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Tinubu To Decide Senator-elect, Lalong Ministerial Fate As Possible Replacements Emerge



'Lalong Resigns As Tinubu's Minister, Set To Move To Senate'

The political fate of the Minister of Labour and Employment and Senator-elect Simon Lalong will be decided by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

It was learned last night that the President would decide if Lalong remains in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) or quit for the Senate.

Recall that Lalong on Thursday received his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner Mohammed Haruna as Senator-elect for Plateau South.

Lalong got the Certificate of Return, which was withdrawn from his opponent in the February 20 election, Air Vice Marshall Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the order of the tribunal and the Court of Appeal.

The minister was accompanied to the INEC National Headquarters by his wife Regina, children, and prominent party leaders from Plateau State.

They included former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Idris Wase, Member Representing QuanPan, Shendam, House Representatives member John Dafaan (Mikang Constituency), APC Deputy National Secretary Festus Fuanter, Minority leader of Plateau State House of Assembly Joe Bukar, former Majority Leader Naalong, former Head of Service Sunday Hyat, former commissioners and many council chairmen.

This raised speculations that he might resign his ministerial position and go to the Senate.

But a source told The Nation that the former Plateau State governor told him earlier in the week that the President would decide on the matter on his return from Germany.

Lalong’s aides also confirmed that he was waiting for the President to decide what he would do.

However, an All Progressives Congress (APC) leader said Lalong would take his seat in the Senate. According to him, this had been decided at all the appropriate levels.

The party chieftain said APC leaders are excited that the resolution of the litigation arising from the Plateau South Senatorial poll in Lalong’s favour will swell APC’s ranks in the Senate.

A party source said Lalong, who is a loyal party member, would abide by the decision on the next move the president may suggest.

The source said if he resumes at the Senate, his experience as a two-term House of Assembly Speaker will come in handy, adding that he will enjoy the status of a ranking senator.

Besides, the source said the thinking in the APC favoured avoiding an inevitable supplementary senatorial election which Lalong’s resignation from the Senate will cause.

The source said: “Lalong has conceded to the President, who is his boss in the FEC and National Leader of his party, to, in consultation with other leaders, particularly from the Northcentral, suggest the way forward. He is not opposed to making sacrifices in honour of the party.

“He is a treasured member of the cabinet who has been very active. He is a dependable ally of the President, and in fact, the leader of cabinet members from the Northcentral, whose profile cannot diminish if he quits for the Senate, which is his political right and electoral entitlement.”

The source acknowledged that if Lalong quits, there may be jostling for the vacancy in FEC.

Party chieftains likely to be considered as replacements are Dr Amos Gizo, Director of Artisans of the defunct Presidential Campaign Council, and Faunter.

The source added: “If it turns out to leaving the cabinet, Lalong will make a significant input into the choice of his successor as minister.”