By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Youths across Nigeria on Saturday showed support for the candidacy of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for the 2023 presidential election.
It was a simultaneous gathering of crowds of youths in over 23 states, across the six geo-political zones of the federation, in a show of force, tagged, “Nationwide Capacity Rally for Yahaya Bello”. Participants chanted solidarity songs while carrying various placards in support of Bello from as early as 9 am in all the locations.
The youths, who said they had mobilised over 16 million active holders of Permanent Voter’s Cards to actualise a Yahaya Bello presidency come 2023, noted that the nationwide capacity rally was to demonstrate that they meant business and would go all out for their own in the forthcoming elections.
Governor Bello, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has been a frontliner in the area of youth and women mobilisation as well as a strong media presence in the ongoing presidential race.
The National Coordinator of the groups, under the umbrella of Rescue Nigeria Mission, Abdullahi Shuaibu Damat, who was present at the Federal Capital Territory rally, said the youths were already thinking beyond the primary elections of the major parties in their quest for Yahaya Bello as President of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari.
Damat, who spoke at the Unity Fountain venue of the Abuja rally, said the youths have seized their future in their own hands and have resolved to shun money politics and heightened determination to participate actively in the forthcoming election.
“If you have your colleagues everywhere in the nation – Bauchi, Sokoto, Oyo, Kwara, Anambra, Katsina, Kano, Gombe, South-South and all across the country, ask them about the kind of crowd they have seen today, simultaneously, in all the states.
“It has never happened before in Nigeria. This is what we mean by the phrase ‘it is youths o’ clock. We want to appeal to the stakeholders and leaders to choose the person that can deliver the election at this point in time. In Nigeria today, no politician comes close to the Yahaya Bello structure.”
In Nasarawa State, the meeting point was Kaura Plaza, along Jos road. The crowd walked to UBA junction and gathered at Total. In Jigawa, they gathered at a three-star hotel and matched from there through the streets.
In Oyo State, the crowd moved from ShopRite through Ringroad to Challenge, among others, while the Kwara rally started from Kwara State Stadium, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Ilorin, and moved through Post Office to other parts of the state.
Other states where the capacity rally held simultaneously were Sokoto, Kebbi, Gombe, Anambra, Cross River, Borno, Kogi, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau, Niger, Katsina, Bauchi, and Yobe, among others.