Simon Lalong, the Minister of Labour and Employment and former governor of Plateau State, has received his certificate of return as the Senator of Plateau South in the National Assembly. He was presented the certificate by Mohammed Haruna, a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
Lalong had contested for the senatorial seat in the February 25, 2023 election, but lost to Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, he challenged the result at the tribunal, which ruled in his favour on the grounds that Bali was invalidly nominated by the PDP, which had no valid structure in the state at the time of the nomination. The tribunal declared the votes cast for Bali as wasted votes and ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to Lalong.
Bali appealed the tribunal’s verdict, but the Court of Appeal upheld the decision and affirmed Lalong as the duly elected Senator of Plateau South. The appeal court also ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return earlier issued to Bali and give it to Lalong.
Lalong expressed his joy on his Twitter handle, saying, “Today I received the certificate of return at the INEC Headquarters from the National Commissioner Mohammed Haruna.” His action indicates that he might resign from his ministerial position, which has been fraught with conflicts with labour leaders, the latest of which resulted in a nationwide strike over the assault on Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Owerri, Imo State.