NEWS ANALYSIS: Simon Lalong’s political dilemma

Minister of Labour Simon Lalong who won a landmark decision of the Court of Appeal on November 7 affirming him as the duly elected Senator for Plateau South Senatorial District is at present facing a major dilemma: should he stay in his present position as minister or move over to the Senate as a member of this hallowed chamber? Big question!

What will Lalong who is the immediate past two-time governor of Plateau State do? He says he has not taken a position yet. And as many unsure and fawning politicians normally do and behave, Lalong has told close associates and aides that only President Bola Tinubu will decide. And you ask-what is President Tinubu’s own in this matter? Don’t the minister have his own mind? Can’t he take his own decision? Can’t he sketch his own trajectory? Can’t he plan his own political future?

Lalong is as experienced as many politicians up North come. A lawyer, he was formerly Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly before being elected governor. And last year, Lalong emerged the Director-General of the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council, which powered Tinubu’s election to the presidency.

To be fair, his present predicament should be understandable. It’s a bit complex. Taking a decision to stay either as a minister or return to the parliament has its implications.

For Lalong, its a two-headed sword. But remaining a minister would prove far more challenging. Number one, Lalong’s Labour portfolio is not one that can be described as an A-List portfolio. Also, his sojourn as minister thus far has been tempestuous. Labour leaders say they don’t want him on the negotiation table with them in their dispute with the Federal Government.

Number two, if Lalong declines the Senate option, a by-election would have to be conducted to fill the ensuing vacancy in Plateau South. That would mean another round of campign and election expenses for the APC in the state which they are not enthusiastic about. What is more, with a PDP Governor in the state, what is the guarantee that APC would win again? So its not an intractable challenge for a politician who has a vision and a mission and is focused on the two with a view to creating a lasting legacy.

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