Interview with the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) plateau state Chief Latep Dabang reveals a number of issues ranging from the issues in Jos North LGA and the appointments of a selected few which continues to generate discourse in the political space. enjoy the excerpts below :
The Governor just swore in new commissioners as well as some LG chairmen who are candidates in the LG elections that was not conducted what is your take Mr. Chairman.
This is not the first time things like this is happening on the plateau, remember during the PDP administration of Joshua Chibe Dariye a similar situation happened where candidates where made chairmen of transition committees, incidentally I was the chairman of PLASIEC at that time and we were ready to conduct elections so to me, whether they are candidates or no candidates, the fact remains it is not practicable for now to conduct elections in those local government areas.
But the APC government in different times alluded to the fact that there is peace on the plateau don’t you think this will change that fact?
There is peace on the plateau and we are enjoying relative calmness yet, that does not translate to absolute peace if you are conducting elections in those areas. we know what LG elections stands for, we know what it means to conduct LG elections, even in LG that were adjudged to be peaceful, you know how it ended? It was war in some local government, I remember Mangu and Mikang local government, and it takes weeks for the security to bring those LG under control even when we thought these LG were peaceful! But you are aware that these four local government in question are the flash points of insecurity in the state, so, when we say there is relative peace in those four LG it does not translate that we can take the risk of conducting elections, in any case the governor and the security agencies are in a better position to ascertain whether elections can be conducted in those places.
What about insinuations that a certain chairman is to pressurize or box the governor to a corner into creating new districts and chiefdom for the interest of a selected few especially in Jos-North LG?
How will that come to be? Because the last time I check the exercise for the establishment of district, village areas and chiefdom is over, the governor already had pronounced chiefdom and those chiefdom are already in operation and what has a transition chairman to do with creation of Emirates? Or chiefdom, this position is a clear mischief form the opposition
What areas is the governor mapping for legacy in the second tenure?
The governor is clear about the programmes of activities which has direct impact on the citizens this include empowerment, education etc again the governors’ five point policy has not change. You are aware that there are many legacy projects ongoing in different parts of the states so I think it’s a continuation, it has not change
What do you have to say about the lopsided appointments by the governor?
How lopsided is the appointments? What are the appointments so far? The appointments to the best of my knowledge is the SSG, CHIEF OF STAFF, and commissioners, there is no LG that had no commissioner, and some have two particularly LG that have two constituencies , so nothing have really changed
Ok, what will you say about the appointments of the chief of staff and SSG
There are many factors in making political appointment one is to reward hard work for their performance, two is to encourage those who do not perform well to step up and they can also perform, so if you look where the SSG and chief of staff, you will realize the block votes from that side hence, the SSG comes from Jos-North and the chief of Staff from Shendam, what is the big deal about that? Next time people should learn to key in and participate so as to expect this kind of patronage, I think people are being rewarded for putting the party in the right perspective.
Party chairman sir, what can you say is the gains of the state in view of the relationship of the Governor with the central Government?
That he is the chairman of Northern Governors forum is that a qualification for you to say plateau must have everything? Before governor Lalong there was somebody who chair that forum, tell me what had happen in those states? To emphasize on the matter that because Lalong is the chairman of Northern Governors forum hence he should have special attention of the president I think is blackmail. There is nothing that made governor Lalong so special than the other governors of other states in any case, that he is the Governor of Northern governors Forum (NGF) it is something that we shall remain proud of on the plateau, for his colleagues to have found him worthy to be their leader is significant in many ways among which responsibility and accountability and we are proud of that. Nobody should allude to it in any form of special relationship but if there is any, good we shall leverage on it for the development of the state.
Mr. Chairman Sir, we hear people talk about the plateau legacy, what do have to say about the legacy so far?
Plateau legacy! Well Under the APC we have what is called the Lalong legacy project this project targets hospitals, roads and schools this is distributed all over the state, the idea is not just to service the existing structures on ground but to over tune existing structures to modern facilities and that is what the project is doing to many schools. It may interest you to note that this government took absolute interest in education and employed about a thousand or two thousand teachers into the primary and secondary schools, so if you input these teachers into the system you will see the transformation which I believe is already yielding results because he has employed and he now trying to make the environment conducive for learning shows focus.
Lastly, what is the focal point of this administration in the second dispensation?
Well, the governor have has not deviated from the focal policy framework. We shall stick to the five point policy there is no new approach rather we shall consolidate on the existing. Again let me say that APC has been accepted by the people of plateau state and we shall consolidate, making sure the opportunity is not wasted
Looking at the judgments of the tribunal, what will be you reaction and advice to the opposition?
The judgment was a confirmation of the wheel of the people of plateau state, so if I were to be in PDP and to advice the candidate I will say we have no basis going to the tribunal because all issues that were raised are baseless hence the judgment is a confirmation of the facts, the opposition should be good players, to be good losers, the way I see it, is like somebody is trying to milk the candidate because he has some resources. If you are in the court room and you listen to the argument of the lawyers you will realize that there is no need for appeal, for me, we are waiting and I believe by the end, plateau will be better.
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