Labour and Employment Minister Simon Lalong has expressed gratitude for his confirmation as the duly elected Senator representing Plateau South by the Court of Appeal.
The minister made this known in a statement released by his media aide, Dr. Makut Simon Macham.
He described the verdict as “the will of God, a victory for democracy, and a joyous development that calls for unity and cohesion.”
Lalong received the news of his victory while attending the 349th Session of the Governing Body meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He lauded the unanimous decision of the appeal court judges, stating that it “shows that the judgment was in tandem with the rule of law and democratic tenets.”
Attributing the victory to God and the people of Plateau South Senatorial District, the former Plateau Governor emphasised that the court’s decision affirms the unwavering support he has enjoyed from the electorate since his first foray into politics in 1999.
“This victory is not only for me or the APC, but a victory for all lovers of democracy, peace, and unity irrespective of party, religious, political, and ethnic affiliations,” Lalong declared. “We have to focus on the work ahead, which requires meeting the needs of our people, particularly at the grassroots, and ensuring that they get the dividends of democracy in good measure.”
Lalong extended an olive branch to his opponent, AVM Napoleon Bali, and all stakeholders, calling on them to collaborate in building the lives of citizens within the zone and the nation at large. He pledged to ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is experienced and felt by the people through various initiatives.
The Minister also commended the Judiciary for upholding its integrity despite attempts to undermine it. He congratulated other candidates declared validly elected and urged them to embrace their victories with magnanimity, acknowledging that there are no victors or vanquished. Instead, he encouraged them to rededicate themselves to working towards a greater Plateau State and Nigeria.
The Appeal Court, sitting in Abuja earlier in the day, upheld the judgment of the tribunal, which declared the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, the winner of the Plateau South Senatorial election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had initially declared Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the winner of the election, with a total of 148,844 votes. Lalong, contesting under the All Progressives Congress (APC), secured 91,674 votes, placing him second.
However, Lalong challenged the results, arguing that the PDP lacked a valid party structure and, therefore, was ineligible to field candidates for the elections.