A News Analysis by Polycarp Auta, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Political analysts observe that one of the factors that determine growth and development in every democratic government is the quality and the commitment of the representatives elected to coordinate the political affairs of the electorate
According to them, in most advanced countries where a democratic government is a driving force to growth and development, quality representation either in the parliament or congress, is always a significant factor on which the electorate take seriously in assessing those seeking political offices.
Incontrovertibly, quality legislative representation transcends the ability to move motions on the floor of the legislature, Mr. Sunday Akinade, a political scientist in Ejigbo, Osun, observes.
“It is, crucially, also about proper linkage with the grassroots, attracting life-changing projects to their constituencies; it involves appropriate linkage with the executive arm of government and being above board in the discharge of legislative duties.
“Senators and House of Representatives members count it all joy that they are given the opportunity to serve and contribute their quota to the development of the country and their constituents while Nigerians at large are big winners.
“This is because it is hard for the electorate to always, at every electoral season, elect men and women of good virtues,’’ he notes. He, however, expresses concern that the reality of the Nigerian situation is that the political class sees politics as another means to get wealth and boost their social status.
But the representative of Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau, Mr. Yusuf Gagdi, says he understands why he has to serve his constituency better because he deserves to be counted among the few members of the legislature who are giving quality representation with positive results.
“Serving the people in terms of life-changing moves and engaging in sustainable projects that will see to the growth and development of the constituency must be cardinal to representation in the National Assembly,’’ he insists
Residents of his constituency attest that from when Gagdi represented Kantana Constituency at the Plateau State of House Assembly, and later became Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, he distinguished himself as a lawmaker who knows his onions and the onus of his office.
Records also show that he was one of the vibrant and outspoken lawmakers the eighth state assembly had.
The residents believe that his sterling qualities spur the people of Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam constituency to vote for him in 2019 to represent them at the House of Representatives in the National Assembly.
Gagdi said that in the House of Representatives, he used his lobbying skills and political connections he had built over the years, to attract “many projects that have a direct bearing in the lives of his constituents’’.
Observers note that he is one representative that has risen above mediocrity to add real value to the political cum developmental narrative of his constituency.
Gagdi reiterated his commitment in ensuring that the pact he entered with his people is met, promising never to convert what belong to the people for his personal use.
Speaking on the achievements of the lawmaker, Mr. Sati Tanko, a public affairs analyst and member of the constituency, described Gagdi as a “worthy and true son of Plateau’’.
He added that Gagdi’s performance has surpassed expectations, insisting that the young lawmaker had turned the fortunes of the constituency in all ramifications.
“We celebrate the successes and humanitarian gestures of our amiable lawmaker; he is indeed a worthy son and we are proud of him.
“I am supporting him for a second term because he has not disappointed me as my representative; he has fulfilled his mandate as a patriot.
“So far, the lawmaker has touched almost all facets of lives in this constituency; from education, economic empowerment, provision of social amenities, physical infrastructure and human capital development, among others.
“As I speak, he constructed and rehabilitated more than 20 kilometres of township and rural roads in Pankshin and Kanam, constructed more than 100 boreholes with others still ongoing across each polling unit.
“This water project has basically addressed the perennial water challenge and the rising cases of cholera in the rural communities,’’. Chief (Nde) John Gobak, the Chairman, Elders Advisory Council of the constituency, also described Gagdi as a “godsend’’.
Gobak, a one-time Secretary to the Government of Plateau, said that the people of the constituency had no regrets electing Gagdi to represent them at the National Assembly, adding that the lawmaker had not reneged in fulfilling his campaign promises.
He maintained that the constituency had never had it so good until the emergence of Gagdi, adding that the lawmaker had invested all resources available toward giving the constituency a facelift.
“Gagdi has constructed and renovated blocks of classrooms, examination halls, laboratories, equipped modern ICT centres and other facilities across secondary schools in the constituency.
“His intervention in the education sector didn’t end at building structures alone, but he took deliberate steps toward bringing succour to parents by offsetting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration fees for more than 2,000 candidates within the constituency in 2021.
“Recently, he presented a cheque of N100 million to the elders’ advisory council headed by me to offset the Senior School Certificate Examination registration fees for all SS3 candidates in public and private secondary schools across the constituency. As I speak, we have commenced payment already.
“He has built and furnished palaces of some district and village heads across the constituency, constructed and equipped health centres, and empowered more than100 constituents with vehicles, more than 1,000 with motorcycles, grinding and sewing machines, among others things.
“This young man is the first representative in the annals of the constituency to have built and furnished a modern edifice as a constituency office with a 300-seater capacity hall attached to the office to enable constituents use it for any meeting or activities,’’ he said.
Gobak also commended the lawmaker for installing the solar-powered street lights at the headquarters of Pankshin, Kanke, and Kanam local government areas, insisting that such gesture had given the towns a modern outlook.
The elder statesman also lauded Gagdi for empowering farmers with various farming tools and inputs, such as pumping machines, insecticides, herbicides and fertiliser, among others, adding that the gesture had encouraged more young people to venture into farming, thereby taking them off the streets.
For Alhaji Abdulahi Dugum, a businessman from Kanam, the interest-free loan worth millions provided by the lawmaker to the business community in the constituency had so far boosted businesses and promoted the growth of local economy.
He added that at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic era, the lawmaker, being a compassionate and a cheerful giver, donated foodstuff, clothing and cash to widows, less-privileged persons, and Persons Living with Disabilities in the constituency.
“This gesture really cushioned the effects of the hardship being faced by this category of persons as a result of the prolonged lockdowns occasioned by the advent of the pandemic.
“In the area of human capital development, Gagdi has influenced and secured over 200 permanent and pensionable employments for his constituents at different government agencies, and institutions, including the military and paramilitary organisations
“He has always been kind to his people; during Christmas and Sallah festivities, this gentleman has made it an annual ritual to distribute trailers of rice, cows, and cash to constituents, particularly the poor ones, to enable them to celebrate the festivity with ease
“As someone who trusts in God in all his dealings, Gagdi has supported the construction and rehabilitation of Churches and Mosques to enable worshipers to have befitting places to worship God,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Nanle Gujor, a member of elders’ advisory council of the constituency lauded the lawmaker for initiating several bills and motions that had direct bearing in the lives of his constituents.
“Suffice is to mention is that Gagdi has not failed in performing his primary function of law making, he has sponsored many bills and motions in the last three years of his representation
“Notable among his bills that were passed and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari is the bill that saw to the upgrading of Federal College of Education (FCE), Pankshin to the University of Education.
“Others included the repeal and enactment of the Police Reform Act which provided a legal framework for the recruitment of community police across the country, thereby creating job opportunities for youths and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act.
“Also, the House of Representatives passed the bill for the establishment of Admiralty University in Ibusa, sponsored by our amiable lawmaker.
“Not only that, a bill for the establishment of College of Education, Dengi, Kanam Local Government Area, is standing in his name, among many others.
“With all of these, it will be a disservice to say this young man has not performed; this why we are calling on our people to vote him back so that he can consolidate on achievements recorded so far,’’ he said.