Hon. John Halims Agoda is a three term member of the House of Representatives. He is contesting the Delta Central Senatorial Seat on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. In this interview, he argues that his background as a lawyer and his experience in the green chambers make him the best candidate to represent the constituency.
By Fredrick Okopie
You were in the House of Representatives for 12 years. What were your achievements?
My records during the period were innumerable, especially with regard to legislation for the good governance of the country, and for fostering the peace and stability of the nation.
I participated in major landmark legislations for budgeting, anti-corruption laws for the establishment of our anti-corruption agencies the EFCC and the ICPC, the Niger Delta Development Commission – NDDC, the reform of the oil and gas sector especially the establishment the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency PPPRA, the civil service reforms and a host of other activities that positively impacted on the social, economic and political well being of the federation.
At a personal level, I assisted some of our youths from Delta Central to gain employment into the federal civil service. They have now begun to rise steadily in the civil service. I assisted a number of others to go abroad for further studies. I also offered grants to students in higher institutions including the law schools.
On project allocation and distribution, I was always at home with the interests of the Urhobo nation. I have every reason to thank the federal government and my colleagues in the House of Representatives who assisted me in successfully resisting the attempts to remove the Federal University of Petroleum Resources from Effurun. To me, this was a landmark pursuit of the interests of my people, and it is very gratifying and clear to me.
Need I also recall the series of motions that I sponsored on the floor of the house? They were very many, and the records are there in the National Assembly for anyone to verify. My attendance at plenary in those years was almost 99 percent. I disliked missing the sittings of the House.
Let me assure my people, the Urhobo that I shall do more for them with renewed passion and vigour. I cannot forget the support I got from the traditional institution. Our kings, the women groups and youths were very helpful, and I owe them a great deal of gratitude.
Why should the Urhobo send you back to Abuja?
Simple! To give them quality representation in the Senate, and to build on the achievements of those who had been there- Senators Brume, Eferekeya, Ewherido and Aguarivwodo. They all did very well, and I intend to go to the Senate to build on their records.
The experience I had in my years in the House of Representatives stand me in good stead to represent Urhoboland in the Senate. Representation at that level demands not only education, but more importantly, skills, diplomacy, and experience in legislation. It demands a high level of legislative maturity and the spread of goodwill across the frontiers of ethnicity and region. It is a call to national service for your people. You need a strong voice to achieve that. I shall at all times disperse the goodwill of the Urhobo nation to other nationalities and radiate the affection of my people to the Nigerian federation.
Urhobo interests in the politics of the federation are too strategic to be glossed over by any one. I am very suited to protect, defend and promote such interests in the senate.
What kind of representation do the Delta Central people expect from you?
The mandate to go to the Senate is specific and not ambiguous. It is about representation to articulate and aggregate interests for the betterment of the country. The contest for the allocation of our common patrimony is interrogated and amicably settled in the chamber. It is all with a view to legislating for the enthronement of good and responsive governance. As the voice of your people, you are expected to participate and contribute.
Passivity or docility
It does not call for passivity or docility. Your peoples’ voice must be heard; otherwise you would have chosen to betray the mandate.
Additionally, you must not be contented with just being a statistical number. You must participate and be heard on behalf of your people. You are just a trustee of the mandate. The mandate belongs to your people, and you must exercise the power and influence inherent in the mandate to justify the confidence reposed in you by your people. The legislature at the three tiers of government is not the same as the executive branch. The constitution is very explicit on this.
Membership of the senate for the people of Delta Central shall be underpinned by a sense of dedication and responsibility. As much as possible, I shall influence resource allocation for my people of Urhobo nation. I shall not allow them to be marginalized or cheated in the distribution of projects and other desirable things. At a personal level, I shall endeavour to provide succour for our unemployed youths through empowerment for them.