Senatorial aspirant in Taraba South Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mathias Luka Agbu, in this interview with Abdulrahman Zakariyau says Taraba State needs stronger voice to attract federal projects and transform constituencies.
Why are you in politics?
I have become dismayed with the direction our communities have been faring over the past decades. I felt I could not be a part of the solution unless I am actively involved in the political process. My desire to serve my people in the senate is driven by my passion for the progressive reform and development of people and society.
Again, I desire a bigger platform than my NGO to scale my ability to impact on more people and communities. This is not an overnight decision for me, but one that has come from serious contemplation and a burning passion to present myself as that leader who places people over politics and service more than anything else.
How much impact had you made in your constituency before now?
Through the Luka Agbu Memorial Foundation, I have been able to achieve successes purely from my personal earning in our communities in the following areas: Sponsored about 200 orphans and other underprivileged students in various public and private schools, convened Taraba Emerging Leaders Conference in September 2016, Youth Leadership Conference tagged “Better Leaders-Better Communities” in Donga, IBI, Takum, Zing, Wukari and Jalingo in 2017.
I also provided materials and financial support to about 30 widows from Ndo-Yaku village in Wukari Local government who were greatly affected by the herdsman/farmers crises. Sometimes ago, I supplied food items and mattresses to about 50 families in the IDP camp in Wukari East Primary School during the herdsmen/farmers crisis and I Supplied food items to families in the IDP camp in Ussa and Takum during the 2017 herdsmen/farmers crisis.
Convened a bimonthly life skills workshop for the scholarship beneficiaries of the Luka Agbu Memorial Foundation, which aimed at teaching them values and leadership skills.
In the past, I also convened a career guidance summit for all the secondary schools in Wukari in 2016, provided books to the library of the Government Secondary School in Wukari in 2015.
Organized an annual football tournament tagged “United4Peace” for the entire Southern Taraba region with the aim of promoting peace and harmony. This event brought together football teams from Ibi, Wukari, Takum, Donga and USSA LGA.
Why the choice of Senate?
I chose Senate above every other representative positions because I believe I have the capacity and competence to offer quality leadership to a larger society. I have what it takes to bring people together and turn things around for the better in the senatorial district. I think there is a lack of young, capable, intelligent and self-sustaining professionals in the political space. I want to fill that void by presenting myself for service to our people.
How easy will you be able to win considering the number of persons who are gunning for the post?
I believe I will win despite the number of persons running because I am bringing to the table a unique and unfamiliar pattern of leadership. My leadership model is the servant leadership model. I am a leader that places people above politics. I am passionate about elevating the lives of people. My opponents are predominantly obsessed with political gains while I am all about the people.
Using the platform of PDP, isn’t it going to be challenging?
I intend to run for office under the PDP platform. I have always been a member of the PDP. So the PDP platform isn’t sacrosanct, however for now that’s the best platform for me because that’s the platform that provides the wings that majority of my people can be accommodated with ease. It’s not an end, but it’s a means like all other platforms to the end.
What do you have to say about the conflict between the executive and the legislature?
It is a normal conflict. Even in matured democracies, such kind of conflicts occurs. It shows that our democracy is growing. However, both parties need to talk more so that they can resolve all internal conflicts before they come to the open. Everyday conflicts aren’t nice for our democratic consolidation processes.
What do you plan to do differently if elected?
My people, like most others do, do not have a proper representation in the federal level. They’ve been shut-charged for a long time because politics have been played as a selfish game by majority of the leaders. My core interest is to fully represent them very well, to make decent laws for them, so that institutions like the Federal University at Wukari will have a legal framework like all other tertiary institutions and many more.
I’ll also make sure that majority of our people come to the federal level to work: to gain experience, etc. It’ll amaze you, of the more than 200 federal agencies our people, from Taraba, aren’t in half of them and no one talks, it means the current leaders in the federal level aren’t doing enough. Ultimately, as an engineer with international experience, my dear beloved Nigeria will benefit from me.
I bring a new perspective to our politics. My perspective is ideas driven – ideas to deal with the challenges our people are faced with. My desire is to inculcate in our political culture a brand of politics driven by ideology. Finally, my interest is completely divorced from self-perpetuation for material benefits because I’m not a hungry man in any way.
Your state has been undergoing some security challenges, what do you have to say about this?
The situation is improving on one side and failing on another side. The incessant attacks on villages in southern Taraba and the rising criminality in Jalingo city are disheartening. While on the other hand, there is relative peace with fewer attacks from other parts of the state.
Conflicts are rampant in our country because among other challenges, majority of our people are seriously very poor. Studies have confirmed that conflicts thrive where poverty is endemic. This means that we need to reduce the poverty level in our local communities especially, if we’re interested in reducing the current level of conflicts.
How would you rate your state governor?
Governing millions of people amidst scarce resources is a rocket science that appears to be impossible. On this note, I think the current leaders in the whole country are trying their level best. We need to pray for them and where necessary point out areas they need to improve on and also when the need to speak with our voices for or against them arises, we need to do it without malice. This is the beauty of democracy. The current Governor, to me, is doing all his best. May God bless him all the more.
What is your advice as we approach the 2019 general election?
Vote only credible leaders. We cannot compete properly in Nigeria, if we vote for and allow only those who are habitual politicians to lead us. Other states in the federation are leaving us behind, because we have been sending to Abuja those who are largely not qualified to make laws for us, those who are not qualified to represent our interests and those who cannot do proper oversight to correct the injustices against us in the federal level.
Hence, come 2019 we should make a bold positive statement with our votes. I am one of those positive voices, please vote for progress, and vote me into the Senate.