Mrs Alice Demlong is the only female elected into the 8th Plateau State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress. In this interview with Yakubu Wuyep in Jos she speaks on the plight and challenges of women in politics and difficulties they go through in seeking elective positions in the Northern part of the Nigeria. Excepts:
It is interesting to note that you are one of the female elected member in the 8th assembly in Plateau State. How are you taking it ?
Well so far so good. I am Barrister Mrs Alice Demlong representing Pankshin-North constituency. I was previously with the PDP and politically known with the PDP. But things went wrong there and we who knew where we were going decided to find our way. It all had to do with the issue of delegates during the primaries. The list had to come from Government House, which means if you were not in the caucus, you just have to forget about it. So those of us who knew we were going to be sidelined because we were not in the caucus, we allto decoded opted out to where we could demonstrate or express our views.
Would you say that even with your election you have been accepted in the APC?
As a matter of facts it gladden my heart for leaving PDP because in my constituency, the PDP members are so crude in the sense that there is no transparency in whatever they did. Some of us were kicking against some of the things but we were suppressed, subjected, dejected and neglected. So we opted for were our voice could be heard. Really, it actually gladden my heart that I left the PDP because the officials of the party were behaving as members of cult .
You sound as if you were discriminated against because of your sex. How would you feel as the only female in the House of Assembly.?
I have to stand against the men in the primaries, I stood against bigger men for the secondary. To God be the glory, I will not be afraid of any men dominated House because from the beginning I slotted it out with them to be elected, so why should I entertain fear from them now that I have won the election No no no!, I don’t fear them. If I did I should have ran away starting from the primaries not after the secondary election where we have achieved victory for my party .
So tell me what was the magic you did to defeat the your opponent, the House Committee Chairman on Information and Communication, Hon. Dickat Plang?
Well, the secret is not from us but there was an option for people to express themselves, It was almost like a one party system where people have to accept it that the PDP and its umbrella was not the only option, but the truth of the matter is now that people had another option to express themselves whether to go this way or not to go this way. Fortunately for us we found ourselves on this platform that the people preferred. Also people were free to choose on their own and they knew what they wanted and went for it, it was no magic at all. People were only finding their voice and expression in a new party system that is more open than before.
As a lawyer and legislator- elect what are your plan for the people of your constituency?
My plans are many but foremost is to ensure that I join my colleagues in passing bills that are favourable to the people of my constituency, a bill that will care for the women and children because they are the vulnerable members of our society and the current ongoing mayhem in it.
From your experience what would your advice other young women like you who are aspiring to hold elective offices in the country most especially in gender sensitivity area like lawmaking?
My advice to younger women aspirant is to remain focus in their pursuit of their ambition into any political office. But my desire is to represent my people with good policy and to pursue it to the latter the logical conclusion. They should not relent until they achieve their quest.. Let me use this chance to urge the governor-elect to pleased look into the plight of women and to be gender sensitive. I will persuade the governor-elect to consider more women in appointive offices as a way of filling the gap since many of us are not in most of the elective offices.
What is your take on the state as it has been consider as a flash point in time of crises?
In this area I have one very vital thing to say and that is to appeal to the federal government to realize that we the women know and feel the pain of incessant crisis in the country. We are the only ones that are shouldering the responsibility of raising the family in the midst of the crisis. So, if you ask a man he cannot really fit into the shoe and devise answers until when ask a woman to represent us at the state and the federal level that we can actually have a stronger voice in seeking answers to the root causes of these crises. I will plead with the president-elect to have more women in to his cabinet..