Bello: Prophet reckoned at home
For Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello the saying that ‘Charity begins at home,’ could not just be wished away as his Government that took-off under circumstances that elicited uncertainty is gradually gaining ground and support in his senatorial district.
On this note his working visit to Okene last weekend, when the people rolled out their drums to give him a befitting welcome has become a barometer of sort which his supporters are using to gauge his acceptability.
It was like a triumphant entry for the only son of the Ebiras that divinely achieved what had been eluding the race since the creation of Kogi State – becoming the first citizen of the State.
They came in droves from all over the country and the diaspora for the celebration.
The atmosphere at the reception venue of the Ebira day ground at Okene was ecstasy and a reunion for the people in spite of some earlier misgivings.
The mammoth crowd could only be likened to that which graced his inauguration.
This was coming against the backdrop that his emergence was received with mixed reactions among his kinsmen.
Even though there was the unanimity of purpose in the quest for power to shift from the eastern senatorial district to either west or central senatorial district those who believed they had expended a lot of energy for the power shift never imagined that the young Bello would benefit from their years of struggle for that actualization.
In the build up to the 2015 Governorship election in the State, the APC provided a veritable platform for the actualization of that dream, however the outcome of the election dashed the hope of all those who so much thought the primary was going to change the game.
Bello Who would have pulled the surprise victory for power shift was allegedly betrayed by his own kinsmen who scattered their votes among three contestants from the zone despite the solidarity from the Kogi West who gave him more votes to actualize the power shift.
A chieftain of APC from the zone indicated that it was clear that Bello was the only threat Audu had and they needed to break his growing influence and make things easy for the former governor.
At the end of the primary late Audu clinched the ticket with 1109 votes to defeat the runner up Bello alias ‘Fairplus’ who scored 703 votes.
Senator Nurudeen Obatemi polled 400votes to come third and Gamji polled 300 votes to come fourth.
For political analysts if central had fielded only Bello and all the votes of Obatemi and Sanusi Gamji were pulled together for Bello it would have given him an edge with over 1400 votes higher than that of Audu.
Hence the late APC candidate wasted no time in his acceptance speech to praise the runner up, Bello for his spirit of sportsmanship and his doggedness in the contest.
Audu said, “I say with Bello after four years I can go and rest,” adding that he was proud of Bello and that after his tenure he had a reliable successor in him.
Bello said they actually wanted a generational change but since the leader had won they would wait for the next four years.
The wish was almost met even before the election was concluded as Audu gave up the ghost at the verge of being declared winner.
The APC in its wisdom zeroed down on the outcome of the primary election and Bello who was the runner up was picked as Audu’s replacement.
Hence the people’s celebration could be understood, as they believed their Kinsman had not disappointed them in the last two months he has been holding sway with many of his reforms yielding positive results.
Chairman of the occasion Alhaji Suleiman Kokori said the reception was organized to appreciate God for the life of their son, Bello. He said the Governor would not disappoint in his promise to make the State one to reckon with in the comity of States.
He called on the people to rise above parochial interest and support the administration for success.
The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland said God had ordained from the outset that Bello would be Governor of the State even when it came at a time people least expected it. He urged him to be firm and courageous in carrying out his mandate through good governance.
A former Okene Local Government chairman, Nasiru Abdullahi Soso said Bello has become a source of unity among the Ebiras. “It has been our desire for sometime now and this time God decided to give it to us.
According to him, the Governor has started well by recognizing all the ethnic groups in the three senatorial districts. “He is trying to bring equity and balancing in the administration of the State. Our hope is that he would continue in this vein so that at the end of the day every Kogi indigene will be happy that the Governor has brought a serious change in the administration of Kogi State.”
His Royal Highness Alhaji Shehu Atavidiruku Umah, Ohi of Ehika said the celebration was historical being the first time power was shifting in Kogi State. “We feel that for the first time, we are having one of our own as the Governor of Kogi State.”
He advised the Governor to be broadminded and see Kogi State as his constituency, for the purpose of development, peace and unity. ‘The legacy he should leave behind is that Kogi is for everybody.’
For Ohi of Ihima and Chairman Okehi Local Government Traditional Council, Alhaji Abdulazeez, the occasion was not just a celebration of victory but also a celebration of possible correction in the lopsidedness, and the development challenge that was facing Kogi State.
“It is a big challenge to the new Governor because one thing is to achieve victory and another is to translate that victory to development so we are praying with hope for him that he would be able to bring Kogi up in development to be at par with its contemporaries.
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