NASIRU Usman Bello
Nasiru Usman Bello is a brilliant energetic young banker in his early 40s with a zeal to serve his people.
In this interview, the son of a renowned politician from Kogi State Central Senatorial District bares his mind on variety of issues as well as his preparedness to represent his people at the Lower Chambers of the National Assembly as the time counts. Below is the excerpt
Arewa Trust: Briefly tell us about yourself.
Nasiru Usman Bello: Thank you very much. I am Nasiru Usman Bello, an indigene of Okene LGA of Kogi State. I was born on the 7th of December 1974 into the family of Alhaji Ambassador Usman Bello and Hajiya Zainab Bello, from Okene and Adavi LGAs respectively.
I began my primary education in 1979 at the Bayero University staff Primary school, Kano. Thereafter I proceeded to Federal Government College, Kano in 1985 for my Secondary Education. After my Secondary Education in 1991, I gained admission into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1992 where I studied Business Administration. I graduated in 1998 and was posted to Kano for my National Youth Service, I did my primary assignment at the then African International Bank in the year 1999/2000. Upon completion of my NYSC in the year 2000, I joined the services of the Bank of the North where I was employed as an Officer and got promoted to Supervisor within two years due to my hard work and dedication. In 2004, I left the services of the Bank of the North and joined Intercontinental Bank as an Assistant Banking Officer. I worked in Katsina and Gombe States. Thereafter, I left for Guaranty Trust Bank in 2005 where I worked for 10 years, I rose to the position of Deputy Manager there. I then joined the services of Access Bank in January 2015 and this is where I am till date as Manager. During my Banking career, I was able to acquire an MBA and Masters in Developmental Studies MDS, both from Bayero University Kano. I am happily married with four children.
Arewa Trust: We understand you are into politics now. What prompted you to join politics?
Nasiru Usman Bello: Well, it’s popular knowledge that, man is a political animal. So, in one way or the other, everyone is a politician. I have been following politics in Nigeria particularly that of Kogi State where I come from for a very long time. My father , Amb. Usman Bello is a seasoned politician who has in times past contested for political positions. He contested for the governorship position in 1998/99 in Kogi state, although he didn’t win, he pulled a considerable number of votes and won the hearts of many. In appreciation for his political doggedness, he was then appointed as Ambassador to the Republic of Sudan. Also my maternal Uncle Alh Ahmadu Alhassan popularity known as Teacher Alhassan is well known as one of the God fathers of Adavi politics and Kogi state as a whole.
I’ll like to say that I come from a political background. It is then natural that at some point someone is inclined to give political position a shot. Having followed the activities of my father and other political mentors, I feel I have what it takes to deliver dividends of democracy to my people.
I would like to reinvigorate the political discourse of my State and change the negative tide of politics played.
Arewa Trust: Are you coming into politics to ride on the political fortune of your father?
Nasiru Usman Bello: Well, that is one thing but my father has left his own legacy and it is time for me to chart my own course. Of course, the legacy he left is a very good and excellent one. He has created a kind of platform to consolidate and work on and move higher. Nevertheless, coming out to serve is borne out of my personal conviction that I can make a difference coupled with the fact that my people, friends , family and well-wishers in view of my character have urged and convinced me to come out and vie for a political office. For the past eight(8) years, my people have been urging me to come and represent them, but I declined because I want to groom myself in preparedness for the task; now I am ready to heed their call. Although I am still testing the waters of politics and also consulting because politics involves a wide range of consultation and understanding. We are making consultations, talking to political leaders, Royal Fathers, community leaders, religious leaders etc. so that at the end of the day, we should be able to weigh the entire project and our options. I believe we are on the right track and God willing we shall be successful.
Arewa Trust: You want to represent your people from the Kogi Central at the National level, how do you want to represent them?
Nasiru Usman Bello: For clarity purpose, I want to represent the good people of Okene/Ogori Magongo constituency, which comprises two Local Governments in Kogi state. It is termed a Federal constituency and I am willing to represent that constituency at the lower chambers, that is, the Federal House of Representatives.
On how I want to represent them, I will give quality representation with confidence and work hard to bring to my people, development, peace and tranquility. I want to break the jinx of lukewarm representation and create a vibrant outlook for the office. I will like to be a symbol for the Youths in good leadership.
Arewa Trust: What specific quality do you think you possess to be considered as the preferred candidate by the people?
Nasiru Usman Bello: At the risk of sounding immodest I’ll like to say that if you have gone through many articles written about me by organisations,friends and well-wishers, from the accolades, you will know the kind of person I am and the character I possess. Throughout my life, I have been Philanthropic and I have the passion for the well-being of my people at heart. I am a man of the people because I hate to see people hurt or suffering. I also believe that my
people have suffered too long that one can no longer keep quiet and pretend all is well. Remember that evil thrives when good men do nothing. I think the time of sitting down, criticizing and talking on social media is over and if one wants to make the difference, you have to follow through the process and get there to make the difference. You cannot make the difference by being an arm chair critic. You have to participate in the entire process of politics by getting to your people from the grassroots, leadership and mobilize people, bring out your plans and mission, and sell it to the people before one is elected to represent them. This is the plan I have, which is the reason I am offering my humble self for the coveted position.
Arewa Trust: Can you briefly state your manifestos please.
Nasiru Usman Bello: wherever I go, I have three core areas that I believe I can make a huge difference. One, empowering our women. We all know the plight of our women today. I am out to help alleviate the sufferings of most of our women especially the widows, traders and the less privileged among them. Two, our Youths, it is no longer news that our youths are leaving school and going into cultism, stealing, kidnapping and other vices, unemployment is on the rise, and many of our youths have completely lost focus which require serious attention and check. I will do my best to turn the tide of things and right the wrongs in our Youth and empower them. Finally, I will sponsor bills and lobby the right channels towards getting attractive projects from the Federal Government for my constituency. My people are suffering from good drinking water in Okene and Ogori Magongo. We have the Ekuku dam which have redundant due to lack of attention. It is my strong belief that if all of us that will be representing the central senatorial district led by whoever will emerge as Senator, all the remaining House Members, we can come together as a team and present our case to the Federal Government, I am sure, we will be able to get a good project for our constituency particularly on the issue of portable drinking water. These are basically the three areas, which I believe i can make a big difference if given the opportunity to serve.
Arewa Trust: In these areas you have mentioned to help your people, do you think so far somebody has not done something about them?
Nasiru Usman Bello: Well, from indications it is an eyesore that previous efforts at helping the people have not made much impact due to misplacement of priorities. What some people tag as empowerment is more like “giving of meagre assistance” in the form of food and services. That is not empowerment at all. What we are saying is that the constituency allowances are the entitlement of the citizens and should be given to them. We know what it entails or involves. The empowerment we are talking about should be something huge that can make the difference we desire. You cannot give somebody ten thousand naira only and you expect any meaningful difference and tagging it empowerment…. No. What I think should be done is to empower and train constituents on what they want to do by giving them huge resources in terms of soft loan that is interest free so that when they utilize this money, it will help them a lot. As an expert in the field of managing money and resources I will do the needful for my people to be genuinely empowered through training, giving of soft loans and monitoring the pace of utilization of such loan. If this is done judiciously as I’ve promised to, I’m positive that within a short period, i would have empowered a large number of people to be self-reliant. They are entitled to it and these are the things that have not been done and we want to do. These are the concerns that I have.
Arewa Trust: Who is your mentor in politics?
Nasiru Usman Bello: Obviously, it is my father, Alhaji Ambassador Usman Bello. He has done politics without bitterness and violence. I remember those days when he was vying for governorship position, they would say to him that he has to get guns because his oppositions are getting guns, machetes, knives and what have you. My father would reply them that “I have children and if I give money to anyone to buy guns and fight for me, what becomes of my children tomorrow? No, I will not do that. I would rather work hard and fail in an election than to allow the spill of blood and destruction to pave me victory in an election. It is not my way and it is not my brand and I would never subscribe to it.” He has been my mentor because I believe in his idea of politics without bitterness. It shouldn’t be a do or die affair. I am going to follow his footsteps and practice politics without bitterness or violence.
Arewa Trust: Do you think you have any challenger even though you are still consulting?
Nasiru Usman Bello: In politics, you have to weigh your strength, weaknesses and opportunities. You need to know who and what are your threats. For now, we are only trying to get the structure in place and make consultations. However, I have heard one or two persons, though unconfirmed, who have also signified their interest, but I know with time, more aspirants are likely to come out, which to me is normal and healthy for democracy. The people want young, educated, hardworking and energetic people to represent them. They want new blood injected into the system. So, we encourage more of such calibre of people to come out and participate in politics. Governor Yahaya Bello for instance, is a mentor to the youths, because at such age of his, he was able to join politics to make the difference. Such feat has served as an encouragement to the youths to come out and participate in politics. I wish to encourage the youths to come together to take our future and our place from the hands of unwanted and undeserving elements.
Arewa Trust: As a young man coming to represent his people, what is your political platform?
Nasiru Usman Bello: There are so much uncertainty at present and we are watching closely and consulting. At the end of the day, we shall come out with the political party we wish to align ourselves with. But for now, we are still discussing with leaders of thoughts and of all political parties. What we believe in is unity and sincerity of purpose. Once there is unity among us, there will be no problem in coming out with a political party to align ourselves with.
Arewa Trust: Can you briefly assess the performance of the state government so far led by Governor Yahaya Bello?
Nasiru Usman Bello: You know when this present State Government administration came into being, it inherited a lot of problems. From over bloated salary and wages to ghost workers and lack of internal generated revenue and not so much was coming from the Federal Government . There was also insecurity and the kidnapping menace. The state governor , His Excellency Alh. Yahaya Adoza Bello needed time to sit down, take stock of what went wrong and try to have a master plan of where he wants to take the state to and the kind of niche he wants to carve for himself. So far so good. I don’t think he has done badly. At least, he has successfully gotten rid of the ghost workers. Salaries are still being paid even though I have heard some people complain that the state government is owing months of salaries, perhaps the ghost workers are expecting salaries too (laughs) Be that as it may, we know that he is trying his best for the state. The internal revenue generation for the state has greatly improved and this is a kudos to his Excellency. On infrastructural and urban/rural development, some road network has been touched across the 3 senatorial districts, prominent among them include the Agasa-Upogoro road and some parts of the GRA Okene road. Quite a number of roads in Ogori Magongo area have been put in place. Therefore in terms of road construction and rehabilitation, the governor has done well and we should also give him Kudos for that. Lokoja is now wearing a new look as it has seen the erection of new structures, street and traffic lights. Lokoja is becoming neater and more of a city. This is another achievement of His Excellency. He has also succeeded in ridding the state of kidnapping menace as we all witnessed how their den were raided, arrested quite a number of them and their hideouts destroyed. I think the major area I would like him to concentrate on now is revamping the Educational sector. I believe the government is working very hard on it and schools on strike are bouncing back to resume academic activities. He also needs to attract FDI to the state particularly in Agriculture for example the FG is looking at supplying Walmart in the US cashew nuts worth around $7bn and we have these nuts in abundance especially in the east, the Chinese are looking for cassava chips all around and we have arable land that can supply whatever quality they may require. The river Niger dredging Is another area I believe should be looked into by getting countries like Singapore to seat with Government to dredge and build a befitting seaport in Lokoja in order to take the stress of Lagos ports especially for goods coming to the north. So in a nutshell, I believe that the governor has done relatively well though it is too early to make an overall assessment. He has just clocked a year and half and by the time he adds another year to the present, people will appreciate his achievements. It is then that people will know whether they have benefited from the dividends of democracy or not.
Arewa Trust. How can you assess the Buhari Administration so far?
Nasiru Usman Bello: Well, remember when the current administration of President Buhari came on board, he promised to work on 3 critical areas that was of utmost importance to the country which are security, corruption and economy. On security, I believe he has done extremely well as the BH menace have been curtailed into pockets of suicide bombings unlike under the former administration where they were in control of quite a number of Local Governments in the North East as well as frequent attacks in Kano, Kaduna in the Northwest and even the Federal Capital. So we can confidently conclude that he has done wonderfully well on security. On corruption, he is trying his best as we are witnessing what we have never witnessed before. Monies are been recovered, convictions are been made though not as fast as we expect while many cases are still in the courts. At least people are beginning to seat up and as the president said “people should not be afraid of him but should be afraid of the consequences of their actions” So on corruption, I believe they are on the right track though corruption is naturally expected to fight back which is currently a big challenge to this administration. On the economy, I believe this is where they have their biggest challenge as the price of oil which is our main source of revenue has reduced drastically and as a result affected their ability to inject funds to areas they are most needed, also majority of states can’t pay salaries talk less of embarking on projects that are far reaching. Despite this challenge, he has been able to bail out quite a number of states as well as pay to states the over deductions from the Paris club debts just to aid the states to pay salaries. Also, for the first time, we have a huge amount of our budget voted for capital expenditure which should aid the country to develop at a faster rate. They are also trying to diversify the economy from Oil to other viable areas like Agriculture and the development of our mineral resources which are in abundance in the country especially in my dear Kogi State. So I believe they are doing the right thing towards the growth of our economy. Finally ,I will like to pray for the health of the president and wish him speedy recovery to enable him continue the good works he has started for the country.
Arewa Trust: What is your take on the calls for secession from some youths of a particular region? And what do you make of restructuring?
Nasiru Usman Bello: My answer to these calls has been the same and it is that the Unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. God has reason(s) for bringing us together and it’s only through love, tolerance and understanding that we can sail the Nigerian ship to the Nigerian dream.
On calls to restructure Nigeria, I dare to say that we are not ripe for restructuring the country, but before we restructure Nigeria, we have to also restructure our minds.
If we do the right things, we will get the right results. we should concentrate on balancing the economy, strengthen our boundaries, consolidate our unity and reach a climax in sustainable peace in the country, then we can restructure appropriately.
Arewa Trust: As you know, it is a fact that politicians like your type have been voted to power. But once they have the power, they alienate the people that elected them. Are you sure you are not going to be one of such politicians?
Nasiru Usman Bello: It is now a celebrated fact that election time is now a” money making time” by most of our people who believe their votes are for sale, they mortgage their Conscience and future for a few Naira notes hence when some petty politicians are elected into power, they instead of focusing on the people and the development of their domains, they try to recoup monies spent during the pre-election campaigns .This is not the kind of politics I want to play. I want to maintain track record as an incorruptible gentleman. I will never use violence nor buy people’s votes. I will want the constituents to see me as an incorruptible politician who will Worthily represent and make them proud.
On this note I want to appeal to the youths and all eligible voters to rise up and support a true aspirant instead of one who will come and pay them peanuts now and forget about them tomorrow. This is our plan and many organizations and groups (on and off social media) are very happy about our stand against money politics.
Arewa Trust: What specific message do you want to send across to your people to show to them that indeed they are getting the right choice now?
Nasiru Usman Bello: I want to assure you that very soon, we shall be rolling out our manifestos officially so that people will know the kind of leadership to expect from me. I have earlier mentioned some of the key areas as women empowerment, youth empowerment as well as liaise with the Federal Government to lobby in laudable projects to our constituency, projects that will be beneficial to our people. These are the three cardinal objectives I’m bringing forth to the table if elected. As time goes on, we shall bring out our blue print. The good thing however is that we are bringing very intelligent and energetic youths on board to brainstorm, because it is not all about me. Our blue print shall (hopefully)be acceptable to the good people of Kogi Central Senatorial District and indeed my Constituency covering Okene/Ogori Magongo.
Arewa Trust: It is a pleasure talking with Arewa Trust Newspaper. We wish you the best of luck as you join the new breed politicians. Thank you sir.
Nasiru Usman Bello: Thank you for having me.