Nigerians are not smiling after the governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello boasted that some people are begging him to contest in the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking during an interview on Channels TV, the governor said: “Nigerians, the youth and women including very objective elites, are asking me to run for President in 2023.”
These comment has led to some harsh criticism for the governor.
I talk about Nigerian politics a lot and never ever EVER has Yahaya Bello's name come up for good. Presidency ko.— Jola (@Jollz) May 15, 2021
Deji Adeyanju, an Abuja-based right activist also mocked Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over his remark of running for the presidency.
Adeyanju, who is the co-convener of Concerned Nigerian Advocacy Group said Bello lacks the capacity to be president of a “pig farm,” let alone, ruling Nigeria.
Reacting, Adeyanju also pointed out that Bello cannot be Nigeria’s president because the governor has neglected the Kogi State civil servants.
The rights activist insisted that Kogi State remains the worst governed state in Nigeria.
Who is Yahaya Bello?
Bello became the winner of the 2015 Kogi gubernatorial election after he was chosen on the platform of the All Progressives Congress as the replacement for the late Abubakar Audu who originally won the election but died before the result was declared.
On the 16 November 2019, Bello was re-elected after he defeated the PDP opposition by over 200,000 votes.
Yahaya Bello is the only Nigerian governor to be born after the Nigerian Civil War, thus, making him the youngest governor in Nigeria.
At various points during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bello either falsely claimed the virus was ‘an artificial creation’ or simply denied the virus’ existence while his state government suppressed testing and fought with the NCDC to keep case numbers artificially low.
Bello also refused to wear a mask at public events, including after a Governors’ meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and at the funeral for Tolulope Arotile.
At memorial prayers for Kogi State Chief Judge Nasir Ajanah, who died of COVID-19 on 28 June 2020, Bello falsely claimed that Ajanah had not died of COVID-19 and said “whether medical experts and scientists, believe it or not, COVID-19 is out to shorten the lifestyle of the people, it is a disease propagated by force for Nigerians to accept.”
In October 2020, Bello said that he had rejected a ₦1.1 billion support fund for Kogi State from the World Bank because of his belief that COVID-19 is a “glorified malaria”.
He also said that “I rejected the World Bank fund because I do not believe in COVID-19. Even the five cases reported in Kogi State is an NCDC creation.” This claim was despite his own admission that Kogi State had already received ₦1 billion from the Federal Government for COVID-19 recovery.
Who are likely to contest Nigeria’s presidency in 2023?
President Muhammadu Buhari will end his second term in 2023 and several politicians are already making moves to replace him.
Last week, former president Olusegun Obasanjo hinted that he is likely to support Akin Adeshina – former minister of Agriculture and the current president of AFDB as his anointed candidate for 2023.
Up next, Bukola Saraki – the disgraced former Senate President whose entire political structure was voted out in Kwara state in 2019 is already making moves for his grand return to politics.
Bola Tinubu, the APC chieftain is seen as the most likely candidate to contest under the APC banner. Several of his supporters have already setup campaign offices and structures for him.
Atiku Abubakr, the former vice president has already attempted to be president 3 times and failed. He is also a major contender for 2023.
Peter Obi, he was Atiku’s running mate in their 2019 loosing campaign. There are calls for Nigeria to have an Igbo president and Obi is seen as the most suitable candidate.