A-Court affirms Minister of Labour, Lalong as Senator for Plateau South - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

A-Court affirms Minister of Labour, Lalong as Senator for Plateau South

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, affirmed the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, as the valid winner of the Plateau South Senatorial seat. 

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, dismissed as lacking in merit, an appeal that was brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the election that held on February 25, Mr. Napoleon Bali. 

The court held that it found no reason to set aside the judgement of the Plateau State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, which had on September 11, declared Lalong who is the immediate past Governor of the state, as the authentic winner of the senatorial contest. 

According to the appellate court, evidence before it showed that Bali, who was declared the winner of the senatorial seat by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was not a bonafide candidate in the election.

It held that the PDP, in disobedience to a subsisting order of a Plateau State High Court, conducted an invalid primary election that produced Bali as its candidate.

The appellate court noted that whereas the PDP was in 2022, directed to conduct a fresh congress in the 17 Local Government Areas, LGAs, in the state, it failed to do so.

It held that an evidence the PDP produced to prove that it complied with the order, showed that 12 LGAs were excluded in a purported congress it held to select its candidates for the 2023 general elections. 

The appellate court panel held that the non compliance to the court order by the PDP, invalidated Bali's candidacy in the election.

It declared that all the votes that were ascribed to the PDP candidate at the end of the senatorial election, amounted to void and wasted votes.

Consequently, the court held that Lalong, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, having secured the second highest votes, was the valid winner of the senatorial seat.

Other members of the panel that concurred with the lead judgement, were Justices Muhammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.

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