Monday, July 15, 2024

Yahaya Bello’s forgotten speech

On June 7, 2022, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state gave a remarkable speech while addressing the delegates at the presidential primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at Eagles Square, Abuja.

His speech made everyone from Kogi (supporters and detractors alike) proud. They all held their heads up high. The Deputy Governor of the state, Edward Onoja could not contain his joy as he kept on clinching his fist in the air like a football fan watching his favourite team score.

Bello did not win the primary election, but there’s no denying the fact he made a huge statement with his speech. I didn’t realize that apart from delegates from Kogi, there were other APC members and professionals from Kogi at the venue until Bello’s speech, as chants of ”that’s my governor rented the air.”

He spoke extensively about security and how he is managing to keep Kogi safe despite not being in charge of the Nigeria Army. I will go into details about his speech the second part of this article. This part is for ranting about how i can’t find it online.

Unfortunately, since the APC primaries (which is over a month ago) no journalist has thought it wise to analyse his speech or publish the whole statement.

I have since searched all over the internet for the full speech but to no avail. This should tell us how standards are dropping very fast. We complain about poor governance on social media and in reality, but fail to talk about how the standard of the private sector, including journalism, has dropped.

In the 80s or early 90s when the zeal of journalists was sky high, a speech like that would have been chronicled.

There were also several remarkable speeches that day. For instance, Pastor Tunde Bakare gave a good speech which wasn’t surprising as he has been on the pulpit for many years talking to large gatherings.

Bello’s speech was however the best, not in terms of how he was able to be concise and carry the crowd along. He spoke from his heart about the burning issue of security. His energy was evident from the way he talked.

In my opinion, the way that speech has been ignored is like an indictment on journalism of today. I have my reservations about Bello and several other leaders out there. But our profession prompts us to be honest as much as possible, especially when it matters. That is what stands us apart from other professionals. That is why our noble profession is called the fourth estate.

Whether you are a fan of a public figure or not, you are implored as a journalist, to be dispassionate and truthful in regards to him or her. And here is the truth: Many people think Governor Bello has a role to play in the future. They think Nigeria can do with his energy at the national level.

Unfortunately for many who believe he deserves to remain in public office, the constitution does not permit him to go for a third term, but the president in 2023 can ensure that he is part of the new government as a minister.

Security is a big problem today. And to be fair to the Nigeria’s youngest governor, he has done his best to ensure that Kogi isn’t a safe haven for terrorists, despite their attempts to make it one. The way he responds to security breaches, is commendable. He summons traditional rulers and security chiefs in the state to Lugard House, Lokoja and warns of repercussions if there’s a recurrence. It gives the people assurance that they can at least sleep with their two eyes closed even if there are some shortcomings in some other areas.

In the future, any leader who is desirous of making Nigerians feel secure, should not ignore a figure like Bello. All zealous hands must be on deck in protecting Nigeria.

(To be continued)

Yusuf Mohammed
Yusuf Mohammed
Yusuf Mohammed, an experienced Nigerian journalist, writer and editor, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and International Relations from Al-Hikmah University. He cut his journalism teeth at Business Hallmark newspaper in 2013. From Business Hallmark, he moved to New Telegraph newspaper where he was an editorial staff from 2015 – 2017. In 2017, he joined The Next Edition as a pioneer staff and helped to take it to the summit of online platforms. He had a second spell at Business Hallmark in 2019 before establishing The Columnist Ng, a platform dedicated to publishing articles of renowned Nigerian writers. Mohammed's writings have been published in several Nigerian newspapers and magazines such as Daily Trust, Premium Times, The Cable and Newswatch. His tribute to the late football great, Diego Maradona was published in three magazines, including Air Peace in-flight Magazine in 2020.


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