By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Kogi state Governor and presidential aspirant in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has dismissed concerns that his chances in the forthcoming presidential convention of the party are getting narrower following the growing interest shown by other party chieftains in vying for the exalted seat.
Noting that he is not intimidated by the development, the Kogi Governor said he is also not threatened by any consensus arrangement as he stands in a pole position to clinch the ticket irrespective of the candidate selection option adopted by the party.
The governor spoke through his Presidential Campaign Organization at a media interface Tuesday in Abuja.
Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently joined the list of presidential aspirants in the APC.
Before them were Governor Bello, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state, Chief Moses Ayom, Mr Ihechukwu Dallas Chima, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Head, Directorate of Media and Publicity of the campaign organization, Mrs Yemi Kolapo disclosed that Governor Bello is not intimidated by the political profile of fellow aspirants, saying the old brigade should be the ones afraid of him.
Kolapo was represented by the quartet of the State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Muhammed Onogwu, CPS, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Mrs Billy Avoyi Nwogu and her counterpart in charge of Print Media, Mr Mike Ozigi.
“It is not about what they have been or done in the past. When you compare that to what someone is doing at the moment, I think they are the ones that should be intimidated right now because it is not about what you have achieved in the past. It is strictly what you are doing now. Gov. Bello has been chief executive of his state for over six years and he is going to do a great job for Nigeria”, said Fanwo who spoke on behalf of others.
The Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign Organization also dismissed any zoning arrangement in the APC, saying ahead of next year’s general election, Nigerians must vote for competence rather than ethnic sentiments.
Noting that only a courageous youth like the Kogi state governor can destroy the monster called zoning, the organization queried what Nigeria has benefited from its long years of zoning political offices after independence in 1960.
“We have been zoning since 1960, are we better off? Only a courageous man like Yahaya Bello can defeat the monster of zoning. Zoning should be about competence, drive and capacity”, Fanwo stated.
He also defended the choice of Gov. Bello in using Abuja for his presidential declaration, and listed three issues which he said Nigerians must focus on ahead of the election.
He said; “We did not do backyard declaration whereby some people will say they want to do thanksgiving and then later turn it into a presidential declaration.
“The issues that will shape the campaign are three. The first is security. We need a man who will be able to marshal the security architecture of the country.
“Kogi used to be the kidnap capital of the country. We even had terrorist cells before Yahaya Bello came but today if you come to Kogi by error as a criminal, you will be dealt with without error by the government.
“The second issue that will shape the campaign is unity. We all want to feel safe and at home in all parts of the country and so we need a leadership that will redefine our national identity as a people. It is beyond the rhetorics, we must practicalize it.
“Right from when the governor was sworn in in 2016, there was pressure on him to continue with the past way of doing things by appointing a Chief of Staff from his kin but he didn’t do that. From the stadium to his house, he announced three appointments and the first Chief of Staff as an Igala. The second appointee and Ebira and the third appointee, a Yoruba.
“The third one has to do with progress. We need to interrogate how far we have progressed as a nation since independence.
“These are three issues we need to look at in picking a successor for our great leader, President Muhammadu Buhari”.