The Court of Appeal in Jos on Friday affirmed the reelection of Simon Lalong of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as Governor of Plateau State.
In a unanimous decision read by Justice O.A. Otisi, the court dismissed the appeal by Jeremiah Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party and upheld the judgment of the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had validated Mr Lalong’s victory in the March governorship election.
The appellate court also held that Mr Lalong has the educational qualification to contest in the election.
Mr Useni, a former senator, had challenged the declaration of Mr Lalong as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
The PDP candidate had in his petition alleged that the election was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act and was also marred by corrupt practices.
He also averred that Mr Lalong lied on oath while submitting his form CF001 to INEC.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and awarded the sum of N200,000 as cost to be paid to the respondents.
In his reaction to the judgment, Mr Lalong said his victory at the court was a validation of the will of the people.
Mr Lalong in a statement on Friday by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Simon Macham, said that the affirmation of his victory was yet another collective victory for the entire people of the state.
The governor said that he was not surprised by the court verdict as he never doubted the validity of the people’s mandate reposed in him and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“This is not a victory for me but for the entire people of Plateau who have demonstrated faith in our rescue mission.
“Like I have repeatedly said, I am governor for everyone irrespective of party, tribe, religious or any other affiliations,” he said.
He stated that he was ready to carry everyone in the state along.
Mr Lalong called on the opposition PDP and Mr Useni to join hands with him in moving the state forward.
The governor appealed to the people to continue to support his administration towards leaving a lasting legacy in the state.
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