Born on 2nd May, 1985 in Jattu, Edo State. Mrs. Rashida Bello started her academic pursuit, she completed her primary education with a first school leaving certificate. A brilliant pretty young lady attended considerably one of the best secondary schools at that time and successfully obtained a West African School Certificate (WAEC).
Mrs. Rashida Bello having successfully made a remarkable progress in her early education was inspired by this effort to aspire for higher education. She obtained a degree of Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Abuja. After her graduation, she was mobilized and participated in the one year mandatory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC). She was an Executive Director in Fairplus International Ltd.
Mrs. Rashida Bello nee Imodagbe, married her first love, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, a young Chartered Accountant from Agassa in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State who was a seasoned civil servant who diligently worked with Revenue Mobilization And Allocation Commission and a successful business entrepreneur.
In 2015, the very young Alhaji Bello contested governorship election, Kogites voted, and Almighty God elected him, he divinely won the election, he was declared the elected Executive Governor of Kogi State and the youngest Governor in Nigeria. He was sworn in and inaugurated as Executive Governor of Kogi State on the 27th January, 2016.
Hence, this development conferred a lot of responsibility on Mrs. Rashida Bello who began to play a leadership role as adviser, friend, mother, wife of her young husband who was entrusted with so much constitutional expectation of being the Chief Security of the good people of Kogi State. She became prayerfully stronger, a pillar and complemented her husband’s effort by engaging humanitarian activities. She set up a Non-Governmental Organization, Kogi Women and Youth Advancement Foundation (KOWYAF) to provide interventionist measures towards assisting both the needy, less privileged, women, babies, youth and the men in the society.
As a destiny child, Mrs. Rashida Bello assumed office as the First Lady of Kogi State. On 12th March, 2016 she launched her NGO, whose vision is to empower women and youth, encourage the active poor to grow their micro business, drastically reduce mother/child mortality rate by enhancing the health sector through renovating and equipping Primary and Secondary Health Care Centres in Kogi State.
Mrs. Rashida Bello has trained skilled women on how to grow micro business, how to relate with their customers, business ethics and etiquette, how to save and how to form corporative societies to enable them access micro loans from Microfinance Banks.
Mrs. Rashida Bello renovated & provided boreholes, medically equipped, donated drugs, generator sets, refrigerators etc Primary Health Care Centre in the three (3) senatorial zones of Kogi State. She visited orphanages where she spent quality time with the children at the homes. She also produced customized exercise books and donated to Primary and Secondary schools in the three (3) senatorial zones following the launch of her new project, DROP.
She is a devout moslem who relates cordially with Christians and others knowing so well that we serve the Almighty God. Her beauty and humility always stand her out. She is a style icon who loves travelling, singing and mentoring. A caring mother, a humble daughter to her parents. Her marriage to her darling husband, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Executive Governor of Kogi State is blessed with lovely children.
A few days ago, in her sprawling Abuja home, she told City People the story of her marriage to Gov. Bello and why she is so passionate about the needy. Excerpts.
Can you share with us how growing up was like for you?
We thank God. I was just like any other girl next door. It wasn’t like it was very rosy. I grew up in a middle class family where we were averagely okay. My parents were able to provide the basic necessities of life for us. I grew up with my parents and at a time, my grandmother and I did household chores like any girl would. I was taught all the necessary things a growing up girl should know.
As the First Lady of Kogi State, you are probably one of a few public figure with massive media coverage on social media because of your pet project, KOWYEF, why are you so passionate about the downtrodden?
Its simply about giving back to the society. Its also a major point in my husband’s new direction agenda that every Kogi citizen’s life is touched. I can also say that we are spectacular because my husband and I are young minds and as such, we should be able to do things differently from what it used to be.
What are your views on woman empowerment?
I don’t think there is need for competition. I am not an advocate for gender equality, men are the head of the house but I am for women empowerment and I can tell you that women are not lagging behind at all, just look around you, all over the world and you will find an answer. Women everywhere now hold very important positions. In Kogi State for instance, my message to the women is that of self reliance. My message to them each time is to see them move up the ladder of success.
A few weeks ago, you shocked Nigerians when you revealed that people with physical disabilities are being stigmatised adding that its high time Nigerians changed their attitude towards them
I am very passionate about people with special need. Most times, people stigmatise and avoid physical contact with them. People really don’t see the need in giving a helping hand to these people but I often dig deep by going to the grassroots to help them out.
How exactly do you help them out?
I set up a skill acquisition program for them so that they can acquire skills that will let them take care of themselves without being too reliant and at the mercy of the society at large. Also there is this school we are currently building in Lokoja for the physically challenged. I am making sure the school comes on board as soon as possible.
What is DROP that everyone in Kogi is presently talking about?
Well, its actually an initiative of KOWYEF. Its a direct reach out project to those that are disconnected from modern day living, those who really don’t have access to governance and dividends of democracy. DROP activities is 100% concentrated in the remote areas of Kogi State and not the city centre. We try to reach the remote villages with food items and basic necessities of life in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state and the 3 senatorial districts. The wives of the administrators of the different local governments have keyed into the project by making sure it reaches the people of their LG areas.
What kind of a person is your husband, Alhaji Yahaya Bello beyond what many people know of his public life
Trust me, he is a very wonderful person, God fearing, down to earth and soft-minded.
What gets him angry for instance?
Lies! Apart from that, he is your best friend. He is a very simple person. He loves people being honest.
How did you both meet and fall in love?
Marriage is from God. We were meant to be together and that is why it happened. We met at my University when I was an undergraduate, it was love at first sight and what attracted him to me was his very jovial nature, he loves to crack jokes. I was just 21 and we are 9 years in the marriage now.
What is the most cherished gift he has ever given you?
The lovely kids I have for him are certainly the most cherished gift. He showers me with love and affection so what more can I ask for.
You are a very stylish lady, what informs your style?
Style is looking good in what makes me comfortable. I normally don’t go with the trend but what makes me comfortable is what I flow with.
How did you become stylish?
I watch and read a lot of style magazines.