Yahaya Bello’s Victory in the Race of Guts
By Abdullahi O. Haruna Haruspice
Yahaya Adoza Bello wasn’t amongst the top three in the just concluded APC primaries but he won in the race of guts; he challenged the status quo, relaunched his region into national consciousness and made a bold statement that what a man can do another man can also do it. He changed the equation of the primaries.
His insistence to be on the ballot paved the way for the victory of Asiwaju. He was asked to step down, an offer he found ridiculous; he dared his colleagues and refused to be intimidated. In the end, all aspirants had the chance to pitch their intention before the delegates and a winner eventually emerged. Bello’s insistence made this happen; the intrigues that made this happen would be told someday.
Most times, no winner wins in his first race, it takes falls and falls to get to the finish line. Those who dare to be winners suffer falls to become winners. Muhammadu Buhari had one of the torturous races of his life; his character was battered, he escaped a bomb blast and suffered defeats and gang up from 2003 through 2007 to 2011 until 2015 when he reached the touchline victoriously.
Since 2007, Atiku Abubakar has been a perennial candidate of life’s fall – again, he is in another race of his life. Raila Odinga of Kenya has been on consistent falls in the race of life since the early 2000s jostling to be the President of his country. This time, he may have his win. So, Yahaya Bello is not an exception in this precarious race of life where your wins do not come without falls.
Against all odds, the young man held obstinately to be on the APC presidential ballot. Forget the win, even though it didn’t come, the man stands fulfilled and more prepared for the task ahead. With age and a blossoming future ahead, Bello is more poised to sustain the marathon race towards the win. What you see in him might be different from what he sees in himself- only a man understands his dream, therefore, you cannot question it. Yahaya Bello came, he saw and became more stoic in the race for the future. Power is not taken, it is first tried then negotiated and eventually given.
Consider his venture as a political statement, as a daring grasp of political relevance and beginning of a race towards a victorious finish line. It took Bola Ahmed Tinubu 17 years to be on the presidential ballot of any political party. What if he didn’t start long ago, there wouldn’t have been a Tinubu going into a general election come 2023- he defied all the intrigues for many years to be where he is today.
Do not mock Bello. In his first attempt, he defeated those who held the political ace since the return of democracy. Where was Bello when Sani Ahmed Yerima was the political god of northern Nigeria? Where was Bello of today when Rochas Okoroacho was the talk on the lips of everyone; where was this Kogi born lad when Ogbonnaya Onu was the political iroko of Nigeria? Yet, this man sits atop them at the table of the recent contest. That is a policy statement. Celebrate him for this feat, it doesn’t come that easy in this keen race of life.
A beautiful race too close to a finish line, an exhibition of resilience, courage and determination to change the status quo and infuse dynamism into Nigeria’s body politics explains Yahaya Bello’s incursion into national politics.
In reassessing the journey so far, the Governor can only build on the lessons of the struggle and keep the experience gained right in the safe. His Excellency’s strategist and anchors need revaluation to possibly identify fault lines and gaps that delivered the not too encouraging delegates’ votes. That some delegates from the State voted for other aspirants and not their principal further disclosed some missing links. It would also appear some key strategists were not too prominent in the build up and networking to attract strong support base in states across Nigeria. In particular, the usual deft moves and deadly political intrigues reminiscent of Chief Edward Onoja, the Deputy Governor was not noticed in reaching out to States.
Going forward, His Excellency Yahaya Bello would have seen it all and the need to overhaul his political engine room may not be ignored.
In all, Yahaya Bello’s outing at the APC presidential primary was a launchpad into a promising political future; he didn’t win today but I see a victorious tomorrow for him, for only those who fall and fall master the road to victory.
Happy Birthday to a good man with large heart of human meekness.