By CrossRiverWatch Admin
I am particularly impressed with the good job my kind and intelligent brother and friend Mr. Agba Jalingo is doing. So, when I got his invitation to attend ‘The Dialogue with Agba Jalingo , even against myriad of issues that demanded my attention I was determined to steal some hours to attend the event.
I had thought I would as usual sneak in and out of the event without any notice but Agba was smart enough to sight me from the gate. After a hurried pleasantries that lasted only a few seconds, I quickly had to allow him attain to his busy schedules. (I am a quietly private individual)
Hours strolled away without effective commencement of the event and I was getting agitated and somewhat irritated- not towards my friend though but towards his guests, as I knew that his political guest were at his jugular, forcing him to linger behind the scheduled time as it is typical of them.
Thanks to the young up and coming entertainers, from singers, DJs, comedians etc. They actually helped me cover some mileage with their kind thought lift. While relieving my fragile skin from the dominating air conditioner of the state’s few star hotel.
After a “coon’s age” wait, I was sandwiched by some overzealous plain clothed protocols with their usual “excuse me, excuse me” pushing their way to the front row. I didn’t need to ask anyone if those we were waiting for – “we politicians” -(as my Edo friend would say) had arrived. You will naturally know when a Nigerian politician arrives an event venue.
The stage was set and the event finally began.
The first speaker was the soft spoken (whether it be political, I don’t know) Legor Idagbo- Mr. Idagbor represents three of the northern areas of the state- Obudu, Bekwarra, Obanliku Federal Constituency, in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
But for my Investigative Journalistic training, I would have been carried away by his humane disposition. Anyone could be swayed by his dully eyes and soft talk.
I scored him reasonably good not because of his almost sleepy eyes and enticing words but for his clear cut point and stand on key issues in the ongoing constitutional amendment process which of course was the focal point of the Dialogue.
Devolution of Power, Local Government and State Assembly autonomy and ofcourse his position on the issue of the Not Too Young To Run bill. His position was unambiguous, clear and precise. He stole my heart there.
Then came opportunity for the second speaker, this time, the member representing Abi state constituency and speaker of the Cross River State house of assembly, Mr John Gaul Lebo.
Mr. John Gaul, a lanky law graduate who I happen to admire at least for his vast intellectual and legislative arsenal.
I had been mandated in 2015 by my media organization to cover the 100 days in office of both Executive and Legislative arm of government in Cross River State. While having a one on one interview with him, I realized the speaker’s deep legislative knowledge had drawn me to him.
So at the Dialogue with Agba Jalingo, I had come to see and listen to that same Lebo, who I would say, like King Agrippa of the old Roman empire. Almost convinced me to become a politician. But on this particular occasion he represented everything wrong. Like they say in legislative parlance, Nay!
On just one point, I will hinge this, the Not Too Young To Run bill.
The Abi born speaker had cunningly said that the agitation of the Not Too Young To Run bill was ill and not well conceived, because political parties in the county still had their age limits way above the new ages proposed by the bill and that the NYSC Act puts at 30, the age limit for the national service assignment. Thus, attempting to tarnish the excellent job of the proponents of this bill. Nay! Mr. Speaker.
This is my problem with Nigerian politicians. They always seem to suddenly know everything just after it went bad.
A lot of time they see the problem coming but decides to keep mum only to jump and sing after the deed has already been done.
One would be tempted to ask, if the speaker knew all these. What effort did he make to make input into the bill? A law that will eventually outlive all of us. Did the speaker try to reach out to those young people with his ideas as mentioned during his presentation?
I was therefore shocked to hear Mr. Lebo attempt to talk down on the spirited effort of young people, who in unison put aside sentiment and worked hard to ensure this bill was passed.
The speaker’s rather sarcastic statement was in my opinion a veiled effort to mock the good work of young Nigerians who tirelessly worked day and night, fine-tuning section by section of the bill, so our political class won’t get any excuse to throw it out.
First, I had thought that the speaker, himself a lawyer, should before making such statement, understand that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supreme over every other law in the country be it the NYSC Act or laws binding any political parties in the country.
And so, by the passage of the bill by the NASS every other Act or political party constitutions or laws falls completely behind the constitution.
While I commend Mr. Legor for his unwavering support and clear support for the bill. I am disappointed and indeed surprised that the speaker who himself became member of the house at about 35 years will cast aspersion on the struggle and spirits of this bill. Even though he had struggled in the cause of his delivery said he will support it when it is eventually sent to state assemblies. Discerning minds knew that the speaker represented the other divide.
I do hope that Mr. Lebo understands that laws are not made particularly for the benefit of a section of people but for the generality and overall good of the people.
He must understand that even though he has passed the threshold of this political calculation, certainly his children and other generation will come up to find this bill really beneficial.
I like you as a politician, I appreciate your legislative and intellectual artfulness. But, I say nay! Mr. speaker.
This time the nays have it!
Edem Darlington is a Nigerian Journalist
he can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.