Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
A pro-democracy and good governance advocacy group, Grassroots Arise for Growth and Development (GAGaD) has appealed to the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to be strategic in the choice of his successor, in order not to allow the monumental gains of the last eight years to be lost.
National Coordinator of the group, Mr Osasona Omoleye, who gave the charge at a news conference in Abuja, noted that the sheer number of aspirants jostling to occupy the Lugard House signifies the health of democracy in the state.
He however cautioned that politics is not an end in itself but a means to an end, which is better life for the people, “hence, the need to throw his weight behind a competent candidate and a person of unquestionable character like himself so as to ensure that his legacies are not squandered and ongoing projects are left to rot”.
“It would amount to taking a step forward and ten steps backward, if after the brilliant performance of the last eight years, power is handed over to a slack hand. Besides, the ruling APC in the Confluence State cannot afford a ‘hard to sell’ candidate.”
According to Omoleye, the governor’s astounding performance in the areas of infrastructural development, security and social mobilization can only be sustained by one who is part of the vision.
He said; “We want that to continue and the only way that can be sustained is by Governor Yahaya Bello beaming a searchlight on his inner circle, picking a competent, credible and charismatic candidate and supporting him or her. Because in the final analysis, winning the next election is the utmost target of every political party” he added.
The group further advised the governor to look in the direction of his Chief of Staff, Pharmacist Mohammed Jamiu Asuku, who they described as an astute administrator and competent leader whose track records distinguished him from the pack of contenders.
“He has proven to be one of the best heads among the contenders who enjoys the people’s goodwill across ethnic and religious lines in the state. He is calmed, composed and smart”, he said.
On the agitation for zoning, he described it as a legitimate aspiration but which cannot be sacrificed for the safety, growth, prosperity and general well-being of the people.
“Look, we cannot be approbating and reprobating at the same time. We have subscribed to democracy, hence we must keep to democratic ethos of fair debates, open contest and level playing field for interested parties. Obsession with zoning engenders mediocrity, breeds incompetence and, ultimately, it is the people who bear the brunt.
“Kogi cannot operate in isolation. Let it be done the way it is being done in other states of Nigeria. Let every aspirant be free to test his or her popularity. Those canvassing for zoning are ethnic champions, who do not have anything to offer the people, except clinging to some primordial sentiments like religion and ethnicity”, he added.
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