Syndicate behind insecurity in Plateau – Plateau South senatorial LP candidate
Tobias Kwanmen, the senatorial candidate for Plateau South on the platform of the Labour Party speaks on his party’s chances in the upcoming election, among sundry issues. CASAT TV writes
What are the chances of the Labour Party winning the Southern Senatorial District of Plateau?
I can tell you that the chances are bright as we approach the election date
My emergence as the senatorial candidate of the Labour Party is most reassuring. Labour Party was a party abandoned by others long ago but within a short period, we reactivated the party in the southern zone and the state.
During the party primaries on May 30, 2022, I was returned unopposed because there was nobody contesting with me based on consensus. My name was sent to INEC and the first list was published my name was there as the bonafide candidate of LP for the Southern Senatorial Zone.
What is your motivation that you want to represent Plateau South Senatorial district in the National Assembly?
It’s a long story but I will just tell you the summary of the whole thing is that it is divine. I had a dream to represent my people on July 27, 2017, in an area around Taraba State where I went to my farm.
By 2018, some people called me to Abuja and that was the first step.
We met in Abuja and they told me that they called me to pick the Senatorial form and I began to see the beginning of the fulfilment of that dream.
That election passed and a similar thing played out during the early stage of the preparation for the 2023 election
All through, it has been the people wanting me to serve them and this time around, I believe the will of the people will prevail.
Is it true that you have renounced your decision to contest for the Plateau South Senatorial election?
I want to make it clear that I have not renounced my ambition to represent my people at the Senate on the platform of the Labour Party and I will not do that for any reason. I must make this clarification because I have been hearing the same rumours. I think some people are up for mischief and fraud because I got to see a document signed by the state party chairperson that I have agreed to step down. They fraudulently forged my signature and used my photograph as a passport on the document. That is fraudulent.
But they have forgotten one thing in the electoral act, which states that whoever has the ticket must agree willingly to step down and must put it in writing which I have never done and I will not betray the trust of the people by doing it
And the procedure which must be followed is also there. The form which must emanate from INEC requires that the person who wishes to resign must sign and whoever is coming in as the new candidate must also sign that form should not be given to anyone except the national chairman of the party or national secretary of the party.
I have not seen it before I have only heard about the form from other parties that those forms have been given to state party chairmen but my chairman has not shown me anything. Yet, I have been hearing this rumour. I heard that the whole thing is being orchestrated by the state LP party chairman.
Why do you think they want to substitute you for another person?
The truth is that there is desperation from those who just want to be in power without any intention to deliver service to the people.
I suspect that my state chairman thinks that substituting me without my consent and against the law is an avenue for her to make money in this electoral season.
All these things she is throwing around using my name I am not ready and will never be ready to take it from her, but because of the love I have for the Labour Party, I would have dragged her somewhere because of the false document bearing my name, picture and forged signature which I heard she has been parading that I have renounced my senatorial ambition.
You are contesting with bigwigs like the incumbent governor and others in the Southern Senatorial Zone. How do you intend to challenge them and win the election?
I can tell you that I stand tall among them. Very tall with due respect, you know my governor is short and you know he is also short politically. On the other hand, I am tall because I am a grassroots politician, full shoulder, who traverses the six LGAs that make up the Plateau South Senatorial Zone. And 95 per cent of all the polling units, wherever I go in all the polling units I must have people who know me with my antecedent and that’s what makes me a politician.
What do you consider as the major challenge facing your constituency that you intend to address if voted into power?
If you come to Plateau South Senatorial district, which happens to be where the state governor, Simon Lalong hails from, you will wonder what he has been doing in the past seven years as governor.
From Langtang to Wase, there is no bridge linking the two LGAs. You cross by canoe to other places even in Wase town you must cross by canoe because the existing bridge is dilapidated. That is the situation in other places across the state. So, my people need me because they know I have them at heart, I always struggle to see that we can get things done. I am not the person that when I speak it is thrown under the table, this time around my people said why not you, go and try there… they are human beings like you.
These big wigs you are talking about including the governor. I see them as walk over during the forthcoming election. My governor, Lalong has done nothing to deserve re-election to any position. You have not done well as governor for seven years and you want the people to re-elect you as Senator. It doesn’t work that way
Yes, the governor may have done one or two things in some areas but they are not enough to earn him a fresh mandate to any elective position, especially that of the Senate
How are your constituents receiving your candidature?
As a candidate, you are supposed to go to people but in my case, my people come to me, on phone and personally, even this morning the number of calls received is too much. That is to tell you how happy and hopeful they are regarding my Senatorial ambition. I may not have looted funds to spend but the people strongly believe in me that, we will get somewhere.
Do you think INEC is on the right course?
Yes, because human beings cannot be 100 per cent pure but with God all things are possible.
I think so far so good, INEC has made some changes which are crucial to the success of the coming election especially the BVAS machine that they will use was tested and the result was a little bit convincing.
I think we should applaud INEC and give them some little trust to continue and conclude what they have started