By Chijioke Kingsley
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Minister of Labour and Employment, Barr. Simon Lalong has won the Plateau South Senatorial District of the State held during the February 2023 general elections.
Lalong had lost to his opponent, AVM Napoleon Bali of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), at the polls.
But the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Jos on Monday, nullified the victory of Senator Bali who had been occupying the Senatorial seat at the National Assembly and declared former Governor Lalong as the winner of the polls.
The Tribunal based its judgement on the grounds that the PDP did not have a legally constituted State EXCO to field a candidate for the February 2023 general elections.
Going by the Judgement, our correspondent has asked the question, what will happen next now that the Minister has worn his Senatorial seat?
However, responding to the victory, the All Progressive Congress (APC), said the victory is well deserved, adding that the Tribunal based its ruling mainly on ground one of Lalong’s Petition that the Plateau State PDP ought not to have participated in the last General Elections as it did not have the legal structure to have validly nominated and fielded candidates for the National elections due to its disobedience of Court Orders especially the Justice S. P Gang of Plateau State High Court’s unassailable judgment and directive to the party to conduct a Congress to constitute a legally binding party Executive Committee which it bluntly refused to do so since 2020.
According to the statement signed by the APC State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Sylvanus Namang, it said: “It was based on the PDP shooting itself on the foot that Justice Ishaku Kunda also of the Jos High Court ruled against its participation in the 2021 Local Government election which was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court respectively.
“The APC has always believed in the sanctity of the judiciary being part of the electoral process, especially its sacred role of adjudication and arbitration over dissatisfaction by aggrieved parties and candidates in elections.
“Today’s landmark judgement is illuminating and puts to rest the controversy that PDP has no legally constituted Exco.
“We also want to applaud justices O. Elekwa and O. A. Adetujoye who also concurred with the lead judgement.
“The judgment, we believe is a clear roadmap to better days ahead for the APC in the state in the remaining Plateau Tribunal judgments.
“The entire APC family therefore, heartily rejoices with our Principal, the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, a very patient, humble and tolerant leader, Lalong, over this remarkable victory at the Tribunal”, Namang said.
Similarly, the Minister, while responding to the Tribunal judgement said, he dedicates the victory to God and the people of Plateau South Senatorial District.
According to a statement signed by his Media Aid, Simon Makut Macham, Lalong said he commended the tribunal for painstakingly scrutinising his arguments and presentations of his party the APC which culminated in him being declared the duly elected Senator representing Plateau South Senatorial District.
He lauded the decision of the tribunal for nullifying the earlier declaration of his opponent and making him the winner, saying that it is victory for democracy and justice.