Lalong resigns as minister, opts for Plateau South Senate seat

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, has left President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s cabinet, it was learnt at the weekend.

Lalong, immediate past Plateau State governor, has opted to take the Plateau South Senatorial seat which he won.

He is due to be sworn in this week by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, sources said last night.

Lalong, the Director-General of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation in the rundown to the February Presidential poll, was declared loser of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He challenged the result, and victory was given to him by the Court of Appeal

Lalong, a lawyer and two-term Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, tendered his resignation after Wednesday’s FEC meeting, in preparation for resumption at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.

A presidential aide Imran Muhammad in his X handle last night twitted: “President Tinubu has accepted Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong’s resignation from the cabinet. His valedictory will hold at the next FEC meeting.”

Also the spokesman for APC in Plateau State, Sylvanus Namang also confirmed Lalong’s resignation from FEC.

Lalong received his Certificate of Return last month.

The Court of Appeal ordered the electoral commission to issue him the certificate of return, following the nullification of the election of Air Vice Marshall Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who has now vacated the seat.

Lalong was accompanied to the INEC Headquarters by his wife, Regina, and children as well as former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives Idris Wase; member representing QuanPan, Shendam, Mikang Federal Constituency John Dafaan; APC Deputy National Secretary Festus Fuanter; Minority leader of Plateau House of Assembly Joe Bukar and some members of the Plateau Assembly; former Majority Leader Naalong; some former Plateau Commissioners; former Head of Service Sunday Hyat, some serving local government chairmen and other supporters.

Also last month, the President and other party leaders held consultations with Lalong after he received the certificate of return.

The consultation, said a source, focused on Lalong’s replacement in FEC.

At the meeting, he was given an opportunity to recommend four names as possible replacement in FEC.

According to the source, party leaders were excited that the resolution of the litigation arising from the Plateau South senatorial poll in Lalong’s favour had swelled its ranks in the Senate.

A party source said Lalong, who is a loyal party member, agreed to resume at the Senate as a sacrifice.

Party leaders also believe that his experience as a two-term House of Assembly Speaker will come in handy as he will unofficially enjoy the status of a ranking senator.

Besides, the source said the thinking in the APC favoured the avoidance of an inevitable supplementary senatorial election which Lalong’s resignation from the Senate would cause.