From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Member of the House of Representatives, Francis Ottah Agbo (Ado/Obadigbo/Okpokwu Federal constituency) Benue State has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the only political party that is truly Nigerian and gives opportunities to all segments of Nigeria to lead. He spoke on other national issues.
Agbo who served as Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary before he resigned to contest the House of Representatives election said there is no contender that can match Dickson. He spoke on various issues.
How has the transition from Journalism to Politician been?
Well, it is an enchanting experience, very thought-provoking. Journalism is a world of idealism; it is a world where we asked questions without minding the consequences, without actually minding what would have outweighed those things we are questioning, without minding the rudiments on the ground, without putting ourselves in the shoes, and of course, journalism is where people don’t worry you, where masses don’t hurl insults at you. Politics is murky water. It is a place of who gets what and how and when.
The transition has been enchanting but difficult and tortuous because of the peculiar environment we found ourselves. Now as a member representing the largest constituency in Benue, I am saddled with the responsibility to keep tabs on everything that happens in my area. In a day, I receive over 100 SMS from people seeking all forms of favours. All these you do but at that, they still hurl insults at you. The game of politics is such that when someone comes to you and lie, you know it is a lie but you still provide financial favour for such a person. But Journalism is not like that. Well, the transition has been tortuous like I said but at the same time, interesting.
How has your experience as a journalist helped you in your as a politician?
Journalism has helped to re-brand my political career. As a journalist, I was always on my feet. I was always criticising public officeholders. I was holding them to account. I was giving some public office holders especially those that are inept sleepless night. Now that I am sitting on the hot seat, I am always watching over my shoulders trying to make sure I don’t do those things that I criticised back in the days. So my experience, my odyssey in the newsroom has helped me to be mindful of my responsibilities as a journalist-turned-politician. I know very clearly that if I held government officials accountable, House of Representatives members accountable, while I was in the newsroom, I know very clearly that there are some in the newsroom who are ready and willing to hold me accountable. So, I make sure I do those things that are right and make sure I fulfil my campaign promises. I make sure that I stay on course. As a lawmaker, I have tripartite responsibilities: lawmaking for the good of the country, oversight functions of agencies and ministries of government
to make sure my federal constituency gets its fair share and effective representation which is maintaining and sustaining the organic touch with the people of my constituency. So, Journalism helped me a lot to settle down. Don’t forget that the primary contacts I have in politics were from journalism. Journalism has made me not to lose track and to know that first and foremost, I was elected to serve the people; that is what I am doing here because, in the end, the man who served God well is the man who served man well.
From 2019 till now, your party, the PDP has been waxing strong, what is the secret?
You said from 2019 till date, PDP is waxing strong. No, PDP is waxing stronger. And the secret is that PDP is the only political party in Nigeria that is truly Nigerian. PDP is the only political party that is not built on the fault lines of this country. It is built on the true dreams of our heroes past. It is the only party that can give the presidential seat to a super minority like former president Goodluck Jonathan; to be governor, vice-president and president. That image cannot be wiped away. The PDP is waxing stronger because it has actually connected with the dreams and aspirations of Nigeria. The APC has come on board for almost seven years now as a controller of the Federal Government, but you would agree with me that APC remains a political party that connects with the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians. Nigerians know that very clearly and that is why the PDP is seen as a viable and veritable alternative to the APC. All of what is playing out is because of the nature of the party; it is a great party waxing stronger as a foothold in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. It has a presence in every political ward and polling unit. PDP is like Coca Cola, anywhere, you find Coca Cola. It is the only true political party.