His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, is the Governor of Kogi State, in the North Central Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria. Yahaya Bello is a prominent Nigerian entrepreneur with diverse and humongous investment interests across several sectors of Nigeria’s economy. Old friends agree that not only is he divinely blessed, but that he was blessed early. They testify that he became a billionaire early, and long before his foray into politics.
Those who know Yahaya Bello well will tell you how he was hurt by the underdevelopment of Nigeria, and his native Kogi in particular, especially how the roots of that underdevelopment was fertilized by the rampant corruption and arrogance of successive political elite and their public service and private sector collaborators. As a youth, he was pained no end by the suffering of the ordinary citizen and driven by radical ideas of a dream nation.
The foregoing, along with his belief in Muhammadu Buhari as the Change Agent for Nigeria, motivated him into politics, an undertaking at which he has also proved very successful – like in everything else he has tried his hands.
Born on 18th June, 1975 in Agassa, Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State, he spent most of his early childhood in his native Kogi State during which period he completed his early education before leaving to earn secondary and tertiary education qualifications in Suleja, Niger State and Zaria, Kaduna State respectively.
His Excellency bagged an outstanding Bachelors Degree in Accounting and an MBA in Business Administration from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University in staccato fashion. He was mobilised along with his mates into the National Youth Service Corps for the mandatory 1-year National Youth Service Corps and posted to the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
During his service year, and determined to be an entrepreneur rather than a civil servant he launched the Fairplus Group which quickly blossomed into a thriving conglomerate over the next couple of years. However, at the end of his service year, the young Yahaya Bello had so distinguished himself at work that he was retained by the RMAFC and rewarded with full employment into the Commission. This shifted his full-time self-employment dreams for a while.
Alhaji Yahaya Bello refused to rest on his laurels, studied hard and became a Chartered Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) in 2004 while continuing to excel at work. He earned rapid promotions through Revenue Officer, Revenue Officer II, Accountant and then Head of Department at his employer’s Zonal Office in Makurdi, Benue State.
Yahaya Bello’s serious work ethics and dedication catapulted him through the ranks at a relatively young age into the commanding heights of a Civil Service career. Before long he was promoted Assistant Chief Accountant of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) of Nigeria.
Yahaya Bello, who had become a consistent and skillful investor in Nigerian securities in addition to the successes of his Fairplus Group rode the stock boom of the early 2000s and grew his nest egg into substantial wealth. He distinguished himself as a good judge of market and business trends and reinvested his money in real estate, transportation and other profitable sectors. In what must be a case study for serious investors, he grew a diversified portfolio which helped him to avoid the worse of the global economic meltdown of 2007-2008.
The economic meltdown was a turning point which reminded Yahaya Bello of his passion for private business and enterprise. Ever restless for fresh opportunities, he took the bold step of voluntary resignation from the Civil Service, and became a full-time entrepreneur. As the MD/CEO of a burgeoning conglomerate, he made numerous successful investments in the years following, considerably enlarging his net worth.
His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello is the chairman and founder of the Kogi Youths Arise Group, the political action group with which he prosecuted his campaign for Office in 2015. At first it was to mobilize young persons in Kogi State for increased roles in leadership and governance but it soon morphed into a tsunami of political action which helped him get elected as the youngest state Governor in Nigeria in 2015.
The group’s twin tenets of ‘not too young to run’ and a ‘New Direction Agenda’ encapsulates the Governor’s passion for youth to get involved in politics and to try out fresh, if controversial ideas, in Office. His New Direction Blueprint purposely weaponises the Sustainable Development Goals and laser-guides them to attack the systemic poverty endemic in his state using the UN/Oxford Multidimensional Poverty Indices. It is the first time a Nigerian subnational Government will be showing such
For his sterling successes in governance, Governor Yahaya Bello is the recipient of many awards from prestigious institutions, both within Nigeria and internationally. It is however a measure of His Excellency’s values that one of the most cherished is the first ever Inspector-General of Police Award for Excellence In Security Governance. It was an award bestowed exclusively on him by Nigeria’s then top cop for his Administration’s successes in turning Kogi State from the most insecure state in Nigeria outside of the North East, into the safest state in the country within two years of taking Office, according to data from the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) and other rating agencies.
His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is a leading performer in the Vision 2030 of the United Nations via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He has exceeded the 35% Affirmative Action for Gender Equity and Youth Inclusiveness. No wonder he is the recipient of the Most Gender Sensitive Governor Award from the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) which also invested him as the He-For-She Ambassador of Nigerian Women 2021. UN Women and AU ECOSOC have also issued him prestigious Commendations for his exemplary leadership in gender equity.
Governor Yahaya Bello is a committed party man and a matchless political operative who has delivered for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in every assignment handed to him by the National Executive Council (NEC). His Excellency played prominent roles in the APC’s electoral successes in Ondo, Anambra, Edo and Ekiti States. His Excellency is the Treasurer, Progressive Governors’ Forum.
Recently, His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was appointed Chairman of the Youth, Women and Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) Mobilisation and Sensitisation Committee for the APC Membership Registration and Revalidation Exercise, 2021. As all and every Nigerian can attest, Governor Yahaya Bello helped to attract millions of young to older people across the nation to the APC through a colourful and impactful drive during the exercise. Recently, while writing to the President as leader of the party, the national leadership of the APC acknowledged that Governor Bello’s work in this capacity was indeed a turning point for the party. They wrote:
‘(The) Youth, Women and People Living with Disabilities’ Sensitization and Mobilization Committee contributed tremendously to the success recorded in the nationwide membership registration/re-validation exercise’.
Yahaya Bello had proven his mettle once again.
Alhaji Yahaya Bello is a philanthropist who, long before he ventured into politics, was already deploying his personal funds to run three orphanage homes while sponsoring scores of undergraduate and postgraduate students in various higher institutions within and outside Nigeria. He is still neck-deep in philanthropy to this day.
Yahaya Adoza Bello is a devout Muslim who is happily married with children. His hobbies include reading and travelling, although he has fully sacrificed the later in order to sit at home and focus on the job of governing his state and people. In the 6 years he has led Kogi State, he has only travelled out of the country twice – both time on assignment with or for the President.
It goes without saying that in Nigeria’s leadership space today, Yahaya Bello is the undisputed front-runner in security, affirmative action, youth inclusivity, unity and diversity. He is the bridge-builder who has stepped in to restore peace and unity to the nation when crisis loomed large. For example, during the face-off between Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria caused by the Shasha Market crises and subsequent blockade of food shipments to the South, Governor Yahaya Bello brokered a peace deal which not only caused trade to resume normally but also stopped planned reprisal attacks against southerners in the north.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is popularly known in the media as ‘The White Lion’ and ‘The Stormy Petrel’ of Nigeria’s current political dispensation. The former salutes his strength of character and untainted reputation while the latter references his penchant to confront and ride out storms, unafraid. And to his teeming supporters across Nigeria, His Excellency is, by the grace of Almighty God, is a man for today and for tomorrow.