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.
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