By Elijah Ugani
The Chairman of the New Cities Development Board of the Cross River State Government, Keshimbah Joseph Agba has said that the true form of empowerment is one which will see the person being empowered and being able to fend for himself.
“Empowerment is the ability to make a man fend for himself, empowerment needs to reach the second, third and fourth person,” said KJ Agba in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch where he declared his intention to run for the position of the Member representing the Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
He argued that empowerment must affect the second, third and fourth person and called the presentation of motorcycles and cars as “Christmas gifts.” rather than empowerment.
“Christmas gifts is not empowerment,” KJ said, adding that: “When you build a culvert, so many persons use the road. I prefer public utilities, I see cars, motorcycles like liabilities. If I give you a car or bike, will I also give you money for fuel or maintenance?
“We are subsistent farmers, we will provide tractors, where farmers will only pay for diesel when they want to use the tractors, provide improved seedlings, and insecticides for farmers.”
Mr. Agba decried the importance placed on certificates above service delivery and skills and lampooned the idea of creating tournaments as a panacea for curbing restiveness.
“It is only here that we value certificates, we need real skills to keep our youths busy, we have to create employment using the youths, via ICT, production processing. I don’t see tournaments as a panacea for restiveness. We can create recreational centers to identify skills and using appropriate tools to harness these skills for maximum productivity among the youths,” Agba said.
Politically, he pledged to be more available as a legislator through the organization of periodic town hall meetings just as he has commenced consultations across the three local government areas that make up the constituency and maintained that his timing was not wrong as some may think.
“I will employ periodic town hall meetings as a means of engaging my constituents constantly, to ensure that their opinion is sort in policy formulation,” said KJ when asked about his idea of effective representation.
He continued: “I offer myself for effective, efficient and purposeful legislature where the peoples yearnings and aspirations will be presented through periodic town hall meetings. I will create legislative offices where complaints will be made putting smart offices where I can be reached. Reports can come live and direct from my constituents even at the floor of the house.
“It is about service to my people more at the Federal Capacity, recall that in 2010, I had the intention to serve my people in the Senate and I lost out to Senator Ayade in a keenly contested election, I came fourth out of seven of us who contested that election. So I feel like seeking election to the House of Reps. To serve my people more, it is a passion to serve my people.”
On the timing, he averred that: “We have three local governments. The advent of the fourth republic saw Hon. Mike Ogar from Bekwarra at the National Assembly, after which Rt. Hon. Paul Adah took the turn of Obudu, and Rt. Hon. Frank Adah completed that first round for Obanliku local government area.
“Honorable Legor Idagbo started the second round and he hails from Bekwarra, it is very obvious that Obudu is qualified to run and so I seek election.”
The former Senatorial aspirant in the 2011 general elections also bared his mind on the successes of the New Cities Development Board which he said was created; “To cover housing deficit in the State and also create new cities across the three Senatorial Districts of the State, making Cross River a Contemporary State, this will be extended to rural dwellers giving that Cross River State always looked up to Calabar alone as its paradise; to Have an impact what a city looks like) in today’s contemporary development.”
He further added that: “The board has worked assiduously to achieve our aims and objectives. We have traveled far and wide, we have gone on conferences and workshops to get insight on how new cities are developed, with the cheapest possible models which will help us redesign modern development.
“The Governor has personally participated in some of these trips and physically involved himself. We go out even late at night with modern designs and programs on the development of new cities.
“Our first point is the Calas Vegas, it is in the creeks, it overlooks the Calabar River. Preliminary work has begun with the Commissioner for New City Development Honorable George Ekpungu pioneering the affairs of Calas Vegas with us supporting.
“We have independently done a ground breaking for the Ayade Mega City in collaboration with the Nigerian Army in Tinapa, Calabar, and was attended by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Buratai and work has commenced in the site. It is in collaboration with a unit in the Nigerian Army called (Post Housing Development) with the Governor in attendance in October last year, work is in progress in the site.
“We have gone to Boki and waiting for land to be allotted to us in Obudu, we have done the survey, waiting to settle the villagers. Work will soon commence, we have covered the three senatorial districts.”