Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Friday said he remained the most preferred and favoured contender to clinch the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the 2023 general elections.
While expressing his wish to appoint Nigeria’s first female Vice President, if he gets the ticket of the APC for the 2023 elections and its approval to choose his running mate, he said mundane things like zoning should be discarded in the political lexicon of Nigeria.
Bello stated these while answering questions from journalists at his second annual seminar for political and crime correspondents which held in Abuja.
Our correspondent reported that some aspirants; including governor Yahaya Bello; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu and ex-governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha have openly declared their interest to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), whose second year tenure would end on May 29, 2023.
Bello, who formally declared his intention to run for President on Saturday, April 2, in Abuja, said irrespective of the type of primary, be it direct or indirect primary to be adopted by the APC, he would defeat his opponents to clinch the presidential ticket.
He said, “The APC is a party that is in search of quality and a party with nothing less than 41 million members and they are aware of the young man that mobilized these members who cut across the geo-political zones into the party. And the APC knows the body language of the nation today and they are aware that the youth and women are clamouring for that person who is detribalised and that person who is ready to build on the modest achievements of President Buhari.
“They know the man that can speak the language of youths. If consensus is going to be the option, I don’t think APC will go outside Yahaya Bello. And if otherwise other considerations are put forward that is either indirect or direct, Governor Yahaya Bello is the man to beat. I am confident and I trust God almighty and I trust the judgement of the leadership and members of my great party. This time around is the time we must jettison the mundane sentiments of where someone comes from.”
The governor said he would not tolerate buck- passing but ensure that Governors take responsibility for security in their states and are held responsible for breaches when he becomes the President.
Bello emphasized that President Buhari could not be in every state of the federation ensuring security of lives and property when there are chief executives in place in the states.
He, however, said states would be empowered to rise to the challenges of insecurity.
He said, “I refused to politicise insecurity. Buhari is a man who loves truth and reality. I will let you know that Mr. President loves this country.
“This insecurity is not a thing of Mr. President even though we shouldn’t pass buck because that is why we came on board. It is a successive failure of various administrations.
“Let me remind us once again that certain military and police hardware were non-existent or was last purchased in the administration of former President Shehu Shagari. After the bomb blast incident in Ikeja cantonment, did Nigerians ask whether the arms and ammunition that detonated and killed some people were ever replaced since then?
“After the various decays, the foundation was shaky and the President spent a lot of money to buy equipments. The President will not sit in the Villa and hold AK-47 to come and secure my schools and roads.
“Some of these crimes that we see today is more than what we see on the surface. I will never come out here and point out the flaws. Whatever I observe, in terms of loopholes and lapses, it is between myself and the President to let him know.
“I will never be that governor who will come out and tell that the President did not secure my schools and roads. That is why as the Chief Security Officer of Kogi, I ensure that I brought the rate of crime from the zenith down to the floor and the President is assisting me to succeed in that area.”.
Bello added that his administration had turned no fewer than 2,000 persons in Kogi into millionaires.