The Plateau State Election Tribunal has upheld the election victory of Simon Lalong as the governor of the state.
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, 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.
The petition was therefore dismissed in its entirety and the declaration of Simon Lalong by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the Governorship election became valid.
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.
A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the Federal Government to properly investigate the murder of over 100 persons in Plateau State.
The former President made the call on Wednesday when he paid a condolence visit to Plateau State and met with Governor Simon Lalong.
Saturday’s attacks and killings in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state have been widely criticized with many calling on the Federal Government to take decisive action to arrest the attackers and end killings across the nation.
For Obasanjo, it is important to understand the immediate causes of the attacks in order to prevent further attacks and killings.
“We should find out the true cause of this. There must be a cause or causes – remote and immediate. If we are going to deal with it and we are not going to continue to multiply condolence visits by condolence visits, we must find out the root cause and deal with it,” the former President said.
“I believe that every human problem must have a human solution. This is a human problem.”
In investigating the killings, the former President expects the Federal Government to work with the state government, local government and community leaders.
Governor Simon Lalong, on his part, described the attacks and killings as very unfortunate.
This, he said, is because “if there is peace in Plateau State, everybody will be very happy. But the moment the peace is threatened in Plateau, many other places will be threatened”.
The governor, however, believes the right steps have been taken to maintain law and order in the state.
“We have done our best within this short period; we have learned our lessons and we are doing our best to maintain the peace. Like you said, we need peace not only in Plateau but all over the country,” he said.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has reacted to the comments made by his Plateau State counterpart, Mr Simon Lalong, about the prohibition of open grazing in Benue.
Since the law was implemented, there have been series of attacks by suspected herdsmen on some Benue communities, with dozens of people killed in the recent attacks on Logo and Guma local government areas of the state.
Addressing a delegation of the Arewa Consultative Forum on Friday at his office in Makurdi, the Benue governor said he was pained by the comments and consequently called Lalong who denied making such statement.
“Somebody drew my attention yesterday (Thursday) that he (Lalong) made such comments that he warned me not to implement the law and I was wondering if my colleague from Plateau State could say that; so I called him and he told me he did not say it,” said Ortom.
“But later, when I watched it on Channels Television, he castigated me beyond what I thought a colleague of mine should (but) I’ve forgiven him.”
Shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, Governor Lalong told State House correspondents in Abuja that he had warned his Benue counterpart to adopt ranching and not prohibiting open grazing as the solution to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
He had said, “I told the Governor of Benue when he was doing the law, I told him ‘why don’t you do (ranches)? Be careful, take the other steps before you start implementation; states are different.”
in his reaction, Ortom maintained that although he had a discussion with Lalong, he never received any warning from him.
He, however, explained that even if he was warned as claimed, the decision to implement the law was taken by the people of Benue who he said he had consulted.
“At no time did my colleague warned me about this law but even if he had warned me, it was beyond me,” Governor Ortom said. “It originated from the people themselves and even if he had warned me, I would have told him it is beyond me.”
“It’s about Benue State and I’m not talking about Plateau State; that is what the Benue people want. Is there one person in Benue that is against this law? he asked the regional sociocultural group who responded “no”.
The Benue governor further recalled that instead, it was his colleague who informed him during a private visit that he was also under pressure to implement the anti-grazing law in his state.
He said he later called Lalong after he confirmed that the governor actually told reporters he had warned him but his effort to reach the Plateau governor was futile.
He said: “When I saw this on television yesterday, I tried to get back to him (but) he did not pick my call.
“I wanted to remind him, when I finally confirmed that he said it, that the last time I went to Jos for a thanksgiving service in one of the churches, on my way back I felt like paying homage to him and I did and he told me that he’s under pressure to also enact that law that he’s going to do it.”
“He told me himself; so coming back to say that, I don’t understand but all the same, let us leave all these things behind us – if we leaders begin to disagree amongst ourselves, then there is no sign of a solution to these problems,” Ortom added.
The Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong, says he warned his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom over the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law.
Governor Lalong who was in the State House to see President Muhammadu Buhari, says his recipe for tackling the herdsmen/farmers clashes is ranching and not anti-grazing laws.
“I told the Governor of Benue (Mr Samuel Ortom). When he was doing the law, I told him why don’t you do (ranches), be careful, take the other steps before you start implementation. States are different, he said his own concept is different, he said”
“I cannot just wake like some people said to me up last year, that I should go and do anti-grazing law. And I said, ‘look, anti-grazing law for what?’ We are talking of ranching, we are talking of livestock development of livestock business.
“I cannot use the word ‘Act’ to drive people who are interested. It is for people who are interested to come and involve themselves in it. I can’t implement, there are levels of implementation. One requires Federal Government’s intervention, provision of ranches.
“ When you are talking about ranching, it is a product of the agricultural business, you also require subsidy. Subsidy must come from Federal Government, the subsidy must also come from the state. And by the time we develop it, we put every sector on the ground, then we can bring laws to regulate the implementation.”
He said his state donated parcels on land for ranching and believes government must make an investment in the venture.
“We have lands, we have donated voluntarily, communities donated their land ready for ranching. But again, I said that in ranching, the concept of ranching, nobody studied ranching like me last year.”
This comes after the state government held a mass burial for the Benue residents who were killed in a clash between farmers and herdsmen on New Year’s day.
With the day being labeled as a ‘Black Thursday’ for the people of Benue state, many have cried out to the government to ensure that justice is served for the deceased.
A member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State, Edward Pwajok, has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
His defection led to a furious reaction from the House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, who raised a point of order, demanding that the Pwajok’s seat should be declared vacant.
According to the minority leader, the PDP is not factionalised and Senator Modu Sheriff is the National Chairman of the party.
The Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, however, ruled that it is clear that the party has factions, adding that it is interesting that the minority leader accepts Sheriff as the National Chairman.
Plateau State Governor, Mr Simon Lalong, a member of the APC, who witnessed the proceeding at the House, told journalists afterwards that he expects more defections to the APC before the end of the year.