Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, on Tuesday, briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the improved security situation in his state.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the outcome of the closed-door meeting with the president in Abuja, Mr Bello noted that Kogi has been enjoying relative peace and stability in recent times due to new security measures introduced in the state.
According to the governor, Nigerians have a role to play in securing the nation. He called on all citizens to complement the government’s effort by serving as agents of security in their homes and areas of abode.
He said: “As usual, I came to visit Mr President to give him an update of the situation in my area of responsibility, which is Kogi State.
“(As) you all know, Kogi, as (of) the time I assumed office, used to be the most dangerous, let me put it that way, crime state, before. But, as (of) today, with (the) special grace of God, Kogi is now the safest state, as far as Nigeria is concerned.
“And the President is very pleased about our performance in the state in the area of security, economy, infrastructural development, integration, peace and unity that are being enjoyed in Kogi State today.
“So basically, these are the briefs that I came with to see the President, and he sends his goodwill message to the people of Kogi.”
According to him, the current administration has done greatly in tackling insecurity.
He, however, noted that the administration’s successes in addressing insecurity are under-reported, and it may be politically motivated.
“One of the loopholes I can see in tackling insecurity is in Nigerians ourselves. Today, in Kogi State, all citizens are potential security personnel.
“If all Nigerians take it as their own business, insecurity would be tamed to the barest minimum.
“So, we should be ready to take on security issues head-on, we shouldn’t just be relying on the law enforcement agencies. The way we continue to hype issues of insecurity, especially our headlines in the media, will not help us.
“For instance, take the statistics of the insecurity issues they had in America from 2020 to date and compare with that of Nigeria, you will discover that we have just overhyped ours. I think we should downplay some of our headlines.”
On chances of the North Central producing a presidential candidate under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, the governor described the North-central as the most marginalised since 1960, when the country gained independence hence, most deserving of the presidency, come 2023.
Mr Bello was reacting to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, an Igbo apex socio-cultural organization, which had been insisting that zoning the presidency to the South-east would remain a fundamental ingredient for national unity.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, in a statement on Monday, said that wherever the next president of Nigeria comes from will send a strong message to Igbo people worldwide.
However, Mr Bello stated that the North-central had never produced the president or vice president of the country, and it was only proper that the region should produce the next president of the country in 2023.
He said: “Well, if you’re talking of the South-east, then you will equally talk of North-central not only since 1999, but since 1960. So what do you say of the North-central, which has never produced the president or vice president?
“So, put the situation of South-east and that of North-central side by side, who is more disadvantaged in terms of the position of presidency or vice presidents?
“So, if you put both sides together, then let’s do justice. And whichever way you look at it, I’m eminently qualified.”
On who he thinks should take over from Mr Buhari in 2023, and if he informed the president of his political ambition, the governor said: “Mr President would want a vibrant, experienced, energetic, patriotic Nigerian to take over from him and in all of the qualities that Nigerians are yearning or looking for today, I possess all of these qualities by the special grace of God.
“Nigerians are yearning and asking me to run for the president come 2023, and by the special grace of God, I will not turn down that offer,” Mr Bello added.
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