Compiled by Ralph Agbana.
The Representative Yagba West Needs in Kogi State House of Assembly in 2019 is a Young and Vibrant Youth Who Has a Vision, Says Aspirant, Barrister Oladimeji Oba Agbana
Cache “My appeal to our leaders and stakeholders of the PDP in Yagba West is to make sure the party picks a youth who has vision and is vibrant and that is what I represent. At 40 plus I see myself as a bridge between the youth and the old”
An aspirant to the Kogi State House of Assembly, Barrister Oladimeji Oba Agbana has made a strong-worded appeal to the stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yagba West State Constituency to as a thing of priority, consider fielding only a cadidate that combines vision and vibrance with youthfulness as the party’s flagbearer, to put the PDP in strong contention to retain the seat in 2019.
This, he noted, became imperative going by the rising enlightenment among the electorate ahead of the 2019 elections, especially the youths, which led to the enactment of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill by the National Assembly. He however pointed out that such youth must be one who is vibrant and visionary.
He listed his experiences as a legal practitioner of many years and a former councillor with proven record of vibrancy while in the Council as facts and evidences that he possessed the outlined qualities to deliver the votes for the PDP and also represent the people well.
Barrister Agbana, who is in his early 40s, made the appeal when he visited the PDP local government executives in Odo-Ere, Yagba West Local Government headquarters.
Below is the full text of the address:
As a legal practitioner for the past 15 years, I have had experiences, I have been in the various courts, I have handled cases even for the federal government, I have been involved in drafting of bills, even for members of the National Assembly. I have some of my colleagues who today are magistrates, high court judges, federal high court judges. When you go to represent your people in the House of Assembly, the primary duty is to make laws, and when we are talking about legislation, it is my field. The legislative business you can say is not exclusively for lawyers, so far you can read laws and understand it. But, as lawyers, we know the source of the laws.
Apart from that, there is what we call oversight functions, that is where checks and balances come in. The theory of separation of power as propounded by the French philosopher, Baron Montesqui, states clearly the distinct roles of the three arms of government, the legislture, the executive and the judiciary. They are very distinct and act as checks on one and other. Unfortunately, this is not the case in most of the state legislative arms in Nigeria. What we see is a situation where members of state houses of assembly are pocketed by the executive arm. This is not supposed to be so and that is why someone like me has decided that I have to come in to ensure that things are done the right way in practical terms, and to contribute to a healthy, strongwilled and vibrant legislative arm of government in my state.
If I am privileged to represent my people in Yagba West Constituency, I will only move motions and sponsor bills that will reflect the wishes and aspirations of my people. Definitely we’ll get the job done and how we’ll do that is this: you need to negotiate. Don’t forget that negotiation and arbitration are essential parts of the law profession both in training and practice. Being a lawyer gives me a leverage among my colleagues to lobby and convince them for bills sponsored by me to be passed into law. That will ensure that the needed infrastructure in my constituency is provided for in the budget. I believe I should be able to make them understand that this is what my people need.
Governance can only be entrenched through an effective and efficient legislation, efficient representation and effective rural transformation. Now is time for action. Positional leadership is an opportunity for service and human resource capacity building, not one to amass wealth, because if it is based on wealth accumulation, it is bound to fail. Events in the past have proved this.
Leadership without creativity and vision is doomed. Inaccessibility and fraudulent leadership only offers gloom in the end. It is a duty to create awareness among our people in Yagba West on how to get a means of livelihood and to ensure that the people of the state enjoy democracy dividends. Effective legislation and lobby are first among the priorities of my project. The executive acts on motions-the executive may accept or reject motions, but we need strongwilled people to be able to lobby for the executive to act on the motions.
It is ignorance when you hear some politicians say nothing happens in the House of Assembly or that representation is all about sharing money to your constituents. When you are ignorant about something nobody can blame you. People may demand money from their representatives due to the prevalent hunger and poverty in the land, but I believe the electorate will benefit more from their representatives if what they seek of them are good motions and laws that will make life more worthwhile for them in terms of good road, health and education facilities, infrastructures and other dividends of democracy. How much does a state legislator earn? It is obvious I cannot use my money to uplift my constituents from poverty and lack of basic infrastructural facilities. So, what are we talking about?
By the grace of God I will not disappoint my people because I believe in posterity. I am open to advice and criticism. Once in a month, I am always interested in sitting around my people because I believe in feedback. To interface with them and tell them that, “look, this is what I have done, this is what I want to do, what do you think?” Once I get their feedback, I should be able to go back to the floor of the House and push for it. That is what I am sent there to do.
I believe there is a movement now going on everywhere that will make those who hold the view that representation is all about sharing money to do a rethink. People are becoming more enlightened; they tend to know what they want and what to do to get what they want. Very soon it will happen and let’s not be surprised if it starts to manifest in the 2019 elections. So, anybody that wishes to continue to live in the ignorant world that things will remain the same deserves pity. Even if I am not an aspirant, I am a subscriber to that movement. I talk to people everyday and from the conversations they are beginning to realize that things cannot continue to go on like this. Our people are becoming wiser by the day. Shortly, people will start to ask critical questions about how many motions and laws their representatives have moved and sponsored and how effective are the motions and laws; about how many projects they have been able to attract to the constituency; about how much is allocated for constituency projects and and what did they do with it. The era when some legislators will just pocket constituency allowances will be gone for good. So, if some people sit somewhere and thinking that the people will continue to be taken for granted, time will tell.
Truth is the people need change and that’s why someone like me decided to put myself forward as a servant. My advice to my fellow party men and women in Yagba West is that the time of impunity is gone for good. In addition to this, I think the youths, home and Diaspora, are more interested in politics and who represents them. I receive calls from UK, US, Canada, Australia. The awareness and the cry for the rescuing of Nigeria have never been so high and loud. And this reflects in the advocacy for the younger generation to get involved and take their destiny in their own hands. The elders will also have their own role to play. Nobody is saying the elders should quit. Our elders are very useful to us. But the rate at which youthful politicians are springing up across the country for elective positions from councillorship to presidential elections is a signal to the fact that the Youths can no longer be sidelined. The National Assembly realized that and that’s why they have no option than to pass the not too young to run bill. These are signs that Kogi State and indeed Yagba West cannot afford to lag behind. That is why I have decided to sacrifice myself for the grassroots.
The representative Yagba West needs in Kogi State House of Assembly in 2019 is a young and vibrant youth who has a vision. The late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is exemplary. That is why he is my hero. He was a leader who had a great vision right from his youth days and it manifested in his daring achievements as the premier of the old western region. His free education programme in particular which became a huge success in the south west, at a time other regions felt it was unachievable, is a product of Awolowo’s vision. That is why till today Awolowo is a reference point. What is lacking in our democracy today is absence of clear cut vision.I believe Nigeria can still produce more Awolowos if we are able to identify visionary elements among us in making our choices of Representatives. A lot of people are in politics to make money, we are not going to make progress if we continue in this way.
My appeal to our leaders and stakeholders of the PDP in Yagba West is to make sure the party picks a youth who has vision and is vibrant and that is what I represent. At 40 plus I see myself as a bridge between the youth and the old.
What we do today will work for posterity. I seek the indulgence of my leaders that they can support me and live to see how the vision of a young, vibrant man who wants to serve his people, unfolds. I have a dream to be governor someday in the future and that is acheivable only by doing well at this level.