ABAT’s (Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu aka Jagaban) eye for talent, skill and other human capital components is probably unmatched by any politician in Nigeria’s present political climate. Asiwaju is of the older generation, and is adored and loved by 2 to 3 generations behind him. Why? He has the unique genius for identifying talents, putting them in charge of duties and roles that match their aptitudes, giving them wide expression in their fields and workplaces and mentoring them to grow into leaders of consequence who deliver desired results.
Those in their sixties are carried along as peers, those in their 50s are taken along and groomed as future leaders, while being given leadership roles and responsibilities to work with, and those in their 40s and below are given special attention and space to express their skills and talents, as they align with their natural callings. It is fast getting to the eyes and ears of the younger generation that even though Baba is no longer in the bloom of youth, he is the gardener who, over the years, has tended the best and brightest youthful blossoms in Nigeria’s political landscape. Even his unreasonable detractors have come to agree that he remains unmatched in the development of youths and their innate leadership talents. He finds them, he nurtures them and he places them in appropriate responsibilities where they ripen into future leaders. This is the secret behind the ever glowing warmth and support that ABAT continues to enjoy.
One of ABAT’s most chief characteristics is his reward system. Unlike other politicians of these climes, he rewards hard work, and awards due recognition to those that have shown dedication and loyalty to duty, especially youths. In ABAT’s book and in his camp, the monkey does not work only for the baboons to come and feast. If a youth does the work, a youth gets the reward. The facts point to this as the reason for Baba’s choice of Nigeria’s youngest Governor, Yahaya Bello, as the National Youth Coordinator of his presidential campaign.
ABAT embarked on a consolidation tour of all the Presidential aspirants under the APC, right after the primaries. Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was one of those he visited with at the time. Governor Bello had written a letter on the 9th of June, 2022 in which he congratulated ABAT on his victory. He also pledged, “as far as I am concerned all competitions within the APC ended yesterday at the Eagle Square with your emergence as our candidate for the 2023 Presidential election. The task that now lies ahead of us as loyal APC members is to support you to roundly and squarely defeat the opposition at all levels in the 2023 general elections and elect you to the Presidency. This is a task to which I am firmly committed with the full complement of the resources at my disposal, including a well fitted and functional Campaign Secretariat all of which I now place under your command.’
The Governor tells the story of how he reached out to the Asiwaju camp shortly after the primaries to request a convenient time for a courtesy call on the leader only to have Baba himself call back insisting that he would come to see Bello – which he did soon after. True to his word, ABAT paid a visit to Gov. Yahaya Bello to say thank you and the rest is history. Governor Bello promptly declared his support for ABAT at the meeting and immediately donated his campaign headquarters to the ABAT Presidential Campaign Council. ABAT responded to Gov. Bello, saying that “if the mood will reflect the day, I will spend the night here. I say thank you very much for donating a befitting office for us to continue to struggle.” ABAT further said that, “we will use our intellectual inquisitiveness to build a nation of sound minds and sound people, and elevate our people and extract them from poverty.”
In an earlier article titled ‘Osun Polls: Gov. Yahaya Bello’s vital warnings’, published on the 19th of July, 2022; I waxed that, “Gov. Yahaya Bello’s Presidential Campaign has had the opportunity of showcasing how youths can come together under one roof, with one voice, to drive a message that represents their yearnings and aspirations. Gov. Yahaya Bello who has been campaign DG for the APC in previous off season gubernatorial elections has delivered. People like him should be at the forefront of APC’s new and current battles.” This quality must have been underscored by ABAT’s eye for skill and potential. First ABAT ‘nabbed’ Festus Keyamo, SAN; PMB’s Campaign spokesperson and made him his own spokesperson. He then went for Gov. Simon Lalong, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum. This specifically balances the perceived religious bent of the Presidential ticket. Lalong is a unique rallying point for the North, especially the non Hausa-fulani tribes who may have felt slighted or left out of the ticket combination.
The headlines presenting ABAT’s appointment of Gov. Yahaya Bello as National Youth Coordinator, came in as one of the most definitive and strategic news yet, from the goings-on of the PCC (Presidential Campaign Council). To have a sitting governor, and erstwhile Presidential aspirant, come in as part of the PCC in that capacity is just spectacular. It further proves that ABAT is indeed a unifier, and has fast gone to work, on bringing together all the fabrics that make the APC garment.
Gov. Bello is a workhorse, full of all the energy of youthfulness, and the vibrancy of the much needed dynamism, and has proven track records in youth mobilisation which will be strategic for the ABAT campaigns. Gov. Yahaya will properly drive all the youth groups and youth movements that proliferate the support base of Asiwaju. Gone are the PDP days where 60 year olds are placed as youth coordinators, failing to connect with the youths and in giving them a sense of belonging. Gov. Yahaya is the best personality in APC’s profiles to lead the youths and represent their interests in the PCC and the new ABAT led APC government going forward.
One of the good things about ABAT is that as one thinks of a few ideas and moves that will help his campaigns, you wake up to him announcing them, or implementing them; as if you had a tete-a-tete with him, and offered your 2 cents to him. If I had been privileged to a 5-minute brief with ABAT before now, I would definitively have asked him to make sure he has Yahaya Bello as his National Youth Coordinator. But, as usual, Baba’s uncanny perception has read the situation right. This appointment can only be described as a masterstroke.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.