Lugard House Chapel: Yahaya Bello’s Jinx-breaking Legacy Project

Lugard House Chapel: Yahaya Bello’s Jinx-breaking Legacy Project

By Hafsat Ibrahim

“All religions preach the goodness of truth and moral living, love, and compassion. We should respect all religions, in the same manner, as we respect our own religion since the underlying message of all religions is the same”

– Purohit

Kogi is one State where ethnic and religious differences manifest in social interactions of its diverse indigenes and citizens. That was before Yahaya Bello assumed office as Governor of The Confluence State.

In over six years at the helm of affairs, Governor Bello has done more than brilliantly in ensuring that Kogites do not see each other as sworn enemies, by virtue of their varying ethnic group, political affiliation and religious divide.

Governor Bello, who is an exponent of inclusive governance has always populated his government not with only Ebiras, but also with several accomplished Kogites of other ethnic clans.

Among those holding influential positions and offices in Governor Bello’s administration that are neither his kinsmen and women, nor hailed from his senatorial zone include Secretary to the State Government, SSG, and the State Head of Service, HoS, among others.

How Bello has succeeded in building an egalitarian Kogi did not come as a surprise to many, conversant with his welcoming and amiable personality.

In 2016, while he was taking his oath of office for his first term, Governor Bello, made it abundantly clear as to what his mission was, which is bridging bridges of unity among the sons and daughters of Kogi, regardless of the ethnic, and religious leanings.

Governor Bello did not only stop at uttering statements that can pass off for rhetorics. He has so matched his words with action.

A leader that advocates religious tolerance and harmony, Governor Bello in 2019, out of honour and respect for other faiths built and inaugurated the Government House Chapel for Christian worshippers. It was a feat so unprecedented in the 28-year-old history of The Confluence State, as past Governors of the State did not deem it fit to build a worship centre for the Christian staff of the Lugard House, despite years of clamour and protest.

Appreciating the governor’s love and compassion for Christians in Kogi, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle, who was in Kogi state for the groundbreaking lauded Governor Bello for maintaining ethnic and religious unity in the Confluence State.

He described Bello as a pacesetter and trailblazer for doing what other past administrations could not achieve.

He said any country that ensures fair play, mutual respect, and justice would enjoy tranquility, saying history would remember the governor for being a unifier.

Aside the CAN President’s candid remark on Bello and his template of fostering peace, several groups and media organizations also accorded Governor Bello the honour he rightly deserves.

They have conferred on the Governor merit awards and honourific titles. This however, will not make Nigeria’s youngest Governor to rest on his oars.

He will continue to strive and remain focused in ensuring that the bond and chemistry among the people of Kogi continue to wax stronger.

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