Sunday, April 14, 2024

Lalong may dump FEC to join Senate

Except for last-minute change of mind, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, is set to resign his position from the Federal Executive Council to join the 10th Senate.

An indication to this effect emerged on Thursday when the Independent National Electoral Commission presented a Certificate of Return to Lalong as the rightful winner of the Plateau South senatorial election following the Court of Appeal ruling to that effect.

It was gathered from credible sources that Lalong had weighed his options and eventually decided to quit the Federal Executive Council in order to join the 10th Senate as an elected Senator representing Plateau South.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had nullified the participation of the People’s Democratic Party and its senatorial candidate in the February 25 National Assembly elections for Plateau South Senatorial District, Napoleon Bali, on the ground of refusal to carry out a lawful order of court.

Delivering judgement, a three-member panel led by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu declared as unlawful and wasted votes cast for PDP in the election and declared, Lalong who is the immediate-past governor of Plateau State, as the rightful winner of the Plateau South Senatorial District election.

Lalong, who stood for the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, had emerged second in the senatorial election.

Justice Williams-Dawodu held that the PDP and its candidate have no legal ground to participate in the election having failed to obey the judgment of a Plateau High Court that the party should conduct lawful congresses for the purpose of having officers for Wards, Local Governments and State Council.

Lalong, a two-term governor of Plateau State, had contested but lost the February 25, 2023 election.

INEC had declared Napoleon Bali of the PDP as winner of the election.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections, Lalong had headed for the tribunal, which ruled in his favour.

Delivering judgment, chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Mahmoud Tukur, held that the votes scored by the PDP candidate in the election were wasted votes as he was invalidly nominated

The judgment held that as of the time of the nomination, the PDP had no valid structure in the state.

Bali had rejected the result of the tribunal and filed an appeal.

On Thursday, Lalong stormed the INEC headquarters in Abuja, alongside some of his associates, to pick up the certificate, which was presented to him by Mohammed Haruna, a National Commissioner.

After this, he took to his Twitter handle to say, “Today I received the certificate of return at the INEC Headquarters from the National Commissioner Mohammed Haruna.”

His action shows he might quit his role as Labour Minister, which has been problematic as a result of the running battle with labour leaders, the last which led to a nationwide strike as a result of the assault on Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Owerri, Imo State.

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