
Next month, the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kogi State will conduct its governorship primary to pick the flag bearer of the party for the November 1, 2023 gubernatorial election in the confluence state and one who will succeed incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Governor Bello, the youngest serving governor in Nigeria who has set a precedence of revolutionising a system that encourages youth inclusiveness in governance is faced with the challenge of picking his successor.
However, it’s no doubt that the Governor who has enjoyed the goodwill of Nigerian youths will leave behind a legacy that will continue to encourage young people in active politics.
Like many others who were appointed by the Kogi State Governor, the current Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Jamiu Abdulkaree Asuku, is one perfect example of Bello’s believe in the potentials of the Nigerian youths.
In February, 2023, Asuku signaled his intention to contest for his party’s ticket. In fact, his early start has become a wake up call on other aspirants to stand up and be counted and he seems determined to get result through massive youth mobilisation.
The Chief of Staff in an interview with newsmen in Abuja recently described Governor Bello as “somebody known for providing a level playing ground for everybody” and one “who allows everybody to come on board and showcase their popularity”.
Asuku, 39- year old pharmacist, who picked his expression of interest form in February to contest the APC governorship ticket with other experienced politicians of the party, has promised to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Bello.
He has been one of the most important persons saddled with the task of shouldering the huge burden of steering the engine room of Bello’s administration and has successfully conquered many grounds.
As a young man, and still on the battlefield, blazing the trail, he has also been described as Kogi State best and finest Chief of Staff in history with verifiable achievements under the current administration.
He believes and sees none of his fellow contenders as threat to his aspiration.
His concern is to bring to bare his wealth of experience.
“I served as the Chief of staff of this administration and many have referred to it as the engine room of the administration. I believe it better to elect a man who is a part of the God-fearing administration.”, Asuku had said during an interface with journalists.
To talk about his numerous achievements in office ever since he became the Chief of Staff to Governor Belo is to delve into the archives of the laudable impacts in the government of the state.
Beyond the massive appeal he enjoys across the ethnic divide in the state, Asuku’s profound attributes and leadership peculiarities have endeared him to the people of Kogi State, and even to those disaffected with government before now.
While zoning has never been part of the political arrangements in the state because the people, like most states in the country, have consistently aligned with a system that allows every qualified citizens of the state to test their popularity.
This is indeed one of the bright sides of the system of democracy in today’s Kogi.
Many believe that his contributions remain the special providence that has seen Yahaya Bello soar. Asuku represents the face of hope for the people of the state. With the quality of his outputs in office, it shows that before his appointment in 2019, he had taken a long and hard look at governance plus the challenges therein, and today, as the Chief of Staff, with bounded executive functions he has done exceedingly well by bringing brilliance, finesse and precision to governance to the admiration of his principal, the people of the state and beyond.
The actions of the government from the period he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Governor, still remain part of the sunny sides of the present government in the state due to his youthful strength, strategic thinking and vibrancy which has earned him a place in his principal’s heart.
“He has a massive appeal across distance, using his position as Chief of Staff to change the narratives. He has been able to empower a lot of young people and has been able to bring fresh ideas into governance. Findings have shown that most of the achievements by the government, especially the second term, can be attributed to his ideas and his ability to pressure the governor to do some of the massive undertaking in the state.
“This is why critics of the government beat a retreat in the last few years because there is little or nothing to criticize the government for.
“As Chief of Staff, he has been more concerned about the development of the state. He has continued to prioritise the welfare of the people. He is not concerned about self aggrandizement; making money for himself or fame, he is after public service, and that has translated into a transformation of the intelligence of the states,” said Achenyo David, an Igala who is resident in Abuja.
His decision to bite the bullet, according to findings, is hugely consequent upon recruitment calls from the ordinary people of the state who are persuaded that given his bright ideas and contributions to the successes recorded in the last three years, he would do exceedingly more if they give him political power to consolidate on these achievements.
In this direction, there is a unanimity of opinion that political power would leverage his wealth of experience to attract greater developments to the people of Kogi. To them, Asuku is the hope of the future.
His attention on education anchors on his conviction that for the liberation of the human mind, it is education or nothing. The design and realisation of the University of Technology in the state was Asuku’s brain child.
“This young man sat down and conceived a University of Technology in his head and walked up to his principal, convinced him and suggested ways to go about it. And today, it’s a reality. You know what that means to the state in terms of development. It has added value to the existing infrastructure in the state, value to the education and economic development of the state. This is huge!
“Sometimes the quality of a leader depends on the people around him and Asuku has actually proven it. The existing peace enjoyed by the people of the state today was made possible by his ideas. He has been able to help reconcile and unite the state around the governor because his style of life is largely devoid of religious and ethnic bigotry.
“All these have endeared him to the people across ethnic and religious divides in the state such that a massive movement has been created around him to actualise his mandate”, says a chieftain of the APC in the state.
The people see him as part of them just as he sees the people as part of him too.
So he has blossomed into a unifying figure in Kogi State. He took the path of youths empowerment and building consensus among the people of the state for which he is now regarded as a bridge builder.
Asuku is seen as APC’s silver bullet in the contest for the soul of the state, especially against a resurgent PDP in the state. This follows his command of the youth demography across the state.
“So to some extent, he has really tried his best to reduce the stiffness in governance and created easy access to the governor. I mean, the greater access to the government, he demystified that bottleneck in government because he is sensitive to public opinion and listens to his boss, and whenever he spots any form of issues or trouble, he goes around, discuss with the state, try to get the people to support what can bring about consensus. This has been the magic wand for the relative peace, mutual coexistence and the security enjoy in the state today.
“I am from Kogi East, we are the majority in terms of numbers. But for God’s sake, here is man who has shown character and competence. That is all that matters when you are chosing a leader, not by the ethnic group he or she belongs to.
“We look for the best and we have seen a man with a clear character that can lead us with the fear of God and build on the legacies of the current administration.
“He is not tribalistic. He is not a bigot in terms of religion. And that’s why we’re gunning for him because we want a young man who can actually take to work even though it’s not where we used to be. His approach in dealing with things that directly affect the people has been decisive and he has always strive to do what is right without fear or favour”.
Asuku’s record of performance dated way back and deep down from school and his appointment as DG, Protocol, the Government House, Lokoja. He did not just champion a renaissance that has remained a talking point in Lugard’s House, he blazed trails, left indelible footprints, and operated at a wavelength that had no parallels to his peers in other states.
As the youngest Chief of Staff in the country today, working for the youngest Governor in Nigeria, he was above and beyond in duty calls with the infusion of activism to his job, all in a bid to ensure that one and all enjoyed the access to the Governor.
With Asuku serving as Chief of Staff, the Bello government has successfully reformatted the budgeting, procurement, debt management, revenue generation, annual audited financial statement, and public financial management (PFM) systems. This is evidenced by the state’s performance ranking first among Nigerian states in the last four years for Financial Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS).
Any wonder Governor Bello, a man he has worked closely with for over seven years described him as a reliable ally, when he said “anything he (Asuku) says, He endorse 100%
So while the APC governorship primaries is scheduled to hold April 11, Asuku is perceived as the best attraction in the party for the main contest come November 11, 2023.
His service, courage, competence and character remain a shining example and outstanding. It is for this reason that many still believe that this young man is the silver bullet for his party.
First published on Thisday Newspaper.