Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, has received his certificate of return as Senator of Plateau South in the National Assembly’s upper chamber.
Lalong, a two-term governor of Plateau State, ran in but lost the election on February 25, 2023.
The election was declared won by Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Dissatisfied with the election results, Lalong went to the tribunal, which decided in his favour.
In his decision, the three-member panel’s chairman, Justice Mahmoud Tukur, stated that the votes cast for the PDP candidate in the election were squandered since he was invalidly nominated.
The court ruled that the PDP had no valid organisation in the state at the time of the nomination.
Bali had filed an appeal after rejecting the tribunal’s decision.
The appellate court confirmed the tribunal’s verdict, saying the votes cast for the PDP candidate were illegal, in a decision issued by Justice Elfaida Williams-Dawodu.
Justice Williams-Dawodu directed INEC to revoke Bali’s certificate of return and issue a new one to Lalong.
On Thursday, Lalong and some of his companions stormed the INEC offices in Abuja to collect the certificate, which was delivered to him by Mohammed Haruna, a National Commissioner.
Following this, he tweeted, “Today I received the certificate of return at the INEC Headquarters from the National Commissioner Mohammed Haruna.”
His conduct indicates that he may resign from his position as Labour minister, which has been troublesome as a result of the ongoing struggle with Labour leaders, the most recent of which resulted in a statewide strike in response to the assault on Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Owerri, Imo State.
Ironically, David Umahi, a former governor like Lalong, resigned from the Senate to join President Bola Tinubu’s government.