Gagdi flaunts score card as speakership race hots up
The lawmaker representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke constituency of Plateau State in the 9th National Assembly, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, is now among the top contenders for the speakership of the House of Representatives. The 41-year-old chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), though a first-term lawmaker, believes that his achievements in office are enough to convince his colleague to elect him to the topmost position in the lower chamber.
Gagdi’s rise to prominence affirms the truism that hard work, diligence and commitment to the welfare of the downtrodden are all a politician needs to climb to the top. Though a first-term lawmaker, his achievements indeed dwarf those of his colleagues who have been privileged to do four terms in the National Assembly.
He set a record as the first first-term federal lawmaker to have six self-sponsored bills assented to by the President. Two of the bills are for federal universities. The seventh bill awaits presidential assent.
The bills include: A bill for the establishment of the Federal University, Pankshin, Plateau State; A bill for the establishment of Admiralty University, Edosa, Delta State (as the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Navy this university was established for the Navy through the bill to improve its capacity); A bill for the repeal and re-enactment of the Police Act. The Nigerian Police Act had been in existence since 1947. President Buhari assented to this bill on September 16, 2020.
This new Police Act addresses the flaws in the old Act such as the old practice of arresting the wives of crime suspects. The new Act has outlawed it. So, a relative of the crime suspect shall not be arrested until the suspect himself is found. Also, women now have equal rights as men in the new Police Act and can even rise to become the Inspector-General. The new Police Act has also given power to communities, having recognised Community Policing.
Paramount traditional rulers will co-chair the community policing committee with the commissioner of Police. This is cascaded down to senatorial and federal constituency levels.
The other successful bills by Gagdi include: A bill for the establishment of the National Hydrographic Agency. It shall relate with the ports authority to give nautical information about activities on our waterways. The new agency shall be headed by the Hydrographer-General of the nation, who shall be a naval General; A bill for the establishment of Federal Polytechnic, Nyak in Shendan, Plateau State; A bill for the establishment of Federal College of Education, Dengi-Kanam, Plateau State and A bill for the establishment of a Maritime Security Trust Fund for the Navy. This will enable the Navy to acquire modern platforms to boost its capacity to combat piracy, oil theft, vandalism and other maritime-related crimes. Given that the Nigerian waterways constitute a cash cow the importance of this bill cannot be over-emphasised.
In addition to his impressive six bills that got presidential assent, he brought 18 motions on the floor of the House, which were largely security-related. In the course of his oversight functions as chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, he visited all naval formations in the country three times. This was meant to put them on their toes, ensure discipline in the service and ensure that the rights of junior officers and men were not trampled upon.
In the area of infrastructure, Gagdi has also etched his name in history. He has for instance built 24 palaces and befitting offices for traditional rulers and secretaries to the traditional councils at a cost of over N100 million each. He has also built 28 units of classroom blocks in 28 locations in his federal constituency. He has built 14 modern primary health care units and three befitting police posts in his constituency.
The lawmaker has built six town halls and skill acquisition centres in his constituency. He has constructed 23 roads across Pankshin, Kanke, Kanam, including township roads in the three local councils.
He has also provided 2100 units of solar streetlights across the constituency and drilled 264 boreholes (hand pump and motorised) across the constituency with the boreholes present in almost all polling units in the constituency. Apart from boreholes, he has done eight culverts and bridges, and constructed two secretariats for the community development associations in the constituency.
As a lawmaker who understands the importance of people empowerment, Gagdi has paid NECO, JAMB, WAEC fees for all SS3 students in his constituency amounting to N3324 million. He procured Hilux vans for three local police divisions in his constituency. He provided 1,618 motorcycles, 80 tricycles and 118 cars so far to empower young people in his constituency.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, Gagdi supported the downtrodden with about N36 million in addition to the distribution of food items worth about N54 million to his constituents.
Last December, he shared 14 trailers of rice to the three local councils in his constituency and 77 cows to Christians and Muslims in the communities that make up the constituency. He also donated cars to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Jammatul Nasril Islam across the constituency.
His fair-mindedness has made him very popular with both Christians and Muslims in the state. He does not discriminate against any religion. His constituency is 70 per cent Muslim, yet because of his generous and detribalised nature, clerics across religious divides encouraged their faithful o vote for him in the recently concluded general election, which aided his re-election for a second term.
As a former deputy speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Gagdi stands out as an experienced, tested and trusted lawmaker that can lead the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly. He is also favoured by age.
At a time young people are disillusioned with the ruling class, Gagdi knows the problems confronting the youth in the country. He will certainly serve as the bridge between the young and the old in bringing about cohesion and meaningful growth and development in the country.