By Oshaloto Joseph Tade
Professor Pius Adesanmi [of blessed memory] would always lament the reduction of Nigerian youth to handbags and mobile phones minders for the political elites. He was right. This grim ordeal made the youths quite hopeless because those who, by natural sequence, ought to be having their rests and playing advisory roles, felt it was not safe to concede the levers of powers and responsibility to them yet. The ruling elite retained a firm grip on political power.
But in fairness to the elite, power, they say, is not given. It is demanded. Power is contested. It took a courageous Yahaya Bello to teach us how to struggle through the system.
Like many other Nigerians across different platforms and fora had called, yours truly had variously declared that young people were NOT the leaders of tomorrow but leaders of TODAY and that youth ought to stand up. The call was somewhat a mix of lamentation and a prophetic declaration. It was a declaration to which Yahaya Bello’s emergence, in no small measure, provided inspiration.
It is said that the reward for good work is more work. This aphorism places a huge responsibility on anyone who wishes to play in the league of Gov. Yahaya Adoza Bello. The inclusion of women, youths and of course people living with disabilities in governance is a model that the Governor adequately prioritizes to the awe of the entire world. So, while, for instance, Yagba West Local Government was already a host to one of the nation’s biggest rice mills courtesy of the employment generation, equity and unification drive of His Excellency, progressives also found something else more historic, enduring and moving about the gentleman, which is his unrestricted ability to discover and develop young men and women and also handing them the treasured opportunity to write history through their services.
With the pen handed them, women and young people are now making history in Kogi State. A fine history based on competence and commitment to the trust that they hold for not just the Sọ̀rọ̀ Sókè generation, or even His Excellency, but for the rest of humanity. It bears noting that in writing this history, these young people are strategically guided by the elders. They are also guided by global best practices. There is a good reason, therefore, to expect a good story.
My people have a wise saying that speaks to the centrality of young people in the society. They say; “any festival without a place for young people is already on its way to extinction”. And I completely agree. Progressive leadership in which women and young people have a space was considered a luxury that was too expensive by past administrations. This changed following the coming on board of Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State. This dysfunction, even though it was deeply rooted, have now come under severe disruption by a more excellent mandate of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello. As the light of the governor’s stance on youth and women inclusiveness in all its glories are beamed on the old order, the system is now being transformed into a finer and finer cynosure of an inclusive government.
Governor Yahaya Bello would not infantilize the youth or undermine their capacities as smart and capable Nigerians, the world through the United Nations, the African Union etc is coming to the Confluence State, bearing precious gifts, to behold wisdom, glory and enterprise. As one who is well versed in enterprises and its frontiers, collaborations and innovation, Kogi State and indeed the nation will witness plenty triumphs. The books indicate that Governor Yahaya Bello is set for the knowledge economy and the indices that drive it. He is being driven by a zeal to walk this generation to innovation. He is digital.
The bold declaration that youths are the leaders of today continues to find fulfillment. That it is happening so fast and in Kogi State – a microcosm of the Nigerian state – is joy and bliss and hope for every progressive heart.
Governor Yahaya Bello loves and regards the Nigerian youth very highly. This is why he easily identifies with the Sọ̀rọ̀ Sókè tribe to whom he believes that the leadership and repositioning of our great nation belong.
I put a Bob Marley track on replay as I write this. This track, when adapted to our situation, speaks to the need for young people to come together and join their very own to take membership of the party wherein they are truly needed, loved, respected and welcomed. How good and how pleasant it would be, before Nigerian youths and their unmatchable potentials; how good and pleasant it would be for our women and our PWDs to heed the calls of Yahaya Bello to join and/or update their membership of the All Progressives Congress, APC!
It has been a hugely progressive record breaking highs for Governor Yahaya Bello. He is a national pride and asset with whom millions across the world now feel privileged to identify. I ask, wouldn’t you rather join them, too?