Officially, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has declared to run for the office of the Nigerian president in 2023 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bello on Saturday made the declaration at an elaborate event at the Eagles Square in Abuja on Saturday, promised to make 20 million Nigerians millionaires by 2023.
The event witnessed the presence of many dignitaries including, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, Kogi state deputy governor, Edward Onoja, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode among others.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the presumed winner of the June 1993 presidential election, late Moshood Abiola, is to lead the governor’s presidential campaign organisation as its director-general.
Also, the director-general of the M.K.O. Abiola Campaign Organisation and former Senate Deputy Leader, Jonathan Zwingina, has been named the national coordinator of the Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign.
Bello, while reeling out some of the plans he has for the country, said the 2023 presidential elections are about the survival of Nigeria, adding that he would build on the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that having been the governor of Kogi state since January 27, 2016, Nigerians should assess his suitability to be president based on his scorecard of performance.
He said: “I will be running on the broad political philosophy of progressive activism through social action and political reforms. We are so blessed as a nation but yet he does not always seem so. I am running to restore hope by providing security, unity and progress to all Nigerians.
“Our focus will be proper management of our great diversity so that it can really be an advantage.”
Bello noted that despite the dire challenges facing Nigeria today, no one can deny that President Buhari has given Nigeria the greatest investments in public works, governance, housing and social services since the fourth Republic began.
He added that the present administration has invested in the nation’s national security, saying “The war against security may be taking longer than earlier expected but President Muhammadu Buhari has ensured that we have the resources to overcome the challenges.”
Continuing he stated: “Also, it can’t be denied that under the APC government, Nigeria is pushing forward the most comprehensive proposals for restructuring since independence.
“The sum of government policies, the electoral act and other statues enacted, and the ongoing amendment of our constitution are fundamentally changing the way we do things.
“For instance, the average Nigerian governor now has more power on matters of insecurity, public transportation, taxation fiscal federalism, electricity and so more than any other time in our history. These are the legacies of Mr President. They will help the next president takes less long and easier developmental strides provided Nigerians ensure that he is succeeded by one who is ready to consolidate.
“I have proven once again that I am the only one such successor in the APC lineup for 2023.
“I am running for president because I see a bright light shining at the end of the tunnel for our nation. I am not one of those who only see doom and glue. It is my intention to take custody of that light to pierce the dark spot in our past and present by eliminating every gap in our nationhood and to fix them.
“I will ensure that the light is handed over in due course to successors who will be trustworthy of our great future which the federal government led by me will build.
According to Bello, since he took office in 2016, he has committed the unpardonable political sin in Nigeria which is the refusal to have godfathers
“Their anger has burnt furiously against us and sadly they have often misled the media against us. As a result, we have had to work extra hard to get fair comments not to talk of accolades or credits for our
“The 2023 presidential election is actually a battle for the survival of Nigeria and I am passionate enough about my country to fight for the privilege. I gave Kogi state a better treatment.”
He said Nigeria’s next president must possess an excellent record in successfully managing diversity, saying his administration has been able to take a polarised Kogi and forge it into a state that is both diverse and inclusive.
On insecurity, he assured that if elected, he would never tolerate non-state actors who take up arms against the nation.
“But I will be willing to listen to all sides and address all agitations fairly especially those borne out of genuine imbalances in the treatment of citizens by the system. I will put a stop to the existential mistreatment of any people among us.
“According to a BBC report of February 13, 2012, over 100m Nigerians live in extreme poverty during the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) era. In 2018, with APC in the saddle, that figure has dropped to about 87m people yet Nigeria overtook India as the poverty capital of the world. Just this month, Nigeria through the effort of the president relinquish the title back to India and brought down the figure to about 70m people.
“It is therefore clear that our path to national prosperity lies in pulling millions of Nigeria out of poverty.
“The Buhari has a target of lifting 100m Nigerians out of poverty by the year 2030, a Yahaya Bello administration or presidency will have an additional target of creating 20 million millionaires by the same year 2030 with the aim that each of them will empower five other citizens.”