Court Of Appeal Declares Labour Minister Senator-Elect For Plateau South, Sacks PDP Candidate

By Damilare Adeleye

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has declared Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, as the Senator-elect representing Plateau South.

This is as the appeal Court dismissed the appeal of Senator Napoleon Bali of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who was initially declared as winner of February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Earlier, the National Assembly and State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Jos had on September 11 declared Simon Lalong, as the duly elected candidate, while sacking Napoleon Bali of the People’s Democratic Party for emerging from a fraudulent primary electoral process.

Lalong, a former governor of Plateau state was before the election victory at the Tribunal appointed as Labour minister by President Bola Tinubu.

In sacking Napoleon, the Tribunal had faulted PDP’s failure to obey a Jos High Court order which directed the party to mandatorily conduct ward congresses.

The All Progressives Congress under whose platform Lalong contested, had contended that PDP primary poll was flawed.

The tribunal agreed with the APC legal team and subsequently affirmed Lalong as the senator.

Lalong had since commenced duties in Abuja as minister.

But the PDP Candidate appealed to the appellate court.

On Tuesday, the three-man panel of the court led by Justice Williams Daudu held that the findings of the lower Tribunal were positive.

The judge held that the 1999 Constitution states that all authorities and persons are expected to comply with orders and judgements of a court but the PDP failed to hold valid congress.

“The sole issue is resolved against the appellant.

“This appeal is hereby dismissed. The judgement of the Tribunal is hereby affirmed,” Justice Williams held.