For starters, let me enter a caveat: I do not know the Rt Hon Yusuf Adamu Gagdi to the point that I could vouchsafe anything about his antecedence. However, there are two things that are apparent; and for which I can’t deny. He is, to the best of my knowledge my representative, having come from one of the local government areas that make the Pankshin Kanke Kanam(PKK) Federal Constituency.

Secondly, as a playmate for which I am his king; I am at liberty to ‘abuse’ the whole of the Jhar people; and if the world rises in his defense, all I can offer is some peppered delicacy of 404meat to be washed down with some local ‘moskas’, to all who think questions have been asked.

But, it won’t get to that level, for I am aware of the magnitude of the concerns expressed on the issue under review. As a matter of fact, I would rather want to de-escalate it and offer solutions. I offer my concerns for no ulterior or pecuniary motives, other than the interest they have generated.

In 1999, God opened the door for my elder brother to serve PKK in the same capacity as Gagdi. The Hon Josiah YB Gobum, I won’t beat my chest, but I am sure he gave what can be described as the best, to the point that he was one of the eight Honourable Members who set a record of returning N500,000 meant to buy over National Assembly members to support the third term bid of President Obasanjo.

They were called names, but as it turned out to be, he left the House with his shoulders high. Even if he left the House poorer, couldn’t his family have had a better reputation other than what was bequeathed to it? Never was he a disappointment to his family and people.

Let it be told, the work of representation can be overwhelming, just as it can open several doors hitherto closed to the constituents. It can come no easier than we always think particularly when we are made to erroneously think that law making is the only work to be done when elected. It is much more than thought.

In the Nigerian context, the admixture of what is expected and the absurd has a thin line separating the official with the personal. I recall that at some point, a brother had to ask the Hon Josiah YB Gobum why all the help was going to ‘outsiders’. He was quick to add: If we don’t do those things, another politician would take them away from me. That shut everyone’s mouth.

Would a politician prefer the poaching of his followers than offer service to them? Would such a political office holder not want to be engaged in legislation and also attending to their needs, even if it means addressing them at a launch or marriage ceremony? Remember that these are not part of his legislative business or engagements, but to think that these minute details don’t matter, is to admit that you are not with them. They would think you are arrogant and surely, they would be quick to show you the way out. No politician worth his salt wants power to slip from him on account of his non-challant attitude to the people’s needs.

Those needs vary in dimension and the measure of requisition from their representatives. Indeed, some come in the most absurd measure and form to the most realistic that could be to the benefit of all.

Taking care of the needs of the people has been an age long tradition. To some representatives, it is not enshrined in the books, no one can be forced to go along with or pay attention to people’s personal expectations. Those who have not done it have not been guillotined; however, those who added the ‘problems’ of the people with their legislative business are always in the good books of their constituents. But that is not to say that others are not interested in helping others achieve their dreams.

The degree of involvement varies; so is the level of the acceptance of the political office holder. We cannot therefore conclude that anyone who has occupied such positions has not made their constituents smile either through the provision of service or in helping someone realize his or her dreams.

Therefore, if it was done in the past and the ante has been upped, we must realize the sophistication with which representative democracy has assumed can only get better, knowing that capacities and degree of negotiations differ. To disparage those not said to have ‘done’ like some others must be treated lightly. They deserve our respect also.

In the eight years of Hon Beni B Lar, questions were asked and tongues wagged as to why she was returning home with enormous ‘spoils of war’ than her other colleagues combined. They alleged, she made things happened as a result of her connections and the deep realization that her people had to be placed in strategic positions.

She didn’t hide the fact that she was her father’s daughter; making people matter and giving them relevance. Whatever connections she had to fix certain number of people did not remove the fact that she didn’t abandon her first line charge duties of representation. Even if people complained about the feat, it was not as acerbic as in the case of Gagdi’s.

Increasingly, there have been additions to what has been started by some political office holders. It does appear that those who did it on a ‘small scale’ can only join the band of those who have increased the tempo, and which constituents use to gauge their representatives. It is not a competition, rather, an initiative that takes our youth off the streets and engaging them in positively productive activities; which would also reduce known vices amongst them.

Initial comments on what the Rt Hon Yusuf AdamuGagdi did on December 23, 2019 at the Nefur Arena Pankshin were innocuous, but gradually, they assumed a disparaging tone as more people made their comments. Were they expected, given the impact it was creating?

I have read several comments and I have come to the conclusion that such were ‘poisonous venom’ serving no one any good cause, but creating the impression that what lifts people should be celebrated without fanfare. They have their reasons, but come to think of it, would we have preferred that they are not encouraged by what they do; so long as they are not ‘meant’ to be ‘issuing’ the employment letters?

For instance, I am aware of certain positive interventions made by Reps such as Hon Labar, Hon Emmanuel Go’ar, Hon Leo Dilkon and Hon Timothy Golu during their years of service to PKK. We can’t gloss over these. The point has been made elsewhere; legislators all over the world cannot be divorced from lobbying for projects, appointments, positions and any such things that make the constituents believe they are being represented. Take these away from them and they are left naked.

For me, and I know, of others this is the import of the struggles of the Rt Hon Gagdi and any other political office holder serving or out of it who has been involved in the quest to secure places for the youths. I dare say that had they not done this, our streets would have been populated with degenerated graduates eager to visit their frustrations on the same society that has produced them.

Indeed, this does not take away the responsibilities of the government and or organizations these letters emanate from. It is incumbent for those appointment letters to originate from them, yet a legislator’s persuasive intervention is able to re-channel them and convey them to the owners. If you hold a contrary view, it is as a result of your inclination that it is only ‘right’ for the letters to come from a known channel. Not wrong, however.

In the alternative, we can only encourage Gagdi and any other knowing that the levels of engagement has since changed; whereto, our legislators as others are able to use their lobbying prowess to make it matter to those they represent.

Let us navigate and explore why there was that Nefur meeting, perhaps it might help us appreciate the initiative and offer certain explanations on why elected representatives have got to have a legislative blue print for service. On account of this, the Rt Hon Yusuf AdamuGagdi deserves our accolades for assembling a number of his constituents to work out details of his legislative blue print for the constituency for which he asked them to come and launch as part of the social contract that they can hold him accountable during his tenure. They are no impositions, rather, the ownership of the process sets the tone for proper interrogation if he fails or succeeds.

In defense of his performance, I do not know what class you will place him, yet it is plausible to admit that a mark has been set. Even if an ambition is attached to it, only God using men is able to determine the course of the future. For those numerous graduates whose lives have been turned around for good, it is easy to imagine what he has done to their communities. I do not think the proportion of ‘distribution’ of the employment is lopsided; to the point that he can be accused of being biased. Beneficiaries cut across boundaries and outside of the federal constituency and state.

We are aware that a census of first class graduates of the federal constituency is being taken. That also gladdens me, just so you know, my son is one; and currently on national service. For the intervention in paying WAEC fees for hundreds of students; nothing can be gratifying than this: To take off the burden from their parents by sowing a seed that would change their future.

Before I am accused of the encomiums and or being solicitous, let me hasten to add that political office holders could do more if they remain committed to a cause and giving a voice to their people. Whether one is in or out of office, pray, you are not tagged as ‘gum’ (a Hausa word for one not talking for his people or remaining just silent on all matters).

We have since left that station. Indeed we could do more and be counted if the people matter. Even if I am not a beneficiary, the direction the Rt Hon Yusuf Adamu Gagdi has taken matters in great measures to the people. Let us encourage what is good and set a tone for those who are yet to come to terms with the causes of their constituents.

 

Categories: Column

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