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Simon Lalong Sworn in as Senator for Plateau South as Akpabio Declares 2 Seats Vacant

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, administered the oath of office to Simon Lalong, a former governor of Plateau State, as the new senator representing Plateau South Senatorial District.

This development follows the Court of Appeal’s decision in Abuja on November 7, 2023, which nullified the election of Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared Lalong, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the rightful winner of the February 25 senatorial poll.

Lalong, who was a part of President Bola Tinubu’s administration as the Minister of Labour, Employment, and Productivity, resigned from his ministerial position on Tuesday to assume his new role in the Senate.

His inauguration took place at approximately 11:57 am on the Senate floor, where he received congratulations from the Senate President.

Reflecting on his political journey, Lalong remarked, “This was my first choice, to be candid. I wanted to be a senator after my tenure as governor concluded in May 2023.” He explained that his ministerial role was an interim position accepted on Tinubu’s invitation while he pursued legal resolution regarding his senatorial ambitions.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, the National Chairman of the APC, expressed joy over Lalong’s inauguration, stating, “This is a moment of happiness. We are so happy that he won at the Court of Appeal. What Nigerians will expect is good legislation. As we know, the APC has the majority and will work for the prosperity of all Nigerians.”

In his commitment to his new role, Lalong promised to serve his electorate to the best of his abilities. His focus is expected to align with the APC’s majority in the Senate, driving forward legislative agendas that benefit the nation.

In related developments, the Senate President also declared the senatorial seats for Ebonyi-South and Yobe East vacant on Wednesday. These vacancies arose as former governor Dave Umahi, now the Minister of Works in Tinubu’s cabinet, and Ibrahim Giadam, appointed as the Minister of Police Affairs, vacated their senatorial positions.

Akpabio, citing Section 68 (1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), called upon the Independent National Electoral Commission to initiate by-elections to fill these vacant seats, marking yet another shift in the Nigerian political landscape under the Tinubu administration.

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