Courage in the Face of Adversity

Courage in the Face of Adversity

By Nafisat Bello

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
– Douglas MacArthur

All over the world, men of conviction don’t mind going alone even when the crowd disappears over a particular choice they have made. When strong men make controversial decisions and face the threat of losing their once enthustatic crowd, they don’t waiver or relent. They just double down as far as they are sure of their choice. They know that the passing of time and posterity will vindicate them.

In this case, the crowd has always and will always be with the vibrant, hardworking governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello. The people, women and youths were the ones who clamoured for him to throw his hat in the ring and represent their interests, emotions and sentiments at the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention. It was only a few power brokers that tried to stop him from storming Eagle Square in style.

Bello was the first to declare for the race based on the genuine, patriotic clarion call to lead Nigerian youths and women into a more decent future. And since he declared interest in the race, he has gone round the country and invested energy and time into getting to the finish line. While campaigning, he has been getting all the support and encouragement from the same demographics that drafted him into the race. And for them the excitement has been at the peak seeing someone who looks like them and looks after them being in the forefront of those seeking votes to lead them instead of previous times that they kept on seeing same old faces who have been around for decades. The enthusiasm level of Nigerian youths and women has been at the peak with the activities of Bello during the months of campaign.

It would have therefore amounted to gross betrayal of these people for him to just chicken out of the race like that and dash their hopes. That is why he held on strongly and firmly in the face of the pressure on him to step down in the last 48 hours before the primaries.

So when the Northern Governors Forum met last weekend and decided to concede the APC presidential ticket to the South, they urged all aspirants from the North to step down. But knowing full well that it was a matter of opinion which was never binding, Governor Bello did not only refuse to sign the letter, he also declined to step down.

In fact, Governor Bello appeared on Channels TV Sunday Politics programme hosted by Seun Akinbaloye and told the world that he was going ahead with his aspiration.

Referring to the idea of conceding to the South at the last minute as divisive, Governor Bello reminded Nigerians that part of the reasons a unifier like him wanted to become President was to eliminate the We Versus Them mentality, the North Versus South Dichotomy. He said his ambition was motivated by the urgent need to bring northerners and southerners, Muslims and Christians to the table and develop a common goal for everyone.

Sensitive to the mood of the nation over the Owo massacre, Governor Bello started the conversation by first commiserating with the people and government of Ondo state over the tragic event at St Francis Catholic Church earlier on that day. He proceeded to tell Nigerians that insecurity was one of the cardinal reasons he was pushing to have the APC ticket and run for President so he could help deliver the country the way he delivered Kogi state.

He therefore said he would go to Eagle Square and give the delegates the opportunity to choose the best man to lead the party to victory in 2023.

On the issue of consensus candidate, Governor Bello, a loyal party man, said that he will be willing to step down and accept the decision wholeheartedly in the interest of the APC especially If President Muhammadu Buhari, other leaders of the party pick a consensus candidate, who will unite the country and bring prosperity to Nigerians.

“And I sincerely hope that I will be that consensus candidate. But if in their wisdom they decide to go for who they think is more qualified for the job, then I will concur 100 percent,” he said.

Governor Bello may have lost the primary election. But he came a respectable 5th among political heavyweights. He also scored higher than any other sitting governor in the race.

He has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is not a pushover in the country and no one will disrespect or underrate a Kogite or the Nigerian youth any more in the scheme of things in this country.

For him, the political future is very bright.

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