Hon. Latep Dabang is the caretaker committee chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau State. In this interview with MUSA PAM in Jos, Dabang says with the election of the first female senator from the state and the party’s popularity, better days are ahead for the state
Is it true that the senator-elect, Prof. Nora Daduut is the first female senator from Plateau State?
It is true that she is the first female senator from Plateau State and the second in the North Central after Senator Gbemisola Saraki. For us in the APC in Plateau State, we are extremely glad to produce such woman of substance to represent Plateau South and indeed all of us at the National Assembly. It is not be the first time we are sending a woman for such assignment, except that this is the first female senator.
We had elected women such as Hon. Joyce Ramnap, Hon. Dina Lar, Hon. Zainab Dogo, Hon. Alice Bature, Hon. Kaneng Gyang Fulani and Hon. Esther Simi Dusu into the Plateau State House of Assembly at different times.
Even though some of these women were not only elected on the platform of the APC, but also on the platform of the PDP, for us as APC, we are glad that we have set the pace in producing the first female senator on the Plateau. We are happy about it.
The people of Plateau South Senatorial District have spoken by electing Prof. Nora Dadu’ut as their senator and that the people are in love with the party in the state. I was very confident APC would clinch the senatorial seat during the by-election because PDP is never a force to reckon with in Plateau State.
APC is solidly on ground in Plateau State and most especially in Plateau South and we possess an array of grassroots politicians who had propelled the party to victory in any elections. In Southern Plateau alone, we produced the governor, deputy speaker House of Representatives, minister, members of the national and state house of assembly and other top notch politicians that have lived up to their responsibilities in connecting with the people.
So the APC will always sail to victory when the election comes.
When the APC came on board there was a promised to ensure more women get into elective position, but reverse is the case now. Why?
We in the APC have put it in our constitution that women and people with disability should be encouraged into elective positions. There must be space for them.
But when it comes to elections, it is the will of the people not only the APC because there are others political parties too. So when we look at that aspect, it may not be easy for a political party to say we have reserved seats for women.
So at the end of it, it is the general public that will decide. What we try to do is to encourage, and in doing it we try as much as possible to bring forward women of substance so that other women would be encourage not just woman but women that we know.
It’s a common practice. You don’t take people for granted. You have to bring aspirants that people will have confidence in. I want to appreciate the role played by women during the by-election. Most of them turned out even though the turnout was not as we expected, but women came out to vote and make sure one of their own win the by-election.
Do you think APC will continue in power beyond 2023 in Plateau State?
If you have been following political events on the Plateau, you would know that the 2015 election that brought APC on board was not a mistake and the 2019 election was a confirmation. We won convincingly in Southern and Central zones and the only area we had challenges was the Northern zone.
Our battleground has always been Jos South, Barkin-Ladi and Riyom LGAs, but Jos East, Jos North and Bassa local government areas have always been won by APC during elections and therefore, the pace have been set for APC to be in charge beyond 2023.
The by-election was a further confirmation that the people of Plateau State have not departed from believing in the APC. The by-election reaffirmed our hope and gave of more reason to believe that APC is in charge and will still be in charge beyond 2023.
Looking at the APC structure vis-a-vis governance in Plateau State, people cry of hardship and hunger, how is it that yet the party is still winning elections? What is the secret?
You see, despite the difficulties Nigerians are going through as a result of COVID-19 and recession which is not peculiar to the country, the citizens have shown that they are still in love with the party because President Muhammadu Buhari has put in place friendly policies that have cushioned the effect of hardship on the masses.
The present administration of the APC government has also put on ground deliberate youth-friendly programmes that address the plights of women and youths in the country.
If you look at what is happening at the federal and state levels, I am not surprise that Nigerians will continue to keep faith with the APC despite of the suffering and hardship facing the country. When the APC came into power, particularly those of us in Plateau State, the first it did was to stabilise the issue of insecurity in the state.
People are now free to go about their businesses and farmers go to farm without fear. People are happy that the security has returned 90 per cent to Plateau State.
Security has also improved at the federal level. What we are having now are isolated activities of kidnappers and bandits. But the general insecurity caused by Boko Haram during the Goodluck Jonathan Administration, you will agree with me, are not there again; things have largely stabilise