The Governor also reflected on the national question, saying the solution to insecurity does not lie in state police but community police.
Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello has highlighted the qualities President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should possess.
Bello, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), said the choice of the next president in 2023 should be shaped by five factors.
These factors, in the Governor’s view, are youthfulness, courage of conviction, ability to restore security, capacity for management of diversity and equity.
Bello, who has been urged by numerous groups to declare his ambition for the presidency, spoke at the maiden GYB seminar for political and crime correspondents at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
He was accompanied by the Secretary to Kogi State Government, Dr. Folasade Ayoade; Information Commissioner Kingsley Fanwo; some federal and state legislators from the Northcentral state, and other aides.
Participants viewed a documentary on Nigeria’s potentials for growth and development, with an emphasis on the central place of Kogi State in the country.
They were also taken through conference sessions with sub-themes: ‘Reporting Nigeria for Nigeria,’ Youth Participation in Governance,’ Prioritising Education as pre-requisite for a peaceful society: The Kogi example,’ Achieving food security inspite of global economic downturn: The Kogi story,’ and ‘Constructive reporting in crisis situation.’
Bello lauded President Buhari for his calmness as a father figure and achievements in the areas of infrastructure development and security.
Alluding to the importance of youthfulness as a criterion for choosing the next president, the 46-year-old Governor said:”Natural force and physical energy cannot be abated if performance is to be elevated.”
Bello also emphasised courage as a criterion for fitness to rule, saying:”A clear capacity to be zealously affected in a good matter and to lead with courage and foresight in the pursuit of the overall best interests of the people.”
On security, which has been a major challenge in the last one decade, the Governor emphasised that proven ability to enforce security, unity and peace in a large territory with a difficult terrain should be considered.
He added:” Clear records in successfully managing diversity which is where most post-Independence leaders of Nigeria have failed.
“Today we have a Kogi State where the youth are predominantly the ones in office, the women have crossed the 35 percent ‘Affirmative Action’ threshold of the SDGs and continue to rise and ‘People With Special Needs’ have adequate representation in government.”
Bello, who also identified equity as a factor, pointed out that the presidential slot should either go to the North central or Southeast.
He stressed:”Only the North central and Southeast geo-political zones of this country have not held the Presidency or Vice Presidency, the two highest offices in the land, since return to civilian rule in 1999.
“All talks of zoning must be the handmaid of equity or we are merely playing dangerous politics and healing the wounds of the country deceitfully.”
Acknowledging the agitation for zoning to the South, Bello said zoning should not dethrone merit and equity as salient criteria.
He pointed out that zoning is neither in the 1999 Constitution nor the constitution of the party, adding that it is a sentimental issue.