President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Supreme Court judgement that upheld the election of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Simon Lalong of Plateau State on Monday.
The President felicitated with the APC National Executive Council, National Working Committee and all members for what he described as their loyalty and consistency that translated into many victories, “particularly the politically strategic states, Kano and Plateau, after tough legal challenges”.
“I am glad this tortuous journey has ended in favour of the party and our governors,” he said, in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.
“APC won the states and has proved it in court. It would have been a major blow if strategically important states like Kano and Plateau are lost.”
While congratulating all the APC governors whose elections were affirmed by the Supreme Court, the President urged electorates and politicians to strengthen the country’s judicial processes by always seeking redress in court.
“It has now become standard procedure for the opposition to challenge any poll or judgement that does not return its candidates.
“Election is good when they win. The opposite is the case if someone else emerges. But that is not the way it works. Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result or judgement, they disparage the entire system.”
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.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday congratulated Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on the affirmation of their victories in their respective State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals.
The President celebrated with the two governors in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, following their victories at the Tribunals.
President Buhari, who travelled with the two governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to South Africa on a State Visit, extended his goodwill to the duo shortly before departure from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
He described the verdict of the Tribunals as a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace.
The President also thanked the people for allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.
With the elections and tribunals now behind, he urged the governors to unite their states by focusing more on inclusive and accountable governance.
President Buhari also asked them to ensure that all APC programmes targeted at improving the welfare of Nigerians were fully implemented in their states.
He gave assurance that the Federal Government would continue to work with states to create economic growth that benefits everyone, as well as security for human lives, investments, and the environment.
Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the meeting which lasted several hours.
Governor Lalong explained that the forum adopted the plan with hopes that it would address both economic and security challenges posed by the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers in the country.
He also called on state governments that were not included in the pilot scheme of the plan to key into it.
The increasing clashes between farmers and herders have recently become worrisome especially in wetland areas of the middle belt, north-central, and southern part of the country.
Violent conflicts between the two parties who are prominent stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector have escalated in recent times and spreading southwards, thereby threatening Nigeria’s security and stability.
As part of the Federal Government efforts to tackling the crisis, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated the National Livestock Transformation Plan On Tuesday at the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
The government believes the plan, which is to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara, will develop Nigeria’s livestock sector and also reduce the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers.
With the launching of the programme in Adamawa, the governors at Thursday’s meeting noted that that the stage is set for all northern states to key into it.
Although the resolution of the meeting sounded unanimous, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, said his state would only implement the plan if its conforms with the Benue laws on ranching of animals and the anti-open grazing laws.
The Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has reserved judgement in a petition filed against Governor Simon Lalong and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tribunal reached the decision after all the parties involved in the suit presented their submissions for the final written addresses and outlined their various positions in respect of the petition.
Leading counsel to the petitioners, Mike Ezekhome during the tribunal on Friday urged the tribunal to make a consequential order sacking Governor Simon Lalong from office and in his place order for the swearing-in of the second runner up, Jeremiah Useni.
According to the counsel, this is owing to the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to follow its guidelines in the conduct of the 2019 Plateau State Governorship Elections.
He argued that Governor Simon Lalong was not qualified to contest the said elections.
Counsels to the respondents, INEC, APC and Governor Lalong, after the adoption of their written addresses urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition since it has not been proven by the petitioners.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Suleeman in the ruling after the submission of parties in the petition says that the date for judgement in the petition would be communicated to all parties in due course.
The petition challenging Lalong’s victory was filed by Jeremiah Useni and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Plateau State Governorship Election Petition had seventy-seven witnesses which appeared for both the petitioners and respondents. The petition involves disputes across 742 polling units with several documents and exhibits presented during proceedings.
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.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued Certificates of Return to the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, his deputy Soni Tyoden and elected members of the state House of Assembly.
The event which took place at the INEC office in Jos, the capital had their family members, party chieftains as well as well-wishers in attendance.
In her remarks at the occasion, INEC National Commissioner supervising the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna and Plateau States, Professor Antonia Okoosi Simbine, decried what she described as a lack of internal democracy among political parties.
According to her, the desperation of politicians and their supporters compounded the problem of inconclusiveness in the just concluded elections.
The elections which held in the state on March 9 had been declared inconclusive as a result of the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates, which was less than the 49,377 cancelled votes.
Governor Lalong had initially polled a total of 595,582 votes ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the PDP, Mr Jerry Useni, who polled 546,813 votes.
During the supplementary election held on March 23, Lalong defeated Useni with a difference of 48,769 votes, after which he was returned as the winner.
“An attack on one, is an attack on all… Once again my heart and prayers are with families of victims of this attack as it affects every one of us,” he said. “The call for peace and dialogue at this time in our dear state can never be overemphasised.”
“Whilst I understand that tensions will be high at this grieving moment, I call on us to maintain calm and cooperate with security operatives to handle this unfortunate situation.
“Going to bed or waking up any day with the news that our people are attacked is something that leaves us with questions about our love and value for humanity…
“While we pray for the families affected by this sad act, I continue to assure you of my commitment as one of you, to remain unrelenting in working with the security agencies to investigate and fish out perpetrators of this inhumane act and ensure they are apprehended, and that justice for the victims is served,” Lalong added in a series of tweets.
At least 86 persons were confirmed killed by suspected herdsmen during the attack on Gashish district of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mathias Tyopev, told Channels Television on Sunday that six people were also injured while at least 50 houses, 12 vehicles, and 15 motorcycles were razed.
He confirmed the casualty figure and destruction after a search and rescue team from the Plateau State Police Command visited the communities affected by Saturday’s attack.
The six villages attacked by the assailants are Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nhgar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk, all in Gashish.
Plateau State, which had previously enjoyed relative peace, has recently been hit by series of attacks mainly perpetrated by suspected herdsmen, resulting in the death of several persons.
The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, has dissolved the State Executive Cabinet with effect from Thursday, February 8, 2018.
A statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Samuel Emmanuel Nanle, noted that he ordered the Honourable Commissioners to hand over to Permanent Secretaries in their respective ministries.
Mr Lalong expressed his sincere appreciation to the commissioners for their selfless service and immense contributions in the past years, in delivering to the people of Plateau State the dividends of democracy and in engendering hope in the APC led administration in the State.
He, however, wished them well in their future endeavours and assured them that “as stakeholders in the Plateau Project, their wealth of experience would continuously be relied upon in building the Plateau of our dream.”
He also expressed hope that they will not relent in availing their services when called upon to serve the state in the future.