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Yahaya Bello officially joins presidential race

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KOGI State governor Yahaya Bello has officially declared his intention to run for president in the 2023 general elections.

He made this known at an event held in Abuja on Saturday.

“Dear friends and fellow patriots, I wish to declare my intention to run for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2023 general elections. I will be doing so under the auspices of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“I will be running on the broad political philosophy of progressive activism through social action and political reforms,” he said.

Bello promised to create more millionaires in the country if he emerged as president.

“The Buhari administration has a target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. In the Yahaya Bello administration, we have an additional target of creating at least twenty million naira (sic) millionaires by the same year,” he said.

Bello had hinted at his intention to run for president in 2021.

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“Nigerians, the youth and women, including very objective elite, are asking me to run for president in 2023. My answer will be in affirmative in a short time from now,” he said.

Present at the declaration were former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, activist and founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Hafsat Abiola Castello, among other supporters.

While delivering his speech, Bello declared himself as courageous, and physically and mentally fit to occupy the presidential position and said he was encouraged to run by his performance in Kogi State.

“I invite Nigerians to assess my suitability on the scorecard of my performance,” he said.

Despite Bello’s high rating of his administration, workers in Kogi had threatened to go on an indefinite strike over non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage by the state government and non-payment of salaries.

Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state Onuh Edoka said Bello’s administration has not added value to workers in the state since its inception.

The state government subsequently released a statement saying it was up to date in the payment of salaries, claiming that the NLC chairman, Edoka, had confirmed it.

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But last week, the NLC responded, accusing the government of deliberately attempting to confuse workers and insisting that no salaries had been paid.

In 2019, workers had also decried the non-payment of salaries in Kogi State, noting that they are being owed for periods between eight and 39 months.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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