Gyang Bere, Jos
Lumumba Dah-Adeh is the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) former members of the House of Representatives. He was also Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters. He expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Simon Lalong will win Plateau.
How prepared is the APC for the elections in Plateau State?
I am coordinating the elections of the governor in Plateau North but invariably it will involve all other candidates within the zone but my principal assignment is to deliver the governor. Of course, we know that there is an extent to which the election of the president will rob off on that of the governorship and also in campaigning for the governor all other candidates will benefit, therefore, it is the joy of the party that all its candidates are return in the next elections.
In view of the issue of bandwagon effect in 2015, Buhari won election and every candidate of APC rode on that victory to power, what are you doing to ensure that if he loses now, other APC candidates stand a chance based on their credibility?
Certainly, there are no two political situations that are the same. In 2015, APC wasn’t in power, it was a party fighting from outside against an incumbent President, so it was not surprising that the bandwagon effect was much to a large extent as a result of that. Today we are the incumbent in government, from the presidency with many other governors in place under the control of APC, on their own, the various governors, Senators and members of House of Representatives, they are already established on their own to complement one another, so bandwagon effect will be to the extent that more people are coming, not that it will affect the party in any way, because after the first election when the president is declared the winner, we can only benefit more.
But the APC rode on insecurity, corruption in 2015 to power but such challenges appear still overwhelming today, how will you convince the people of Plateau to vote for APC?
You know it even from the testimony across the country that Nigerians are happy and that they have hope that the present government is going to build on its achievement so far, notwithstanding some limitations arising from encumbrance and bottle neck of bureaucracy of the judiciary. To a large extent, this government has done well in the area of fighting insecurity and corruption. When APC government took over, quite a number of Local Government Areas were not under the control of Federal Government of Nigeria but Boko Haram, today, there is no Local Government Area that is under such control of the insurgents and that on its own is an achievement, not to talk about so many other areas.
But in Northern Plateau where you come from, the area has witnessed serious and massive killings under this administration. What do you say to that?
Certainly, I am disturbed. I am disturbed because even in my own local area, my village and community have all suffered such attacks and killings alleged to have been carried out by herdsmen or if you like as others will want to put it insurgents but the good news is that government has been able to curb it to a large extent and we can see that relative peace has returned. Even though we fill the pains of losing people and properties in the process but sometimes when such things happen we have to look forward, we are happy that peace has come, government is looking at the ways of relieving the pains of the incident on the people, I believe that if this government returns they are going to do just that.
Plateau North account for about 50 percent of the total votes in the state but today we have people scattered in different IDPs camps, don’t you think such events will affect the number of votes that the zone will turn in these elections?
Those figures could have been said to be correct in the time past but because like you said, the displacement has affected the people in the northern zone to the extent that some people have moved out of the state, some people have gone to other parts of the state, by the voter registration figure we are getting from INEC as of now, I won’t say the percentage has changed, Plateau North produce a little more than 50 percent of votes expected from Plateau State. But not withstanding the displacement and relocation of less than 50 percent of the total votes, we are confident, considering the achievements of the government of the day in Plateau State, of turning in more than 80 percent of the total votes. As of today, we have more than 1.1 million registered voters in Plateau North and APC is going to take not less than 80 percent of it following the support and encouragement we are getting from the people at the grassroots.
But those who helped the governor win in 2015 are no longer with him, how do you hope to make it?
We have since overcome all these things, Plateau has past that level, Plateau will only assess Governor Lalong on the basis of what he has done not going back to the days of the other party. Like I said earlier, the majority of the people of Plateau are happy that he has done fairly well, that if given another opportunity he will do much better for the people. I can’t say the situation is the same today, nobody is imposing anybody on anybody now, the other parties have their candidates and APC has its candidate, there is no basis for comparing what happened in 2015 to now.