Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, has rejected the calls for zoning, advising Nigerians to focus on competence rather than ethno-religious considerations in determining the next president of the country.
Bello spoke Saturday in Abuja when he received a team of ex-Nigerian internationals led by a former Super Eagles player and ex-Coach, Augustine Eguavoen.
Aside Eguavoen, other ex-internationals who were present were Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha, Victor Agali, Taribo West, Ifeanyi Udeze, Victor Ikpeba, Tijani Babangida and Garba Lawal.
Noting that corruption has continued to fuel insecurity in the country, Bello who chairs the Mobilization and Sensitization Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC’s ongoing membership registration added that the lack of a succession plan in Nigeria’s leadership recruitment process has done more harm to the country.
Expressing support for the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Bello said it was time the old left the political stage for the younger generation.
Bello said; “Mr President so much listens to us that he agrees that the bane of development is corruption. One of the factors responsible for insecurity today is corruption. Funds meant for development, funds meant to fight insecurity are being siphoned using one subhead or the other. But Mr President who listens to the calls and yearnings of the youths appointed one of us to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC and you are going to see the magic wand in the fight against corruption because Mr Bawa knows that the future lies squarely on the shoulders of the young generations. So, we will do everything possible to assist Mr Bawa to succeed on the job.
“No matter the energy or talent that you had put in building the Super Eagles of those days, if you don’t have successors, younger ones who will take over from you, we would not have still had some brilliant people on the pitch today.
I’ll hand over to a younger successor
“I don’t know the position that God has designed for me after Governorship but I pray that I should be able to bequeathe and hand over to a younger one who will outperform and outshine me.
“I pray that good reasons will prevail on our seniors to know that the time is up for them because I have been charged with the responsibility of educating, sensitizing, mobilizing strong, energetic, committed and patriotic new generation of men and women. I will not fail in that responsibility.
“I know that the youths and students are listening to me. We have spoken. We have communicated a nd we understand ourselves. We are ready to take leadership. We are not waiting to be simply called upon. We are saying, here we are. We are taking charge.
“By the special grace of God, I can assure you that come 2023, our party under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will provide the next generation of leaders who will fix this country. There will be Judases.
No doubt about it. There will be gang ups. There will be landmines but we will overcome them. There will be obstacles. There will be hurdles but we will cross them. I think the elders, the earlier the seniors know that the time is up, the better for them. I want to finally urge our seniors and the federal and state governments to give every necessary support to those who made us proud at one time or the other.
“Both north and south do not know boundaries when it comes to football and other sports. So, we are appealing to Nigerians to look beyond religion and ethnicity. For once, let us get one person who will fix this country irrespective of where he comes from and then the rest shall follow”, he added.
Earlier, leader of the team, Mr Eguavoen said Gov. Bello has been so impactful in leadership that he cannot be ignored, hence their visit to show their support to him.
“You are a role model and everybody wants to get close to you because of the things you have done for Kogi state and by extension the entire country. The future belongs to the youth. We know that the most uniting factor in this country is soccer and when you call on us at anytime, we shall honour your call. We will be there. This is to show our solidarity and support that whatever your intentions are, we will stick with you because we want the best for our country. You are a dynamic young man.
“We know the power of football. Other of our colleagues from across the country will come to Kogi and play a novelty match very soon”, he added.