We’ve delivered dividends of democracy -HonLonggap




Honourable Komsol Alphonsus Longgap, a member representing Mikang/Quaan-Pan/Shendam federal constituency, Plateau state, in this interview with AHMID LAWAL, spoke on his one year achievements in office, the state governor’s efforts in tackling insecurity, among other issues.

Looking back, what are your experiences and achievements as a NASS member in the last one year?

I have been asked this question many times, and answer is that I came into National Assembly and I met Nigeria. Nigeria is made up of different people with different characters and cultural backgrounds. I have learnt a lot from them and now I have working knowledge of lawmaking in a more professional way than before.

I can say I am more knowledgeable than I was before I met many good and very experienced lawmakers across the country. This to me is one big experience and achievement.

You paid for JAMB registration for youth in your constituency, was it part of your constituency projects?

Whatever you do in your constituency: be it palliative or intangible assistance could be termed constituency or legislative duties.

I did register JAMB for some people in my constituency this was just to make impact in their lives through assisting them to acquire knowledge. I have a lot of programmes for the youth including encouraging them to be educated, help them to further their education, and thus through impact on their lives.

The purchase of JAMB forms was part of the encouragement and it was done to assist many who were qualified to go to the university but could not afford the form to do so. Because they had certain challenges which hindered them from obtaining the form were asked to register their names for assistance. Essentially, it was meant for those who were willing and qualified for tertiary institution but could not afford the cost of JAMB forms. It was not for everybody but the disadvantaged ones who were identified.

How many bills have you sponsored, and what were your reasons for doing so?

I have sponsored three bills: One for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, Piapung, another for the establishment of a Federal Polytechnic in  Shendam, while the other was a bill for the establishment of a Federal University of Agriculture in Namu. These bills were because my constituency is greatly in need of federal presence. Take the case of the federal polytechnic and university in Shendam, you know education is key to the development of the society and since we neither had a university and a polytechnic we are at a disadvantaged.

 These are bills if passed into and the tertiary institutions are sited, it will improve the lives of my constituents, motivate them to go to school, as well as attracts development.

What are your legislative agenda?

You will understand that there are basic necessities of life, we are talking about education, there is empowerment, agriculture, and health care facilities and services. But I intend to focus on education and agriculture because of their necessity for our people. Though there are other areas that will be complemented but my focus is on education.  Even now, I am trying to get solar light in schools to enable the SS3 students prepare for their final examinations without power hinderance.

You will understand that my constituency lacks electricity so I need to find a way to encourage the younger ones so that they can study their books and pass their examinations. And you know most students study at the night, so I am looking at providing one thousand (1000) solar lights to distribute to the SS3 students within my constituency. This is already included in my budget. Also, there is school renovation and constructions of new classrooms blocks for students to ensure there is atmosphere conducive for learning by the students.

Also, in agriculture, I am working empowerment for farmers: provision of fertilizers to farmers and some pumping machine for irrigation purposes. All these are incentives to boost productivity in agriculture so that they can be self-sufficient.  In terms of security, I am synergizing with the local and the state governments for protection of lives and property.

The state governor, Simon Lalong, is already doing well in this direction. For instance; the Shendam local government where I come from, there is tight security due to the combined effort of the governor and the local government chairman. Besides, I am part of the collaborative efforts being made to ensure that adequate security is guaranteed. I can tell you that the insecurity situation in my constituency has reduced because of the combined efforts of the governor, the council chairman and the members of the National Assembly.

How will you rate your governor’s performance in the state?

As an APC government, when we came in, we told Nigerians that the insecurity situation will be tackled and reduced to a barest minimum because the lives of Nigerians are very important and you can bear me witness that President Buhari and Governor Simon Lalong have done well in this direction. In terms of security, Lalong has done tremendously well and the magic is his openness, transparency and dialogue among the people.

 My governor is not bias, he treats everybody equally, he is very accommodating and patient with everyone. This is why we have peace today in Plateau state. Unlike before, we can now sleep with our two eyes closed and above all, the governor has been in government and he knows the state very well so he is able to put things in order and his achievements are so enormous. We should not forget that we cannot have development without peace and he has made it possible that peace returns to the state.

Could speak on the recent reduction in fuel pump price, is it accurate now?

The APC government came in to settle some challenges confronting the country. You can see that President Muhammed Buhari has Nigerians at heart, and he working to fulfill some of the promises he made to Nigerians. These challenges are mostly the ones related to reduction of poverty. If you look at the income of the country, you will agree with me that he is trying,

In the past when we talked about removing oil subsidy people were afraid because the money would go into the wrong hands. Not anymore because the federal government has ensured that the money from subsidy is well used and I must also thank the Central Bank governor for the monetary policy that he has put in place.

You can see the exchange rate has been stable, but for the COVID- 19 pandemic, the exchange rate would have been very stable before now. Since the present government came in it has not battered economy, instead the APC federal and state governments are working hard to revive the economy and I know before the end of this tenure things will improve drastically.

The pandemic has caused so many problems, can the country cope with the aftermath?

This is a global issue, even in developed countries it has affected them a lot leading to job lose, but things would bounce back to normal way soon. There would be light at the end of the tunnel and Nigerians too will be back on track. Of course, the virus is real and has affected the entire world including Nigeria, I believe this is a passing phase and Nigerians will get through it very soon.

On the $22.7bn loan request

Borrowing money is not a sin, and it is allowed in as much as it would be used in solving problems and keeping the country running. Even developed countries borrow money. We approved it because we want the country to get back at its feet after the lockdown, and we know it will be appropriately used.

 What advice do you have for your constituents?

They should be patient with me. I expect to push through many development projects and ensure they have dividends of democracy. Besides, they should try and abide by the safety rules against COVID-19 to stay save. I believe things will get better very soon.

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You can see the exchange rate has been stable, but for the COVID- 19 pandemic, the exchange rate would have been very stable before now. Since the present government came in it has not battered economy, instead the APC federal and state governments are working hard to revive the economy and I know before the end of this tenure things will improve drastically.

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