‘I Want to Change the Status Quo in Lawmaking’

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In 2015, his first shot at the Senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party failed unexpectedly. Undeterred, Kesimbah Joseph Jedy Agba is again set to create an upset as he tells Sunday Okobi his plan to change the status quo and provide quality and effective representation in Obanliku, Obudu and Bekwara federal constituency area of Cross River State

During a recent routine consultative meeting with his constituency in Obanliku, Obudu and Bekwara federal constituency area of Cross River, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives aspirant, Kesimbah-Joseph Jedy Agba got a huge surprise, when his constituents unanimously passed a confidence vote, describing him as the oga patapata of Bekwara politics.

The endorsement was unique in the sense that the ground upon which it took place was the home ground of the incumbent representative of that constituency, Hon. Legor Idagbo. Given this scenario, it was obvious there was an imminent upset in the constituency if Idagbo was determined to come back.

Although rumours are making the rounds about his perceived ambition given the fact that Agba is still consulting and is yet to officially declare his intention to run for office, he however clarified to THISDAY that what was being perceived as a rumour was for real, because he was set to throw his hat into the ring soon.

According to him, what people perceive as rumour “is not a rumour, it can’t be said to be a rumour. My intentions, my aspirations to represent the people of my constituency are now in the public space. Besides, I have consulted widely within and outside my constituency.

“So, at this point, it would be inappropriate to describe it as a rumour. It is confirmed, KJ Jedy Agba is running for Federal House in 2019 with the burning desire to effectively represent his people, the people of Bekwara, Obudu and Obanliku federal constituency.”
Agba went on to explain that his desire to serve his people was behind his aspiration, pointing out that in the course of his consultations, he had discovered that constituents desire quality service.

“Of course my aspiration is to provide quality service to my people. Like I said earlier, I have a burning desire to bring quality and effective representation to my people.

“Nobody, and I’m serious about this, who has genuine love for his people can say that he is happy or comfortable with the trend of things as they stand today where hardship and poverty stare at my people everywhere they turn. So, to be sure, I am driven by my sheer quest to effect change and make a difference in the polity.” Agba is not new in the game. In 2011, he contested for Senate to represent the Cross River Northern senatorial zone, comprising Obanliku, Obudu, Bekwarra, Ogoja and Yala alongside Governor Ben Ayade of the state and Senator Musa Adede. He lost to Ayade, who won and went on to represent the zone at the Senate and later emerged governor in 2015.

Thus, when asked why he was stepping back to vie for a lower position, Agba said “as a politician, one must be able to feel the pulse of his people at any given time. You are very right that I aspired in 2011 to represent the Northern Senatorial district at the upper legislative chambers. I went full circle and participated in the primaries, but the political hierarchy at that time felt it should go to Ben Ayade, our incumbent Governor.

“I had no other option than to agree with our leaders. He vacated the seat, just about three years ago to take the mantle of leadership as Governor. In the spirit of brotherliness, I can’t ask that I be allowed to go to Senate again at this time. We must allow the Senate seat to rotate among the Local Government Areas of the north.”

Asked about his chances and if he had the capacity to unseat the present occupier of the office, Agba answered in the affirmative, arguing that he was not in a personality or popularity contest but that his was a direct response to a call by his people to represent them effectively.

“This is a political contest for an elective office and not a battle of wits. Therefore, I’m not in the race for reasons of anybody. I’m running for this office in direct response to the call by my people to rescue them. But you need to understand how our democracy operates. That after four years, an office becomes vacant, hence the preparations to conduct elections to fill the vacancy. So, my good friend, Hon Legor and I (if he so desires to re-contest), or any individual who so desires to contest, they are welcome. Our people shall decide.

Responding to a recent pronouncement by a governor’s aide, who hinted that the position may not be vacant after all, Agba said as far as he was concerned, those were rumours that had no credibility or any iota of truth and therefore dismissed it as inconsequential.
“Well you have qualified it appropriately yourself, a rumour. I haven’t heard it. I don’t know where that came from. His Excellency hasn’t said that to me and I have not seen anyone either, who has come to me to say he has it as a direct message from the state helmsman. So, I take it too as a rumour and I should treat it as such.”

Agba however assured his people that his mandate would provide a remarkable difference from the past and when pressed further to expatiate on what difference to expect, he said, “You don’t expect that KJay Agba will approach the mandate of his people in the same manner someone else did. But to answer your question directly, I will say it won’t be business as usual.

“With my team that will be put in place, we will showcase a very robust approach to legislative representation in our constituency. This is why we are adopting a mantra that is befitting of our planned programme of office – effective representation. I won’t say more than this so you don’t make me let the cat out of the bag,” he concluded.