Yahaya Bello: Diagnosing Nigeria’s Trump

Yahaya Bello: Diagnosing Nigeria’s Trump
April 21
07:48 2021



I have not been at peace since about two weekends ago when a friend I had just met with one day earlier and we were drinking fan milk together at my place was trending on social media for pasting #BuhariMustGo posters. It was heartbreaking when I saw the energetic Emmanuel Larry and Anene Victor been paraded round the streets of Lokoja for protesting the failing Buhari Regime. Report has it that they were accosted by the armed convoy of the deputy governor of the state Edward Onoja while peacefully pasting those posters and then handed over to the police for more torture before the police handed them over back to the political thugs to be paraded round the city. In the video, the thugs were seen beating the two young Nigerians and justifying the assault with the excuse that Kogi people were for Buhari and for that those young Nigerians were made to EAT the posters on camera. Till now, the victims are still summarily held in jail.

One would expect that the leader of that state which that atrocity was committed in its name would rise to the occasion and condemn such barbarism, but we would be dreaming to expect such of Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State. Popular for his narcissistic grandiosity, Yahaya Bello has earned himself a place on the side of President Donald Trump in human history.

Just like Donald Trump frequent bragging about how he’s a tough guy, especially in the aspect of physical toughness, Yahaya Bello once posed like a fighter for the camera as a governor, throwing literal punches into the thin air across newspaper pages. This was to show his political opponents that he was a tough guy. This is how narcissists like to portray themselves, as tough people. They will perpetrate any level of violence just to look tough. The current victimization of these revolutionary youths that have been thrown in jail by the Kogi State government is to look tough on Anti-Buhari dissent. This is the reason for the continual mention of intolerance of anti-Buhari protests in Kogi by the assailants in that video. Yahaya Bello is a leader that wants to look tough and that is never good for democracy. Leaders should see themselves as examples of how people should connect to one another with love, with happiness, and with reason – those are the greatest motivations of courage.


Just like Donald Trump who puts his name on every property possible, Yahaya Bello seems not to be able to stand one moment where his name are not plastered on large banners across Kogi State and beyond. If he is not hanging banners to lick Buhari’s ass, he’s contesting for the next election. In all cases, his picture will gaze at you largely form the banners. Passing through Kogi state to Abuja from the South west, you’ll come across accidents due to less safer roads and Yahaya Bello’s name everywhere, even on the city’s popular higher institution’s security post named after his Excellency the Narcissist. This is despite non-payment of salaries of workers across the same state, and the continual commercialization of the same education institutions. Yahaya Bello’s motivation as a leader is not to inspire others or make any meaningful change. His only drive is to project his name. He’d rather spend the evening with celebrity bar men to popularize his presidential ambition than implement an actual project in his state.

Yahaya Bello also copies Trump’s approach to getting results. Just like Trump who relies on his Art of The Deal, Yahaya Bello has relied on being loyal to the powerful to stay in power – an approach that is the direct opposite of a democratic approach to power. From manipulating a legal dilemma after the death of the democratic winner of an election to become an handpicked governor, to working his reelection victory with total violence which included burning a female opposition leader along with her house, to expressing total loyalty to the Buhari regime with the hope of being handpicked by the president as his successor, he rises through deals and selections, not elections. To Yahaya Bello, scapegoating Larry and Victor is more important than coming up with a detailed manifesto for the 2023 elections. He wants to make a deal around his presidential ambition with the loyalty he has shown to Buhari by withdrawing the freedom of these young lads.

The United States of America suffered for four years for ‘electing’ a megalomaniac narcissist as the president. A president with a mental disorder (that’s unattended to) will definitely re-create that disorder on a larger scale in the country they lead. Nigeria is in chaos, and Yahaya Bello 2023 presidential ambition is going to add fuel to that fire. His emergence would seal the slide of Nigeria into civilian dictatorship, and we can avoid that by starting with protests against the Dictatorial Buhari regime he plans to succeed. It is with respect to the victimization of these young lads that Nigerian youths must rise till the Buhari dictatorship is ousted in a revolutionary uprising.


Omole Ibukun writes from Abuja, Nigeria


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