The Elections Petition Appeal sitting in Jos, Plateau State capital on Friday upheld the election of Simon Lalong as the duly elected Governor of the state.
In the lead judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Adumein Otisi, the appeal of Jeremiah Useni and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was dismissed for lack of merit and align with the Election Tribunal decision affirming the elections of Governor Simon Lalong.
The sum of N200,000 is also awarded as cost in favour the Governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Plateau State Election Tribunal had earlier in October upheld the election victory of Lalong.
Justice Halimat Saleeman, in a unanimous decision of the tribunal threw out the petitioner’s case on the grounds that the petition is weak along the line of law and therefore cannot sway justice to the side of the petitioner.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has emerged chairman of the Northern Governors Forum for another four years.
He was elected by his colleagues during the meeting of the Northern Governors Forum which held in Kaduna on Friday.
At the meeting which is the forum’s first of the year, the governors also agreed to set up a joint financial institution that will galvanize rapid socio-economic development within the region and enable it attain some degree of financial independence.
The governors also resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the security challenges in the region.
The meeting of the northern governors which later went into closed door, is expected to receive briefing on the security situation across states as well as submissions from officials of the northern Nigerian development company on the successes made in the areas of oil exploration in the lake chad basin, as well as reviving the collapsed Kaduna textile factory owned by the 19 northern states.
Governor Simon Lalong has pledged to create an atmosphere in which more youths can gain employment in Plateau State.
Reacting to his re-election as governor of Plateau state, Lalong said the mandate given to him is further revalidation of the trust that the people have in him with respect to what his government has achieved in the last three and half years.
He said his government kept all its promises including payment of backlogs of salaries and the maintenance of peace even in the face of threatening crisis.
The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has signed the appropriation bill of one hundred and thirty-nine billion, four hundred and ninety-four million, three hundred and eight thousand, two hundred and fifty-six Naira (N139, 494,308,256:00) only as the 2017 Appropriation Law for Plateau State.
This is made up of recurrent expenditure of sixty-nine billion, three hundred and sixty-two million, six hundred and ninety-nine thousand, two hundred and ninety-five Naira (N69,362,699,295:00) only, representing 49.64 percent of the Budget size, and a capital expenditure of seventy billion, one hundred and thirty-one million, six hundred and eight thousand, nine hundred and sixty-one Naira (N70,131,608,961:00) only, representing 50.36 percent of the Budget size.
The appropriation bill shows an increase of six billion, seven hundred and ninety-two million, eleven thousand, nine hundred and sixty-one Naira (6,792,011,961:00) only, that is 4.87 percent increase from what was initially presented to the House at oil benchmark of 42.5 Dollars per barrel.
Tagged “Budget of Rescue and Confidence Building”, Governor Lalong said, the budget “Will build and sustain the confidence of our citizens in Government, as we avail them the opportunity of practically assessing our value addition to the process of Governance.
“We will ameliorate the challenges being faced in all critical sectors of our economy, and provide the avenue for sustainable livelihood for our people.
“The areas of our comparative advantages in a competitive global economy will be enhanced through the implementation of this Budget, as we exploit and explore our natural resource and create a market for all our citizens, who have been encouraged to productively engage in all the agricultural value chains, and the micro, small and medium enterprise development programmes put in place.
“Our philosophy of confidence building in government will further be strengthened by strict financial discipline, price intelligence and strategic project implementation, that will check excesses, cut wasteful spending and bloc leakages, so we get the highest and best output out of every intervention we will be making.”
With the signing of the appropriation bill into Law, all is now set for the aggressive mobilisation and mopping-up of all revenues that are derivable, from every revenue yielding source across all sectors of the state economy and the application of same appropriately, so the Budget Projections can be realised.
Governor Simon Lalong’s request for the extension of local government management committee members for another six months has led to a rowdy plenary session at the Plateau State House of Assembly.
Explaining the contents of the Governor’s letter to members, the Speaker of the House, Honourable Peter Azi, emphasised the issue of election as the basis to consider in granting the request.
In moving the motion for the extension, a member representing Quan Pam Constituency and House Committee Chairman on Information, Mr Mohammed Balo, argued that two months was not enough for the Chairmen to record any meaningful achievement, hence the reason to extend for another six months as requested by the Governor.
However, the Deputy Speaker, Honourable Yusuf Gagdi, expressed displeasure on the Thursday proceedings on the floor.
Although the request was eventually granted by the House, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus led by Honourable Gagdi walked out of the session in protest of the decision.
The PDP lawmakers perceived the decision to be against the earlier resolution for the extension of local government personnel for only two months.
With the extension granted, the people of Plateau State are looking forward to the expiration, believing that the government would honour its promise of conducting the local government elections after sacking the elected Chairmen.
The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has called for cordial relationship between the Legislators and the Executive Arms of government.
He urged for accountability and transparency by the Executive which has been identified as the key to successful governance.
The Minister in his address at the strategic retreat for members of the Executive Council in Plateau State, stated that the commissioners and principal officers should develop a cordial relationship with the legislatures in order to avoid unnecessary rivalry that might affect governance in the state.
However, the Governor of the state, Governor Simon Lalong identified team spirit, financial prudence and discipline among others as key elements to drive the government policies.
The Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, David Wuyep, believes that power generation, distribution and transmission should be a shared responsibility between the states and the federal government.
The Plateau State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has affirmed the victory of Governor Simon Lalong in the April 11 governorship poll.
Gyang Pwajok of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his party had dragged Lalong of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the tribunal.
The PDP claimed that there were cases of irregularities during the polls, asking the panel to nullify the election and declare Pwajok as winner.
Delivering judgment on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mr Gyang Pwajok, the three-man Tribunal held that all the petitions presented by the petitioners were based on documentary hearsay and that they could not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
The Tribunal also held that the petitioners abandoned their criminal case and concentrated on civil matters which they were unable to prove and thereby dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
Security operatives earlier barred journalists from entering the court room, saying they were acting on the orders of the panel.
It has been several months of motions, arguments and counter-motions at the Plateau State Governorship Election Tribunal before Justice Candide Johnson delivered his judgement on Monday.
On the issue of over voting, the Tribunal held that for over voting to be proved, the petitioner needed to have provided a witness to testify to that. It was therefore dismissed for the petitioners’ inability to take further action on the issue.
After the judgment was delivered, the chairmen of the PDP in the state, Raymond Dabo and his All Progressives Congress (APC), Latep Laban, counterpart in the state commend the judgment.
The Tribunal in the judgment also directed the petitioners to pay 50,000 Naira fine each to the three respondents – the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC and Governor Lalong.
Youths in Plateau State have appealed to the State and Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the alleged incessant killings in different communities in the State.
The protesting youths under the aegis of “Plateau Youths Speak”, said thousands of lives have been lost and many displaced from their ancestral homes, insisting that there is a need to review the security template used in the state .
The youths, who took their protest to the State House of Assembly, demanded a stop to the carnage.
An Anglican Bishop, Arch Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, who is also part of the rally, suggested the security operatives change their tactics.
Speaking at the Government House, Governor Simon Lalong, said the Federal Government has already deployed personnel and the security challenges will be tackled.
The youths, however, believe an urgent review of security and more attention to the areas, like in the North East, would bring an end to the situation.