BY: VALENTINE ADESE, ALFRED SAIKI AND IFEANYI OKONKWO
The member representing Kantana Constituency of Kanam Local Government Area in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, who also doubles as the Deputy Speaker of the House, has disclosed that the experiences that he had in the past 365 days as a Lawmaker, would help him represent his constituents better.
Rt. Hon. Gagdi, who disclose this during an interactive session he had with media practitioners in his office today, at the State House of Assembly complex, said experience has shown him that he must perform and work for his Constituents and the people of the state more than what he did before becoming a member of the State Assembly.
Gagdi who thanked God for the experiences he has gained within the last 365 days in office said, no class room lecture would have exposed him to them.
Rt. Hon. Yusuf Gagdi said, “These are experiences that I think, no class room(s) would have offered me. If not that I engaged myself in partisan politics, contested and won and now found myself here at the Assembly, I would not have gained these experiences.”
Rt. Hon. Gagdi who was proud of his constituency throughout the interaction, said he remains a proud man from Kantana Constituency. He said though the people are still backward when compared to other parts of the state, the people and himself are working hard to give the push needed towards the desired development of the Constituency.
While lamenting the poor situation of the Constituency, the Deputy Speaker said, “It has never been easy, as a member representing my constituency. I know my constituents are less educated, despite that, I am proud of my people. Even if you ask me to introduce myself ten times on the floor of the House, I will continue to say that, I am the man that represents the most rural constituency in the state.
“It is lamentable to know that I come from an area where there is no single poll in the name of rural electrification and a constituency that has no simple half kilometer tired road.
“This is why I need a lot of expertise and required experience to be able to give a better representation for my people. This is more in terms of engaging them and providing a near perfect communication with them.
“I am not sure if we have more than ten villages that have the services of the modern GSM in my constituency. You can see this rough experience.
“More challenging , is that in the past, before I became a Legislator, I use to go home when I wanted but, things automatically changed when I became a member of the State House of Assembly representing the good people of my constituency.
Now, I have to go home almost every weekend to ensure there is communication between me and the people down there. Even if I didn’t go home, my legislative Aides come to Jos any weekend that I did not travel to my constituency in order to brief me on what is happening or has happened.
“The reason(s) for these journeys is because, some of the strategic stake holders of my constituency cannot be reached by phone until they come to the LGA Head quarters, which is Dengi. Funnily, they normally come only on Fridays.
“This is one of the major issues that consume my time. Recall that I have a covenant with the people to give them good representation and in doing that, I must continue to talk to them. You should know that it is not that easy when you are organizing town meetings, constituency tours, briefings and so on.”
Rt. Hon. Gagdi, further explained that, as a leader, and a man who got to his present position through an elective process, his present experience has taught him and given him capacity to endure almost any behaviour, negative rumor or insinuation about him.
He said, “Secondly, as a leader and someone who won election, my recent experience has taught me to definitely, expect a lot of issues raised regarding my status. But, as a representative of the people, who went out to campaign and sought for the votes of my people, experience has also taught me to build the capacity to swallow negative insinuations and to stand the pressure of either constructive or unconstructive criticism.
“I have never shied away from my responsibilities. The background of my political experiences, especially in the last 365 days, exposed me to a lot of envy and attacks from some of my people in my Constituency but, by the special Grace of God, I surmounted them. This crisscrosses the issue of party differences, party manifesto among others between the All Progressive Congress APC and my party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
“It is very difficult for one to survive in this kind of situation, to God be the glory, I am able to put behind those differences and we are moving forward with my people.
“If you ask me to describe the challenges that I have passed through in the past one year as a representative of the people, I can talk for the next twenty hours. But finally, one issue regarding challenges that I have to mention is the psychology of the people that elected us into office. People think that as a Legislator, you must execute projects, you must build roads, schools, hospitals, pay school fees, pay dowries, you must finance naming ceremonies and so on but, this is not the case, even the executives will find it very difficult to do those things.
“Because of this understanding of the people, I am place under a more difficult task. As it is expected that I most do for the people more than I was doing before I became a member of the State House of Assembly.
“As the Deputy Speaker and a member representing my constituency, it is now a heavy task, in the sense that am trying my best to do better than I used to do when I was not representing my people. When I was just an ordinary politician, I was able to sponsor students from my constituency in the University, Polytechnics and Collages of Education.
“So, if as an ordinary citizen in Kanam LGA, I was able to donate 17 cars, 63 motor cycles for my campaign, the people now expect more! This is one of the areas I have tried my possible best to draw a line, between what I used to do then and now as a legislator. It is a very big challenge.”