First, they ignore you. Second, they laugh at you. Third, they fight you. Fourth, you win! I love this statement by Indhira Ghandi. You know, when Yahaya Bello wanted to contest as the Governor of Kogi state in 2015, the enemies didn’t think he was anything serious. When he emerged second in APC primaries, they laughed at him with drops of hot shit on their pants. When God chose him, they fought him, like seriously. After that, he won!
I recall my conversation with a caller a few years ago after I published a newspaper article titled “what if God chose Yahaya Bello again?”. The caller asked me: why do you think that God may choose Yahaya Bello for a second tenure? Was God the one who chose him in the first place? I was surprised at the caller’s intellectual, or perhaps, spiritual glaucoma, which made him unable to see the divinity of the decision that rendered the best constitutional lawyers incompetent against Yahaya Bello! Anyway, I do not intend to waste your time on this past, but as it turned out, God chose Yahaya Bello again in 2019, thus proving that his emergence the first time was the supreme plan from His Throne of Providence.
Over the last eight years, Yahaya Bello leadership has been trailed by challenging cabinet mischief and opposition struggles against him by individuals and groups he has helped the most. They say, such is politics. I say, such is not politics. Such is rather the social accident associated with being good to people. Please do not get me wrong. I do not mean to say that you should not be, or stop being, good to people. Surely, the good end is for those who are good to people, as has been exemplified with Yahaya Bello in the victory of Usman Ododo.
The recent video which shows Yahaya Bello expressing disappointment with some members of his cabinet is a clear indication that the Governor has not only been fighting external enemies, but also, and more importantly, that he has been fighting internal enemies and saboteurs! For God’s sake, what experience could be worse than hosting your own enemies, trusting in them for advice, and laboring day and night for their wellbeing? From the Governor’s statements, it is apparent that he hasn’t just come to know about this fact. He knew it long ago, just as many observers knew that he was surrounded by sworn collaborative enemies of his!
However, as a matter of leadership principle, he chose to be patient about it until an appointed time. If anyone ask them “how did you become the enemies of someone who raised you from nothing to something?” They are sure to reply “we are not his enemies. We only saw in him an objectionable preference for someone else.” These words are common among people who are ungrateful and covetous.
Yahaya Bello had all along played the fool of a strategic and visionary leader by paying more attention to the needs of people outside his own tribal family and investing on individuals whom he thought were his ambassadors of good governance. He prioritize the unity of the people of Kogi state in his appointments, policies, and projects, and did the best that was possible under severe contestations to improve the overall wellbeing of the people! It is rare in Nigeria to find political leaders that will go outside the Aristocrats to raise the sons and daughters of commoners to positions of wealth and authority, but Yahaya Bello did that! After they were raised up and they became rich, they said Yahaya Bello disappointed them, and they started digging pits for him to fall into. Look at that!
If Yahaya Bello had will, he could have removed and wrecked them one after the other over the time, but he invoked patience on himself and allowed them to dwell in comfort while he kept his mind focused on ensuring that Ebira people do not miss the next democratic opportunity to lead the state. Tell me, who among you in Bello’s position would not have scattered the family with your kind of enemies therein? If the Ebira people have a formidable and reliable leader today, it is Yahaya Bello! I recognize this, and therefore would like to appeal to His Excellency to remember the saying of the Ebira ancestors that “oza oku ozi uda avi avi ni”. This means the bearing of a troubling headload is upon the elder or leader.
We know that you have everything it takes to deal with these guys, and you could have done so earlier than now, but your choice to be patient is a demonstration of your strength and obedience to the commandment of Allah Who put you in charge of us. I invite your Excellency to remain patient and defend this evil with good in the hope that those who have the heart that learns will come to know that patience, contentment, and loyalty are a virtue in politics.
I congratulate Alhaji Usman Ododo on his victory and pray for his guidance to deliver God’s purpose in leadership. God bless Yahaya Bello. God bless Kogi State. God bless Nigeria!
Prof. Yakubu wrote in from Zaria.