Former Minister of Labour Employment and Productivity, Simon Lalong, has been sworn in as a member of the 10th Senate. The immediate past governor of Plateau State was sworn in, yesterday, at a plenary presided over by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who also declared the seats of former governors of Ebonyi and Yobe states vacant.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had on November 7, upheld the judgment of the election petition tribunal, which declared Lalong winner of Plateau South Senatorial District election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Napoleon Bali, as the winner. Bali scored 148,844 votes, while Lalong recorded 91,674, according to INEC.
But Lalong challenged the result on the grounds that the PDP had no proper structure in the state on which a candidate could contest an election. He took the oath of office about noon on the floor of the Senate.
Akpabio congratulated Lalong, who was the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Organisation for the 2023 presidential poll that produced President Bola Tinubu.
Lalong, a former Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, tendered his resignation as minister to Tinubu, on Tuesday. After his inauguration, Lalong said he actually wanted to be a senator after he served his tenure out as governor in May.
“This was my first choice, to be candid,” he stated, promising to do his best to serve his electorate. National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, described the inauguration as a moment of happiness. He said: “This is a moment of happiness. We are so happy that he won at the Court of Appeal.
“What Nigerians expect is good legislation. As we know, the APC has the majority and will work for the prosperity of all Nigerians.”
ALSO, Akpabio declared the seats of Senators David Umahi (Ebonyi South) and Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe East) vacant, following their appointments as ministers.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akpabio said the declaration of vacancies in the seats was in accordance with Section 68 (1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). He, therefore, called on INEC to commence the process of by-elections in the two senatorial districts immediately.