By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
The Plateau State Governorship Election Tribunal has upheld the election of Governor Simon Lalong of the All Progressives Congress, APC even as it dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its governorship candidate, Senator Jeremiah Useni for failure to prove their case.
The petitioners had alleged that Lalong who was the APC governorship candidate in the March 9, 2019 election and the second respondent in the case was not qualified to contest the election because of the differences in the names on his certificates but the three-man tribunal led by Justice Salman in a four hour judgment delivered on Wednesday in Jos, the State capital dismissed the petition saying that Lalong was qualified to contest the election.
On the issue of the alleged different names on Lalong’s certificates, the Tribunal held that the second respondent, Lalong is the owner of the certificates and all the four different names are linked.
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Reacting to the judgment, Lalong described his victory as a victory for the entire people of the state and an affirmation of the mandate freely given to him in the last general elections where his party the APC won resoundingly.
The Governor in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham stated the verdict of the Tribunal clearly speaks of the unshaken confidence the electorate demonstrated when they massively voted for him and the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the last general elections.
According to him, “The verdict of the election petition tribunal not only affirms our mandate but also shows that we are all winners as the people of the state will now have seamless governance since the distractions of litigation are now settled”.
Lalong who commended the Tribunal for “dispensing justice without fear or favour”, extended a hand of fellowship to the opposition PDP to join hands with him to rescue the State from underdevelopment, insecurity and poverty and consolidate on the achievements of the last four years, saying “there is no winner or loser in this verdict, Plateau State is the winner.”