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Yahaya Bello’s 2023 Quest for Presidency: An Objective Analysis

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Yahaya Bello's 2023 Quest for Presidency

By Jacob Abai

It was George Washington, a onetime President of the United State of America (USA), who once said that, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

Likewise, Yahaya Adoza Bello, a Nigerian politician, businessman and the current Governor of Kogi State, has through his actions in the past six years, demonstrated that his love for his people, his home state-Kogi and most importantly shown willingness that as a young Nigerian leader, that he is laced with the capacity to take the nation’s socio-economic sector out of the woods while arresting the nagging security challenge that has currently defiled all solutions.

This opinion of mine gained its root from three different but related sources.

First was my conversation with a Kogi-based taxi driver during one of my visits to Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in preparation for the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper’s 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Award.

The secondly was the global commentary about the Governor’s current efforts in the state, while the third and very key came a few days ago from the revelation by the Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr Edward David Onoja, during a private chat at Lagos EKO Hotel’s venue of the Newspaper’s 6th Anniversary celebration.

He said in part; “Kogi State shares boundaries with about eight to nine states, a case which could have made it easy for the influx of criminals, yet, such cannot be recorded in the state because of the creative leadership daily provided by the Yahaya Bello led state government.”

Can this claim be true? Finding answers to this nagging question via objective analysis is the purpose of this piece.

First, a few months ago, precisely in April 2021, I took a train ride from Warri, Delta State to Itakpe, Kogi State. Arriving at the Itakpe train terminal at noon, I took yet another taxi to connect Abuja. Two minutes into that journey in the taxi, the journalistic instinct in me prompted a topic and the following conversation ensued between the cab operator and me. This taxi looks neat and healthy, I commented. The taxi driver; thank you, sir. Help me thank Oga Yahaya Bello, our state Governor. Why? I probed.

Let’s listen to the driver; he (referring to the Governor) gave us the vehicle as a way of getting us empowered. I am a graduate and for so many years, I have been without a job. Even to feed my family was difficult but upon assuming office, he (the Governor) bought thousands of these cabs and gave them out to the youth/men. Since then, things have changed. I am now a full-fledged man alive to his family duties. Through this cab, I have been able to establish a thriving business for my wife and feeding/my children school fees are no longer giving sleepless nights as I now meet up with those demands effortlessly. Kogi youths, men and women are happy with our amiable Governor and that is more reason we want him as the president come 2023.

On the Governor’s effort in the areas of security, the taxi driver has this to say; “if it were to be before, we cannot pass through this road because of armed robbers and kidnappers. But Governor Yahaya mobilized/stationed on this road many personnel from the Nigerian Army, police and an uncountable number of well-trained and well-equipped local/civilian vigilante groups. Since then, normalcy has returned. Again, the governor has systematically and strategically engaged all hands in the state in different skills and endeavours, criminal activities have drastically reduced in the state.”

Indeed, while this taxi driver praised the Governor all through the journey from Kogi to Abuja, there are in my view signs that he may not be alone in this belief about Yahaya Bello’s ability to fight insecurity in the state.

Recently, a news report dated June 10, 2021, and titled Nigerians in Diaspora endorse Yahaya Bello for 2023 Presidency, shares similar thoughts. It says in part; Nigerians in Diaspora, under the aegis of Nigerians in Diaspora Network and Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, have endorsed Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi as their candidate for the 2023 Presidency. The group made this known during a world press conference in Oberhausen, Germany as they also opened a campaign office to support the movement.

In a statement made available to Vanguard, Odijie Irabor, General Coordinator of the group said the group had jointly selected Bello following thorough research.

The group noted that the attention of the International Community was however caught on Bello following his achievements of fighting insecurity, youth and women inclusion in governance, education development among others.

“We embarked on a massive consultation with our people in the diaspora through our various networks of social-cultural organizations, political organizations, media, religious bodies and many.

“This leads to the constitution of a high-powered committee to carry out a search for a young, viable, formidable, energetic, vibrant and result oriented presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.”

“Clamour for a youth president; Nigerians are condemning the preponderance of over-aged candidates for the exalted position of presidency.

“In this current political dispensation, Governor Yahaya Bello is known to be the youngest governor in Nigeria with the desired physical and mental capacity to meet the growing complexity and diversity in our political environment.

“High-security index in Kogi state; the most important function of a responsible government is the provision of security for lives and property.

“Notwithstanding the total collapse of the security architecture in Nigeria, Kogi state under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello has recorded a very stable security atmosphere across the state.

The situation says something else. This time around let’s cast a glance at how Olujonwo Obasanjo, son of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, added his voice to the relentless calls on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi to vie for the office of Nigeria’s president come 2023 as timely.

Olujonwo, who described Bello as a beacon of hope, urged the governor to step up his aspirations in order to create leadership space for the youths.

Obasanjo made the statement while paying a courtesy call on the governor in Abuja added that Nigerian youths have been neglected for too long despite the numerical strength and huge contributions in electioneering processes, have been denied the space to manifest their aspirations in political decisions making.

He said the energy and patriotism of the youths can never be in doubt – noting that at 35-45 of age, current elder statesmen like General Muhammadu Buhari, Gen T. Y. Danjuma, Yakubu Gowon and of course his father, Olusegun Obasanjo were at their best in nation-building and leadership. Envisaging a Yahaya Bello presidency, he harped on the total inclusion of youths in governance – a catalyst for fruitful, timely and productive governance templates for the people.

With a Bello presidency, there is no doubt that youths of competence and patriotic valour under the age of 27-30 can be ministers,’ he stressed.

While applauding the governor for his watertight fight against insecurity, infrastructural development drive and his wise decision and proactive leadership thrust in resolving the food blockade crises, Obasanjo tasked Bello to remain resolute and unshaken in his audacious push of occupying the seat of power come 2023.

Before the dust raised by this excitement created by Olujonwo’s kind words could settle, a heavier one created by that of his father was up as it was again reported that Mr Olusegun Obasanjo also urged the governor to sustain his effort in providing security for his state, noting that Kogi is central to the nation’s peace and development”.

“Former President Obasanjo noted that the fight against insecurity should have everybody on board, stressing that governors should involve everyone to ensure insecurity is curtailed in Nigeria.”

“While appreciating the governor for his developmental effort in the state especially in the areas of youth and women inclusion in politics and governance, infrastructure, health and education, Obasanjo charged Governor Bello to continue to be an advocate for youth involvement in governance.”

The North East Youths Coalition was not left out for the Yahaya 2023 Presidency as they have, going by reports, called on Mr Bello to run for the 2023 presidential election. The coalition which comprises groups of youths from the six states of the region that includes Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe State made the call at a press conference at Zaranda hotel Bauchi.

Led by its chairman Mr Salihu Magaji, the group opined that Yahaya Bello is a youth and energetic who is full of ideas to turn things around for the better in the country.

He said the Kogi state governor as a charismatic leader has a vision of addressing all socio-economic and political challenges facing the country in order to have peace, unity and stability in Nigeria.

He said their declaration of support for Bello is not for selfish interest but to encourage the young Nigerians to occupy the presidential seat.

“The leadership of the Arewa youths coalition who are agitating for the overall development of the region has commended the leadership style of Governor Yahaya Bello for his tireless efforts for coming out to address national issues to end nepotism, colonialism, power-drunk and old method of holding future of our great Nigerian youths to ransom.

Looking at this volume of supports, it is obvious in my view that Governor Yahaya Bello deserves our support.

Jacob Abai is the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of the Warri, Delta State-based GbaramatuVoice Newspaper. He could be reached via gbaramatuvoice@gmail.com

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How Retirement Can be Enjoyed, Not Endured: The Imperatives!

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Timi Olubiyi retirement

By Timi Olubiyi, PhD

The current landscape of retirement in Nigeria will change in the next couple of years as the ageing workforce is becoming increasingly visible in businesses, government, politics and in sports. Besides, with or without employment retirement phase will surely come for every individual.

However, persistent high rates of unemployment have been a serious concern in the country over the years, without any visible unemployment benefit, insurance or social policy. The reality is that many in this unemployment category will equally be reaching retirement age and will be transiting in a few years.

So, the impact of unemployment should be seen as long term and life-long, because it affects living standards even in retirement when active age and work-life has been passed with no palliatives or supports.

It is not uncommon for employees, politicians, entrepreneurs and the unemployed to live more than 20 years after the retirement age of 60years but the issue is usually the sustainability of wellbeing, livelihood, lifestyle, status, and social demands. The longer the time spent in retirement, the harder it becomes to be certain about the adequacy of resources to keep the livelihood and lifestyle going.

For those that care to know, individuals will need to have enough funds, assets that generate steady income, family support or investments saved to last even beyond 20 years.

Unfortunately, with a recent survey in Lagos State amongst the cluster of entrepreneurs and older adults majority may not have enough to meet and maintain their standard of living particularly livelihood, in an era of uncertainty, increasing inflation and harsh economic environments and much more at retirement.

This piece presents insights from business owners and businesses around Lagos State the economic capital of the country on retirement planning.

A follow-up survey in the Computer Village Ikeja area of the state was carried out, where respondents (entrepreneurs) indicated that they will only be willing to grow and expand their businesses at the expense of retirement planning, how ironic? Few mentioned that the only motivating factor that can increase their confidence in retirement is if their businesses succeed.

One of the key findings in the survey was that only a fraction of businesses are aware of the importance of pension and retirement plans. It was a stiff struggle identifying businesses with adequate arrangements of pension for staff, owner-manager or the business operator.

Even though a retirement plan through pension arrangements can help ensure that business owners and their staff have enough funds to live on in their later years, this all-important scheme is found missing in the majority of small businesses in Lagos State.

Recall small businesses are over 90% of existing businesses in the country and provide significantly for the majority of homes and families in terms of employment, sustainability and livelihood. Many entrepreneurs are so busy growing their businesses that they put off planning for retirement, this growing trend is not only worrisome but disturbing. Surprisingly as important as a retirement plan is, ageing business owners and operators rarely consider it imperative.

The survey further indicated that the majority of the businesses especially the self-employed do not have retirement savings plans, and 40% of business owners in the survey are not confident that they will be able to retire before the age of 65.

Nevertheless, the good news is that those small business owners have more options available to them than traditional 9 am to 5 pm office employees, yet this advantage is not explored. Because it presents an option of flexibility in the date of retirement.

Retirement can either be considered early or later, in some cases business owners might choose not to fully retire. The flexibility gives entrepreneurs the option to determine exactly when to stop working, yet the majority continue to operate without ceasing.

Indeed, according to the survey, 70% of the self-employed and entrepreneurs in computer village do not save regularly for retirement. The reason adjudge to this phenomenon is that they do not receive a steady salary pack, so many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement plans. The survey further highlights that some of the small business owners have the mind of selling their businesses to fund their retirement and relocate to the village when the time arises.

However, the risk of this option is that entrepreneurs and small business owners can overestimate the value of their businesses and eventually run at a loss. Counting entirely on the sale of the business to fully fund a long retirement is highly risky due to unforeseen circumstances.

The survey also found that many business owners would appreciate guidance when it comes to retirement because they lack knowledge of it. It is important to note that before death, especially under normal conditions in life, there is a phase called old age; a period where entrepreneurs have almost exhausted intellectual values and strength. Consequently, there is a need to prepare for such a phase of life with adequate retirement planning and possibly business succession.

Retiring is a real-life changing phase with far-reaching implications, dreadful stories most entrepreneurs would not want to hear or discuss this reality but unfortunately, there is nothing one can do about it; it is bound to come one day. Business owners cited cost and lack of resources to administer the plan as the leading reasons why they do not have a retirement plan in place.

Please note if you are a small business owner reading this, you are likely busy running your business and have not had the time to research the best retirement option. While retirement may not be on your mind currently as an entrepreneur, the sooner you start planning for this all-important aspect of your business the better. Here are simple steps entrepreneurs and small business owners can take right now to prepare for retirement in my opinion.

A good start is by implementing the 10% rule which is a lot easier than you can comprehend. Achievable by simply setting up an auto-transfer system with your bank, that is automatically transferring 10% of all your earnings out of your business account into your savings account every month. Then you can place the accumulated fund into a low-risk investment at intervals and allow compounding interest to grow your fund.

This applies whether you are an entrepreneur or not. It is a simple trick to grow your wealth and support a retirement plan. Real estate investments can also help give succour in retirement, but professional guidance needs to be sought.

Another approach is to develop an exit strategy in your business, that is, have in mind right now what will happen to it when you retire, when you intend to eventually quit and set up strategies to guarantee retirement income. One other important factor to consider is what will happen to your business when you retire. Will you pass it on to family or sell the company to another business or owner? Will you have someone currently working for you take over?

A simple retirement model can give you a simple leeway, but you have to plan for it and stick to it. Because retirement age varies so drastically, small business owners need to evaluate their lifestyle, savings, and the company’s overall performance to determine an ideal retirement option.

In conclusion, a bit of research, adequate planning, and seeking advice can help with achievable retirement goals. A professional can also help streamline your business and help with the necessary details required to have a comfortable retirement. Good luck!

How may you obtain advice or further information on the article? 

Dr Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a PhD in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: drtimiolubiyi@gmail.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments.

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5 Ways to Get Your House Dinner Party Ready

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Dinner Party

If you’re having friends over for drinks or a dinner party, try some of these tips to get your home ready before guests arrive.

Tidy up fast

If guests are simply popping in for drinks or having a quick meal, don’t worry about tidying up every nook and cranny. Just make sure the main areas that they’ll see and be moving around in, like the sitting room, kitchen and bathrooms, for example, are clean and neat. Declutter living spaces like the sitting room. Bookshelves are often the messy-looking clutter culprits, housing all kinds of knick-knacks and photos which somehow found their way to be among the books. Next, turn your attention to any other shelves, windowsills or table tops that need a quick clear out, so that the room feels clean and comfortable.

A time hack if you’ve had little, to no advance notice that guests are unexpectedly about to arrive, is to do a quick whip-around and tidy up by popping anything you don’t want on show into a laundry basket that you can hide in the cupboard. It may not be the most elegant solution, but it’s a fast one!

Sparkly clean 

You may not have noticed the accumulation of kids’ fingerprints on the walls, pet stains on the carpet and stubborn grimy marks in the oven. Now that you’re looking at your house through a guest’s eyes, the need to freshen things up suddenly takes top priority. Start off by making sure the area outside your front door is tidy and clean. Next, dust off all hanging lights, like pendants and chandeliers, and wipe light switches clean. In the kitchen, stack groceries neatly inside cupboards and wipe your oven interior down, just in case guests decide to come through to the kitchen to offer a helping hand.

If you really can’t afford any time to do these chores, be thankful that you live in the digital age. Save yourself major stress by hiring an efficient, trustworthy cleaner from SweepSouth Connect to get the house sparkly clean, or help with time-intensive things like windows, cabinets, the fridge and oven.

Decor hacks 

Try these quick decorating tips to create a dinner-party feel fast:

Your entrance area: Set the mood for guests as they walk in by placing a scented candle close to your front door. If you have a console table, turn it into the star of the show with a quick, but stunning display of different sized glass vases filled with flowers. For a party feel, lay a row of sparkly fairy lights on top for instant night-time glitz. 

Sitting room: Dress up your home with faux fur cushions and sumptuous fabric throws over the backs of couches. Next, find a corner where you can create a statement, and put a cake stand on top of a small table, adorned with tea-light candles and dainty flowers. 

Gorgeous little touches

Try these style ideas for instant effect:

  • Style your table in a flash. Raid your garden for some green foliage, slip it into napkin rings with crisp white serviettes, and put a name place card on top – easy!

  • Crafty? Place flowers on your table that you’ve given a light spray of craft glue to, then dip these into glitter.

  • Tie sprigs of greenery to the backs of chairs with a pretty ribbon. 

Time for treats

Easy entertaining tips for added glamour: 

  • Welcome hungry guests by readying a plate of little snacks on a console table as they arrive.

  • Serve your drinks from a silver or golden tray for a smart, glamorous touch. Tie coloured ribbons to the bottom of Champagne flutes – it will help guests keep track of their glasses.

  • Who doesn’t love an easy-to-create cheeseboard? Laying out the ingredients is simple and you can buy them ahead to store in the fridge for days. Wow guests with a variety of at least three different cheeses. A safe choice would be a rich blue cheese, a hard cheese (like an aged Gouda) and a creamy Brie or Camembert. Where there’s space on the board, pop in crackers, grapes, and nuts, and you have a cheese board that’s all-out fantastic.

Remember that a warm welcome and loving atmosphere will trump all else. Regardless of how prepared you are, or how much you have to offer guests, just put on a great playlist to set the mood, then relax and relish the evening.

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Diversifying into Foreign Assets – All You Need to Know

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Diversifying into Foreign Assets

By FBNQuest

Many Nigerian investors may think that investing in a foreign currency asset is an exotic venture for ultra-high-net-worth investors. On the contrary, diversifying into foreign currency assets may be easier than you think and offers both short-term and long-term benefits.

Over the past few years, a growing number of savvy investors are putting their money into vehicles that offer exposure to low-risk dollar assets. This allows them to better manage the currency risk associated with a volatile exchange rate. They are doing this by investing in instruments like Eurobonds.

Eurobonds are debt instruments that are denominated in a currency, such as the US dollar, other than the home currency of the country or market in which it is issued. Nigeria’s federal government and several companies have issued Eurobonds that are currently traded on international financial markets.

Though the Eurobond market was previously dominated by investors from large banks and financial institutions, it has now become more accessible to everyone. Individuals are able to invest in Eurobonds directly or indirectly by investing in mutual funds created for this purpose.

Among the main benefits of investing in Eurobonds is the diversification of your investment portfolio. It is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, it is better to spread your investments across several asset classes or issuers.

In addition to the returns that you could potentially make from the investment, you also benefit from the protection against a possible depreciation of the naira relative to the US dollar. If the naira depreciates against the dollar, then the return that you make on your investment in a Eurobond actually increases in naira terms.

Investing in a Eurobond is a relatively medium-risk investment option for those seeking exposure to assets denominated in foreign currency. Eurobonds offer fixed coupons or interest payments. The return on the investment is, therefore, more predictable. What you can make from a Eurobond also beats the interest that you will earn in most dollar domiciliary accounts in Nigeria.

Consider the FBN Dollar Fund offered by FBNQuest. It is a medium to a long-term investment fund that provides income and capital appreciation by investing in US dollar-denominated instruments issued by the Nigerian government and reputable corporate institutions. It is well suited for and adaptable to any investor type. The Fund offers attractive returns, safety, and liquidity to investors.

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