By Victor Nick Gai
Hon. Edward Gideon Baraya, member representing Karim 2 constituency, is a model of a ‘complete politician’. He has been able to blend his vast expertise as a technocrat with the goal of legislating for good governance.
He has the necessary prerequisites; not only those of a politician but a leader and representative of the people. By his principle, the interest and welfare of his people is paramount. This, he has proven at many stages of his political career. Not long ago, the Honourable member built, equipped and commissioned two clinics at different locations in his constituency. This he did to cushion the health challenges of his people.
It is not by happenstance that Baraya is doing well in the area of political leadership. He is a product of a vibrant intellectual background which is complemented by his vast experience in public service; an experience that was heralded by years of hard work and commitment.
Born 55 years ago in Bambur, Karim Lamido LGA of Taraba state, Baraya attended Bambur Primary School from 1968 to 1974 and Government Secondary School Jalingo between 1974 and 1979. He proceeded to College of Preliminary Studies Yola, from 1979 to 1981 for his IJMB and the University of Maiduguri from 1981 to 1984 and 1996 to 1998, where he bagged a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with major in Finance, respectively.
Hon Baraya began his career as a teacher with the Gongola state Schools Management Board from 1985 to 1986 before joining the First Bank Plc in 1986 where he had an illustrious career spanning 25 years. Within those successful years, he held positions such as Branch Manager, Accountant, Personnel Manager, Senior Manager and Business Development Manager.
He belongs to several professional bodies including: Associate Member, Nigeria Institute of Management (AMNIM) and Fellow, Institute of Industrialists and Corporate Administrators (FIICA). It has been estimated that he attended about 15 professional training courses that border on management, creativity and strategic thinking, human resources, marketing and business communication amongst others.
He has received various awards and recognition including the National Assembly Merit Award 2014, Scorecard Merit Award by the House of Representatives Committee on Governmental Affairs.
His political career is the icing on the cake which qualifies him as a “complete politician”-blending a track record of public service as a banker and the art of legislating.
He started his political career in 2011, having won the election as member, representing Karim 2 constituency to the Taraba state House of Assembly under the platform of the PDP. He was reelected as member in the 8th Assembly under the same political party in 2015. Hon Baraya is indeed one of the most vibrant members of the 7th and current 8th Assembly of the Taraba state House of Assembly. He held the position of Chairman, Special Task Force on Revenue Generation, which had the Mandate of repositioning the revenue generating machinery of the state as well as rescue the state from the effect of the dwindling revenue from oil. Since his appointment as Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation in the 7th Assembly, he has maintained that position, obviously due to his outstanding performance and versatility in financial matters.
By temperament and disposition, he is one of the reserved and disciplined guys in the hollow chambers. His impact and presence is hardly felt and he is by every means less controversial. However, when the opportunity presents itself, his impact is felt greatly and he is able to galvanize the House to a desired end.
Basically, Baraya is a product of a humble background, where hard work, commitment, transparency, honesty, diligence, prudence and the fear of God are the basic norms. Undoubtedly, these factors have worked to his advantage.
Narrating his experience, the lawmaker said, ‘I grew up in a disciplined family. And let me make it known that my own grandparents were the first people to accept Christianity in my locality. They were the first to accept western education. My grandfather died as a clergyman and I grew up with him. No asset was left for us other than education and that was why we pursued it with all seriousness. I achieved this as a result of the fear of God and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of becoming wealthy’.
Also, his background has a link with his philosophy of life and work ethics.That combination was really instrumental to his success.
‘In fact, in my life, I always loved challenging jobs. I don’t like routine jobs because they don’t add value to me. But those that are challenging, those that make you think, read wide and come out with new ideas are the ones that make you a man. If you give me room to turn something from black to white or from white to black, that gives me time to think, to be creative and innovative. That is what life is all about! I have served in the bank for 25 years and for that period; I was never given a query for late coming talk less of any fraudulent practice. The records are there! That is why whatever job is given to me; I do it with all seriousness and gladness. That is what made me to be what I am today’’.
Ultimately, life, they say, does not depend on what you have but on how much you give to the world you live in. For Hon. Edward Gideon Baraya, the 55 years old dynamic politician, the sky is just the beginning of his exploits. He is indeed an asset to his constituency, Taraba state and Nigeria as a whole. When God grants him long life, it is expected that his state and Nigeria would benefit a whole lot more from his vast experience and knowledge.