Hafsat Abiola-Costello says 30 years after June 12 presidential election, Mr Bello is in the presidential race to restore the truncated hope of Nigerians, especially that of the youth, women and the vulnerable.
The Director-General of the Hope ’23 Yahaya Bello Campaign Council, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, says no candidate is better positioned for the 2023 Presidency than the Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Mrs Abiola-Costello, who is also the daughter of the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, made this known on Tuesday in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
She rolled out reasons Mr Bello remained Nigeria’s best bet in the forth-coming 2023 presidential election.
She explained that 30 years after June 12, Mr Bello was in the presidential race to restore the truncated hope of Nigerians, especially that of the youth, women and the vulnerable.
“The truth is, the people that are truly marginalised in Nigeria are the women and the young people. And, if there is any moral obligation, it is to them that it is owed.
“Who led the fight against June 12, against the annulment? Was it not the students, the young people? Where were they in 1999 after the whole fight, where were they placed, can we say nowhere?
“When I look at all these events, the kidnappings and all now, it is clear to me that this is a revolt of young people of Nigeria, that they have had enough.
“Many of them are revolting in ways that we do not endorse because they have had enough of being marginalized in their own country.
“If the country will not use them for good, they will use themselves for bad,” she said.
According to Mrs Abiola-Costello, there is no candidate better positioned to harness the potential of young people in Nigeria than Mr Bello.
She said Mr Bello had signaled the youth that “Nigeria is for them, that they are the ones that should be in charge and young people and women in Nigeria are ready to lead.”
She said there were no longer room excuses.
The director-general, while further explaining reasons Mr Bello was the best choice for Nigeria’s Presidency, said he had demonstrated transparency, credibility and accountability as governor of Kogi, an action which had been recognised over and over again by the World Bank.
She noted that Kogi, being given such ranking by the World Bank, dismissed all other misinformation about finances being peddled by political opponents.
“First the governor is an accountant, and he actually is one of the few state governors in Nigeria that the World Bank has certified his transparency in finances.
“I do not know any other state that the World Bank has given his ranking.
“So, we can safely say that if this kind of international agency has evaluated him, the work of the state in the management of resources and not found it to be wanting.
“It means that there is really no credibility to the idea that he is mismanaging the state,” she said.
Mrs Abiola-Costello added that Mr Bello was someone that did not like to take loans as he had been carefully managing the resources of the state by the IGR of the state he built .
“When he came on board, it was N350 million, he has built it to N2billion. And his own intention is to build the capacity of the state to grow wealth,” she added.
On boosting the economy, Mrs Abiola-Castello said Mr Bello also succeeded in making Kogi investment-friendly, which had wooed good investors to the state.
She explained that the governor, in a bid to achieve his aim, set up a business council made up some of the most successful businessmen in Nigeria, not just in Kogi.
She said the council had been guiding the government on policies and practices that would encourage business investments.
“Significantly, His Excellency has brought business to the state, you know Confluence Rice, and other significant investment he has been making in the Rice Value Chain.
“He understands that one of the big assets in the state is agriculture. But he does not want us to just be restricted to farming but to look also at the value addition in farming. So significant resources in the state have been invested in that regard,” she said.
Mrs Abiola-Costello said there was also the investment agency of the state to help potential investors to go through all the process so that everything is made easy for them.
She said those people had been guiding the government on policies and practices that would encourage business investments and it has been working.
She said it was with it that the state’s IGR grew to almost N2 billion before the pandemic.
Mr Bello will be jostling for APC ticket with over 10 more aspirants in the party’s primary election scheduled to hold at the end of this month.
They include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, former Ogun governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun, former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Others are Governors Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and Ben Ayade of Cross River State.
There are indications that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, will join the race.