Biggs: APC has come to settle on the Plateau
In this interview with Seriki Adinoyi, a frontline All Progressive Congress gubernatorial aspirant in Plateau State and a seasoned technocrat, Mr Sunday Biggs assured that despite the internal crisis, no opposition can root out the APC in Plateau State in 2023.
What political experience do you have for the mission that awaits you?
I have been in the government hall for the past 23 years, having held various positions. I believe I have gained the experience required to add value to governance and take Plateau to the next level.
As a civil servant, do you think you can deal with all the political intrigues?
I have spent most of my life in Government House working closely with politicians; I know their ways and their feelings. I am a technocrat who has lived much of his life in a political environment, and that affected me as well.
Working at Government House with Governors, I am not like other civil servants who close at an official closing time. From 1999 to date, I have interacted with them, so I know the job requirements.
What will you do differently from what others have done if you are eventually elected Governor of Plateau State?
I am different from them; I have a different mentality and experience. So the people of the Plateau should expect something different from me. Having worked closely with three different administrations and understudied the various governors since 1999, one would expect that I learned a great deal from them.
I worked with the reorganized administration of Chief Joshua Dariye; I have worked with the Redemption administration of Senator Jonah Jang, and now with the Rescue administration of Rt. Honorable Simon Lalong. So I have the ability and the experience required to take Plateau to a greater height.
I saw the strengths and weaknesses of each administration. I will collect and gather all their forces to improve the fate of the state.
My administration will choose the virtues that are good and keep them, and for those that can’t have an effective impact on people, we’ll see how to tweak them.
So our package is going to be different. You can see that there is a youth revival in Plateau State politics. So for ‘Big Things Coming’, which is our slogan, it’s a movement that will galvanize all age groups, especially the younger generation.
The young people took over my project on themselves since I am one of them; they want to see a young person in this seat of power in the Plateau arrive in 2023. Young people have a special place on our agenda because without them there will be no future; their energy is needed in all sectors of society. If young people are given attention and their energy is properly harnessed and harnessed, it will not be wasted in social vices.
In your local community, there are several contenders on your party platform, with the APC jostling for the same ticket. How do you manage your relationship with them, is there a possibility of consensus?
We are very aware that the seat is reserved for one person, and in my party, the All Progressive Congress, and my local government, Mangu Local Government Area, there are seven of us at the moment, including the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Professor Sonnie Tyoden. But I can tell you that we are all talking to each other, trying to see how we can come to a consensus among ourselves.
We would not want this opportunity to pass us by as a people. As we always say, there should be civility in the way we conduct ourselves. Ultimately, we would rally around whoever emerged in the primaries to secure victory at the polls. It’s not a do-or-die deal; we are brothers and aware that in the end only one person will choose the ticket and fly the party flag.
We are trying to get APC to retain government in Plateau State in 2023, and the person is from us. The APC in Plateau State is a disciplined party; those who run its affairs have done a lot to reposition it and build a strong internal democracy, and party members are aware of this, so there are no internal disputes.
What is your assessment of the zoning arrangement in Plateau State?
It is a perfect system and arrangement that has stabilized the politics of our state. At the moment, ninety-nine percent of the protesters are from the Central Plateau zone, the other zones are aware of it, and no one is coming out. This is a political agreement between the three senatorial areas of the state, and it was not circumvented for any reason. We thank our leaders.
Do you have a new agenda to complement the existing one on the ground?
We live in a situation where there are global challenges, especially the global economic crisis. It has forced a lot of people to start thinking outside the box so that we can have a new impact on the lives of our people.
If we are given the opportunity to govern the state, we have to sort things out according to the circumstances we find ourselves in in Plateau State. We pray for things to get better, but if not, we have to think outside the box due to the meager resources available.
The era of bogus programs is long gone; we need to rationalize to see how we can prioritize what will benefit the state in the short term, and also see what we can do in the medium and long term. We must focus on peace and security; we know our recent history and we need to consolidate peace on the ground at this time. This is very crucial for the progress and development of the state.
The Peacebuilding Agency set up by the outgoing Governor, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, has achieved a lot in terms of peacebuilding. The Agency will be strengthened and encouraged to do more. We will build bridges across all divisions and strengthen the existing unity between the various ethnic and religious groups of the Plateau.
Young people form the bulk of your supporters, what program do you have for them?
One of the problems currently facing all states in Nigeria is youth unemployment. There are two issues here; those who are employable and those who are not. We will present a program that would answer these two questions. It’s no longer about white-collar jobs, it’s about entrepreneurship. As I said earlier, they cannot be overlooked; they will be given special attention.
Recently, your party, the state’s All Progressive Congress, has been plunged into a serious internal crisis. Do you see him solving the crisis and coming out strong enough to win the 2023 election?
When the party came on board in 2015 it was given all sorts of names just to discourage people from embracing it, but today it has become a force to be reckoned with and the number one party on the Plateau. You can see how the party’s fortunes have changed over the years. The current governor and other stalwarts have done much to root the party.
Initially, some people thought the party would die out after this administration’s first term in 2019, but it went ahead to win by a wide margin for the second term. As for the secondary elections, the party is ready to go. The party arrived with a few ruling states, but today you can see that it has a lot more under its control right now.
The party must therefore build on these successes to ensure that it garners support for the 2023 elections. The narrative is no longer about the party itself, but about presenting credible candidates that people aspire to. So far so good, the party leadership has done its best to resolve its internal crisis, and even more so that we present a common front at the polls so that popular candidates can emerge and fly the party flag for all . posts.
The Peacebuilding Agency set up by the outgoing Governor, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, has achieved a lot in terms of peacebuilding. The Agency will be strengthened and encouraged to do more. We will build bridges across all divides and strengthen the existing unity between the various ethnic and religious groups of the Plateau