Yahaya Bello: That Deserving Award on Security
By Nafisat Bello
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory or when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
That was the vintage Dr Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African President and civil rights advocate who dedicated his life to fighting for equality and against all odds, helped topple South Africa’s racist system of Apartheid.
Mandela (1918-2013), was an inspiration to people across the continent, an icon, a South African black nationalist who spent 27 years in prison fighting against his country’s discriminatory apartheid system of racial segregation. Upon his release, he negotiated with President F.W. de Klerk in the early 1990s which brought an end to the racist policy and then, was elected as the President of South Africa, serving from 1994 to 1999.
Even in death, Madiba, as he is fondly called, is seen as one of the greatest souls to ever emerge from Africa. Celebrated all over the world for his sense of justice, spirit of sacrifice and his extraordinary forgiving nature (in the way he forgave the White supremacists in South Africa and urged his people not to seek revenge for Apartheid and his 27-year incarceration), he is one of only three people on the continent who have ever won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Taking a cue from Mandela’s storied courage and amazing leadership qualities, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has seized the bull by the horn and led from the front on the issue of security since extraordinary circumstances blessed Kogi state with his emergence in 2016.
Kogi state, being at the very centre of the country, is bordered by about ten states, most of which have been bedeviled by large scale kidnapping and banditry for years. The fact that Kogi is not only standing strong but is also seen as one of the safest states in the country is due to the resilience, vision and no-nonsense attitude of Governor Bello.
The remarkable measures the governor took to chase out criminals and make Kogi state the envy of the entire country have been well documented in my Book, “Yahaya Bello: 47 Narratives on a Change Agent,” and I don’t need to repeat them here. But the recent outing with stakeholders in the aftermath of the Ajaokuta killings has continued to draw admiration from all and sundry. During that meeting, the governor reeled out a lot of new, tough measures to ensure that no more embarrassing security breach happens in the state under his watch. He also gave marching orders to local government leaders, traditional rulers, security agencies as well as vigilante groups to ensure all hands are on deck to keep the state safe and secure.
Speaking to traditional rulers, he said: “You have the exclusive responsibility to ensure that all nooks and crannies of your areas are free from criminality of all sorts. Ensuring peaceful co-existence in your domain is your exclusive responsibility.”
Addressing fellow politicians, he said: “And Let me sound a note of warning to all politicians, irrespective of political persuasion, to desist from anything that could disrupt the peace we are currently enjoying in the state. No one is above the law.”
Governor Bello, while receiving the committee of bankers at Government House in Lokoja also recently admonished commercial institutions to fix high-tech Close Circuit Television cameras around the bank branches, covering their premises and the neighborhood. He added that the CCTVs should be manned during working hours to avoid attacks on banks.
It was due to the seriousness the governor attaches to issues of security that made one of the leading newspapers in the country, Blueprint Newspapers, to honour him with Politician of the Year Award in an elaborate ceremony held in Abuja recently.
According to the organisers of the Blueprint Annual Public Lectures and Impact Series/Awards, the award was in recognition of Governor Bello’s “outstanding leadership qualities and decisive handling of the security situation in the state.”
There is no doubting the fact that the people of Kogi state feel blessed to have Governor Bello at a time the country is going through unprecedented security challenges and worst of all, some of the states surrounding Kogi have been overwhelmed by cross-border bandits. This hardworking governor therefore deserves all he gets in terms of awards and recognitions for what he has done in securing the Confluence State
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