Thousands of women across Nigeria trooped out on the streets of Umuahia, Abia State capital, for a solidarity walk in support of the Presidential bid of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, who they insisted they would back with their numbers to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
The walk was tagged “One Million Women March for Yahaya Bello 2”.
The women, who are members of over 700 groups across the six geo-political zones of the country, and across key sectors, including Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, religious, professional bodies, women in media, politics, Nollywood, market women, as well as top women entrepreneurs, among others, gathered under the umbrella of Women United for Yahaya Bello (WUYABEL).
They noted that Bello had demonstrated enough capacity in key areas of governance to make him the best for the job, adding that he was the only Governor in Nigeria that had given women the right voice in governance.
They defied the scorching sun and walked through the streets of Umuahia, singing solidarity songs, while some of them held placards with various inscriptions such as “If Yahaya Bello can do it in Kogi, he can do it for Nigeria”, “Yahaya Bello is our choice”, and Yahaya Bello, our hero”, among others.
After the solidarity walk, the women gathered at the Abia Hotel field for a rally and gave the Kogi Governor the assurance of their support, promising to mobilise heavily for his victory in the 2023 elections.
Vice President, Nigerian Women Arise for Nigeria (NIWAFON), South-East, Mrs. Josephine Orauno, who represented the Global President, Dr. Hannatu Adeeko, said women were more united now than ever to ensure they support that one Governor who had shown to the others the real worth of women in governance.
“That Governor is Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello. This is the reason we are gathered here to let him know that he has the strong support of South East women, and indeed, the women of Nigeria, to go for the higher assignment of presidency. I was not actively involved in election processes before, but this time, we will go all out for Yahaya Bello.
“I’ve heard people saying some of these things are stage-managed. They should wait and see if it is organic or not. With what we would do for Yahaya Bello, I mean the Nigerian women, other Governors and leaders will no longer joke with the issue of giving women what they deserve,” she maintained.
Ogechi Obilonu, popular Nollywood actress, who led other South East Nollywood female stars, including Phil Daniels, Amaka Offor, and Faith Ononiwu, among others to the rally, said she had heard a lot about the Kogi Governor and urged women to support him in return for his belief in women.
“Anyone who supports us, we will support. His giant strides in Kogi is because he has intelligent women in the right places. He can repeat the same at the national level,” she said.
Zonal Woman Leader, South East, of the All Progressives Congress, Lolo Josephine Chukwu, who also led other party women in the zone to the rally, agreed with all the speakers, urging Nigerian women to rally round Governor Bello.
The Governor of Kogi State is a leading contender for the office of the President in 2023.