“People don’t hate oppression they just don’t like being oppressed“.
It’s no longer a secret that Kogi state governor Yahaya Bello is interested in contesting for Nigeria’s presidential seat in the 2023 general elections.
The number one citizen of Kogi State has always expressed his wishes to take over the affairs of the nation when President Muhammadu Buhari leaves the role in two years.
Bello’s ambition has been getting a lot of support in recent weeks, and he even claimed that Nigerians in the diaspora wants him to contest.
Given he’s young at just 46-years-old, Bello has also been seeking the support of prominent young Nigerians, notably from the entertainment industry and footballers, both past and present.
The Kogi State governor received some actors from the Nollywood industry a few weeks ago, while in March, he hosted former Super Eagles players.
It’s not a surprise to see some Nollywood actors flocking around the man because it’s all about the benjamins for them.
And for some of these ex-internationals, no one can blame them, given most of these players have been neglected by the government.
A verse in the country’s national anthem read: The labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain.
But that’s not true as the heroes are quickly forgotten. This week, Nigeria’s first gold medalist in the Olympics, Chioma Ajunwa, revealed she is yet to receive the house promised to her after winning gold in the long jump event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.
So it’s not a surprise to see former Super Eagles stars show public support for the Kogi state governor because they won’t go back empty-handed.
However, while it’s understandable, it’s hard to fathom the reason behind John Obi Mikel, Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo’s support for the Kogi state governor.
The three players visited Bello individually at his residence in Abuja last week. Mikel visited him first, and in his address, he said there’s no one better to lead the Nigerian youths than Bello.
“I would like to be there to support him, to be there by his side through this journey for him to achieve whatever he wants, which is for the betterment of Nigeria,” Mikel said.
“What better person to lead the youths than him because he has been doing all these good works, and that is why I am here to see whatever way I can come in.”
Kelechi Iheanacho followed suit-although his appearance, which looked like he was going to the beach, generated more attention than his show of support.
And on Monday, Odion Ighalo visited Bello, echoing Mikel’s comments. The former Manchester United striker urged other governors to emulate Bello’s leadership qualities.
While there’s no issue with these players showing their support for presidential aspirants because, after all, they are citizens of the country, declaring support publicly for Bello shows they are out of touch.
This is a governor owing Kogi state workers a backlog of salaries, yet he’s wasting the state resources to host these celebrities.
Given Mikel, Ighalo and Iheanacho all had humble beginnings, they should know better than to support a governor who is a member of the ruling party in the country.
The poverty level is at an all-time low in Nigeria, while things are not looking good for the country’s economy, with food prices at an all-time high.
Yet, these players feel it’s right to support a governor who is part of the administration that has put the country in this sorry state.
As stated earlier, it’s understandable if Nollywood actors and some of the former internationals support Bello because of what they stand to gain. Still, for Mikel, Ighalo and Iheanacho, there’s no reason for them to follow the same path.
These are players that earn millions already in a week, which means money cannot be the motivation. But again, there’s this saying that says, “too much money is not enough money.”
It’s also surprising that Ighalo has decided to support a governor who is part of the same administration he called out during the End Sars protest.
Ighalo’s video after Man Utd’s win over PSG in Paris trended worldwide and brought more media attention to the protest, which showed the influence these players have.
These players should understand their actions influence a lot of people and should think twice before declaring support for anyone.
However, if there’s anything learnt from their latest actions, it is that they are out of touch and only care about themselves.
They’ve shown that their mindset is not different from the average Nigerian, which is: “if it doesn’t affect me, it does not concern me.”
In the words of the great Zlatan: “All man for himself.”