by Maazi Obinna Uzodinma Akuwudike
As the 2023 General Elections gradually draws closer, there are heightened indications, that President Muhammadu Buhari, may have settled for the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, as his successor, despite the clamour by the Southern part of Nigeria, for rotation of power from the North.
The first indication of a likely closeness between the Nigerian president, and Govenror Yahaya Bello, emerged with the unfortunate death of the presidential police outrider, Inspector Aminu Salisu, who died while on duty with the Kogi State governor.
The questions many asked was what an outrider of the president, would leave the president to go on escort duties with a Govenror, unless the govenror got the permission of the president to loan his outrider.
Yahaya Bello has become the only govenror in the country, who has shown open interest in succeeding Buhari.
The appointment by the Nigerian government, of former Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi, after his visit to and endorsement of Yahaya Bello, as the most fitting replacement for General Muhammadu Buhari, has sent signals, that Mikel was rewarded, for helping the Buhari administration, pass a message of where it’ s interest is.
If these and other events, have any credibility to the body language of the Buhari administration’ s choice of a suitable replacement for Buhari in 2023, the likes of former governor of Lagos State, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who had his eyes set on the presidency, but who Buhari have severally, indirectly indicated that he would not hand over power to him, may have an uphill task ahead of him.
Yahaya Bello has several things working for him, which includes his youthfulness and adaptability and openness to Nigerians of other tribes and religion, unlike Tinubu who like Buhari, had shown open hatred for Igbos.
Yahaya Bello have been getting endorsement from popular Nigeria stars such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Nollywood actress Destiny Etiko, Nollywood actor Jim Iyke, amongst others.
Interestingly, these stars are from Igbo, a tribe that has been agitating to occupy the seat in Aso Rock after Buhari.
Religious leaders, especially from the Christian fold are not left out, as Pastor Enoch Adeboye, whose pastor, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo, is Buhari’ s Vice President, have also been seen fraternising with Yahaya Bello.
His openness on his readiness to run for the position, when his fellow govenrors are still hiding their ambitions, may be an indication, that he had higher backing than others. Even the likes of Kaduna State govenror, Nasir El- Rufai, known to have his eyes on the seat in Aso Rock, doesn’ t seem to be a favourite choice, probably because of his hardliner stance, which the Buhari administration may want to change, if they hope to keep the North in power.
Yahaya Bello may just be the answer the North is seeking, to keep the South out of power for as long as possible.
But when you wonder, why does the North want the South out of power, the current situation in the South could give you an answer to that question.
With the agitation from the East and the South West for secession, the North may want somebody who can change the narrative, and the damage done to the unity of the nation by the Buhari administration, before power can be allowed to return to the South, as a way to protect Nigeria’ s unity.