October 4, 2022

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said he went into the race for the presidency in 2023 under the All Progressives Congress, APC, just to hone his skills as a politician.

Although he lost out in the primary election that produced former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as presidential flag bearer, Bello said the lessons learnt from the contest has been well assimilated and will prove useful in future political endeavours.

The Governor made these remarks, shortly after he met President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, to thank him for allowing a level playing ground for all the contestants during the recent primary polls.

Recall that while the permutations for who will emerge as flag bearer of the ruling party raged, Bello had remained adamant that he would not step down for any candidate.

He was reported to have walked out on one of the stakeholders meetings involving the APC Governors from the North and had insisted that it would take only the President to compel him to step down for any of the aspirants.

He was later seen visiting Tinubu to declare his full support for his presidential ambition and even donated a fully furnished campaign office to aid the presidential flagbearer.

“I came today to see Mr. President to express my appreciation for allowing me to participate in the just concluded national special convention that elected our standard bearer. As a president, the leader of our party, my leader, my father, and mentor.

“I deem it necessary and courteous enough to come and appreciate him for giving me that opportunity. Even so far, to serve the good people of Kogi State as executive governor the first and even in the second term so far, and in various capacities that have served the party, my state and the nation And to further express to Mr. President, I am 100% loyal to him and to the party. And Mr. President was pleased. He appreciated me and encouraged me to continue to pursue what will make this country great. So basically, that’s why I’m here today.

“You can start from any level, as a youth, as women; as Nigerians, you can start from any level. My own first level is governorship, and God made it. And again, I attempted the presidency, now, let us not give up hope. We must continue to try. I have learned a great lesson from this first trial. And I’m never beaten twice,” he stated. Commenting on the clamour for a Muslim/Muslim ticket, he said Tinubu was an experienced politician, hence would know how to pick a running mate that would give him the edge to win the elections.

His words, “The flagbearer, Senator to Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an astute politician. He understands the game well and he knows how to win a contest, especially at this level. I’m confident that himself, Mr. President, our party leaders and elders of our party will come up with a selection that is going to sell the party and the candidature of our party and ensure that victory, whether Muslim Muslim ticket ot Christian; whether from Northeast or wherever, I am confident that the party can come up with someone who will assist in the already victory that we are envisaging ahead of us. So whether it Muslim or Christian, we’re all Nigerians.

“It’s been long that I have been advocating that we should de-emphasize our fault lines; that which divides us; let us rather dwell on what unites us more. So that is my position.

“Well merits and balance, equity, fairness and justice. When you put all of them together as a political party, what comes to mind first is how do we win this election? If we don’t win this election where do you now come about your fairness, equity and justice for Nigeria.

“So, merit is very key; I’ve always been an advocate for merit because certain challenges that are confronting us today in this country, we need those who will come and solve this problem. If this place is not secured, we won’t be here today. Those that are here today, securing the Villa, securing this press room are not selected based on religion.

“They’re not selected based on region, they are selected based on competence, capacity to be able to protect this villa. So we need those who will be able to solve all of these challenges that are confronting us today in Nigeria

”.

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