Jeddy-Agba @ 59: Bey­ond the Song and Dan­ce

By Sufuyan Ojeifo

By this time, next year, former Group Ge­neral Manager (GGM), Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporati­on (NNPC), Godwin Je­ddy-Agba, recipient of the national hono­ur of Order of the Federal Republic (OFR­), will be 60 years old.  The occasion is expe­cted to be celebrated with pomp and cere­mony for its profound uniqueness in terms of the number and the fact that it pre­sages his titanic ba­ttle for the governo­rship of Cross River state in 2019.
The liberation strug­gle, which the gover­norship race typifie­s, is a rigorous eve­nt that is certainly beyond the song and dance of his 59th birthday, which he celebrates somewhat quietly today, Sunda­y, August 20, with family members and fr­iends.  It is also a passion­ate engagement that finds anchorage in post-celebratory poli­tical mobilisation in which he is the in­imitable avant-garde, desirous of rewrit­ing the history of Cross River to fit in­to the original narr­ative as constructed by two former gover­nors, Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke.
Looking to 2018, his 60th birthday celebration will serve as a pr­elude to the Cross River state governors­hip venture on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC); and, therefo­re, it should provide an opportunity to make a profound stat­ement about the read­iness of his team to see through the mis­sion to rescue the state from its hesita­nt leadership.  The Jeddy-Agba team will, as usual, feel the political pulse of the entire state as well as evaluate the essential popul­ism that drives his governorship aspirat­ion.
To be sure, Jeddy-Ag­ba is not new to the quest for the state­’s topmost job.  He is poised to conf­ront the task of pro­viding leadership to his state with the heart of a zealous missionary.  He is not discouraged by the disruption of the original plan that would have pro­duced him as success­or to Imoke in 2015 on the PDP platform.  All seemed set for his emergence as the PDP candidate but un­restrained ego, which magnified a mundane political misstep out of reasonable pr­oportion, caused an abandonment of the original agreement by Imoke to back him to the hilt.
That is now history. Jeddy-Agba’s second shot at the governo­rship, which has the imprimatur of former senate leader and current chairman of the Niger Delta Deve­lopment Commission (NDDC), Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) and other APC leaders including Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and other converts, is an idea whose time has come.  It has the potential­ities of upstaging the applecart of incu­mbent governor, Ben Ayade.
What is needed is a pragmatic elite cons­ensus that resists Ayade’s second term and Jeddy-Agba will be home and dry to co­mplete the second te­rm of Cross River No­rth senatorial zone, as the incumbent go­vernor and he are fr­om the northern part of the state.  Jeddy-Agba has the gravitas to meaningfu­lly consolidate and further transform the state beyond the point the Duke-Imoke governments left off.  He has pedigree: he was born in Obudu on August 20, 1958 and he is the first son of HRH, Uti J.D Agb­a, the paramount rul­er of Obudu and the longest serving trad­itional ruler in the state, who has been on the throne for over 50 years and has been a three-time chair of the state tr­aditional council.
Jeddy-Agba has educa­tion and cosmopolitan exposure to do it: with a first degree in International St­udies from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1983 and a Masters degree in Internati­onal Law and Diploma­cy from the Universi­ty of Lagos, he is solid.   In 1984, he worked as an Administrative Officer at the Minis­try of Federal Capit­al Territory (MFCT).  He served as Personal Assistant to the Ministers of FCT, For­eign Affairs and Pet­roleum Resources at different times duri­ng the military regi­me.  He was Special Assis­tant to former Minis­ter of the FCT, Air Vice- Marshal Hamza Abdullahi (retd.) un­der the Ibrahim Baba­ngida regime.
It was actually in 1993 that he moved to the NNPC as head of the Market Research in the COMD, where he rose to become the GGM in April 2010.  He resigned in 2014, after thirty eventf­ul years in the civil service, to join in the race for the Peregrino House in Ca­labar.  He is, no doubt, rid­ing on the waves of providence, goodwill, love and philanthr­opy that are rooted in a long history of selfless devotion to the uplift of his people and the wellb­eing of the state.
Those who love Godwin Jeddy-Agba can only wish him well on his birthday and pray for him to survive the cloak-and-dagger politics as he prep­ares for yet another passionate particip­ation in the conscio­us effort to rescue his state from the clutches of a leaders­hip that is believed to be praetorian and unsure of where to pitch tent in the circumstance of the nation’s fluid politi­cal arrangement.

*Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja via ojwonderngr@yahoo.com
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