Re: Kogi Can’t Afford To Replace Yahaya Bello With Another ‘Yahaya Bello’

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On the Wednesday afternoon of the 29th of May, I used the public holiday as an excuse to take a break from the usual hustle and bustle that comes with running a full-service law firm. While watching the inauguration of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, I came across a news article titled “Warning: Kogi Can’t Afford To Replace Yahaya Bello With Another Yahaya Bello”. This article struck me in a number of ways, leaving me with both an optimistic and sour taste in my mouth.

I want to use this opportunity to elucidate my thought process while reading this article, especially so, regarding my staunch stance in favour of Aminu Abubakar Suleiman as the next Governor of Kogi State.

I agree with the author’s note that we must take a step back and carefully examine the political landscape to ascertain he who ought to lead us into tomorrow. Like I have previously said myself, Kogi is at a crossroad, and a very delicate one in fact. Come November we must be decisive at the polls. We must come together in mass and exercise our constitutional right. We cannot afford another 4 years of mediocrity, suffering and blatant disregard for our beloved State. It is upon this analysis that I stand where I stand and lay my support to Aminu Abubakar Suleiman.

In all sincerity, he is a man I wholeheartedly believe is best suited for the job. I do not want to mince my words, Aminu is head and shoulders above any and every gubernatorial candidate in Kogi right now. He is a man with vision, a man of capacity, a man who knows how and is willing to do what it takes for Kogi State. He is not your average Joe. He is the game changer in our political landscape.

Those who are still on the fence on who they will lend their support to are those who have yet to see what Aminu Abubakar Suleiman stands for. They are those who have not been opportune to immerse themselves in the meticulously laid out dogma that Aminu has put before us. A dogma of righteousness, a dogma of inclusion, a dogma of progressiveness. We must not let ignorance be the fall of our state. We must actively set out to seek the right person for us at this delicate stage of our polity.

Word is travelling fast, and Aminu is gathering momentum. With each passing day, more and more people understand the message he has for Kogi. His battle cry to our people has begun to resonate with them. A cry to accept nothing less than that which we deserve, a cry to crave far more than that which we currently have.

So, let us refrain from making blanket statements on issues we are ignorant about, lumping those who stalwartly want the best for our state with those who want the best for themselves. For by merely paying enough attention to the message of each candidate, one can easily ascertain who is who, and the author of the article in question has failed in this regard.

Having said that, I sympathise with the author for I cannot definitively know his intentions. Thus, I must afford him the benefit of doubt. From all indications, his intentions seem pure and devoid personal gain. He truly seems to have the best interests of our Great State at heart, and assuming that is the fact, I commend him. I commend all who push for the enlightenment of our electorate, for it is our only way to salvation.

Yes, Kogi must indeed do everything possible not to replace Yahaya Bello with yet another Yahaya Bello. It would be an act of sheer folly for us to do so. We must make the greatest of efforts to be as discerning as possible. It is for this reason, Aminu has painstakingly made efforts at presenting his political manifesto to the public, his vision for Kogi.

Just last week he highlighted his masterplan for the revival of the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Mill. A crucial chess piece in his strategic scheme to make Kogi the Industrial Capital of our nation, and eventually Sub-Saharan Africa. These agendas of his are not just limited to the mining industry, but extends to almost all aspects of governance conceivable. Economic Development, Educational Reform, Fiscal Responsibility, Security, Health Care and Government Transparency and Accountability being the most prominent. Many of which Aminu has already enunciated his vision for, but will do so in more depth in the coming weeks, because of articles like this. The aim is to leave no margin for doubt, for there is no doubt that Aminu is our man. The aim is to give our people an honest assessment on what our problems are and a careful evaluation of the options available to us to solve these problems, and our best option right now is Aminu Abubakar Suleiman. A candidate who towers in comparison to all vying to be Governor of Kogi.

Moving on, there is this unfortunate perspective that people have that I have never quite understood. The glorification of suffering in conjunction with leadership.

Certain people, like the author in question, believe that only those who have gone through hardship in Kogi are fit to lead Kogi. It is this sort of backwards thinking, with all due respect, that has put us in this hole we find ourselves. How can I trust a man to uplift an entire State from hardship if he cannot even uplift himself from it? In that scenario where does the sense of direction come from? Permit me to quote some ancient wisdom, “Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, LIKE THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND”.

I cannot and will not stand here and tell you that Aminu Abubakar Suleiman has spent the last three and a half years going “through the struggle”, as the author put it, because that would be dishonest. We cannot and will not present Aminu Abubakar Suleiman as such in order to gain cheap political points. On what planet is hardship a measure of leadership? Kogi state needs to evolve from this sort of prehistoric thinking. Leadership is a matter of ability, it is a skill that is innate and cultivated through experience, not hardship. You want to judge a leader? Look at his track record!

Aminu has certainly not spent the last three and a half years in adversity, like the author has. He is a man blessed with a certain skillset that has set him apart from the rest. As a maestro in Public Private Partnership (PPP) his trade has taken him to all parts of our nation. There, he has embarked on numerous infrastructural projects, leaving people where ever he goes better off. Is this not what we want for Kogi? A man who does his job to the best of his capabilities. An unbiased leader who has worked with people from different walks of life, different religions, different social and economic backgrounds, and different ethnicities. A candidate who can bring his personal successes and replicate them on the state level, for all to benefit from. A man who wants us to share in the prosperity he has acquired for himself. Please, it is high time we dispense with all this talk of suffering, for there is no honour in it. The goal is to eradicate it, alleviate the people from it, not boast about it. Again, I sincerely sympathise with the author and pray Allah SWT in his infinite mercy and wisdom rescues him from his plight.

I must also note an irreconcilable contradiction in the narrative of the author. He says with one breath that he clamours for a leader that has been through the same suffering he unfortunately experiences, then says with another breath that it is not Kogi’s duty to “upgrade” the life of politicians. So, using Nigeria as a case study, I pose to him what the likely outcome would be when you put Billions of taxpayers’ money, money belonging to the people of Kogi, in the hands of man who is and has been for the last few years, for lack of a better word, hungry? This line of reasoning amounts to trying to blow hot and cold at the same time, for one cannot approbate and reprobate in the same breath. It is either one or the other, and never both at once. Let us be guided.

It would be unfair of me not to concede to a very good point raised by the article. Central to which is the issue of ethnicity and the prominent role it plays in our politics. For we have reached a stage where we simply cannot afford to vote on ethnic lines anymore. Our society has come too far and intertwined too much for this to be a prevailing phenomenon. We have become too evolved for such, it is now beneath the Great State of Kogi. We must vote our leaders because we wholeheartedly believe they are right for us, and for that reason alone.

With the current leadership deficit, we are facing, we cannot afford to vote on sentiment but vote on merit. It is no longer an issue of Igala, Ebira, Okun and Bassa-Nge, but an issue of Kogi, for that is our common denominator. We must embrace this as our new reality, we must embrace each other as brothers and sisters. So, let us join our hands together in a loving embrace and march forward into prosperity. Let us march on leaving adversity, hardship, suffering and injustice in the past.

With Aminu Abubakar Suleiman at the helm we have a leader who will be the wind beneath our wings. A leader that will aid us to fly high in the sky, for with him, the sky shall be our limit. So, what says you come November? Would you stand tall and be bold? Or would you buckle up under pressure and fold? The whole of Nigeria is watching. Kogi is counting on you. We can, We will, We simply must.

– Barr. Mohammed A. Yunusa

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