Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau state, has taunted Jeremiah Useni, his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rival in the March election, saying he should have allowed his daughter, who was his classmate, challenge him in the election.
The governor, who ran under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had defeated Useni, securing 595,582 votes while the PDP candidate trailed with 546,813 votes.
Useni had challenged the victory of Lalong but lost at the tribunal and the appeal court.
Speaking with state house correspondents on Friday, Lalong said the validation of his reelection by the appellate court is “very sweet”.
Lalong said his reelection as governor is based on the wish of the people of the state, adding that they had prayed for his success during the poll.
“As far as I am concerned, the main election was more important for me. I did the election, I did a run off, we went to the tribunal the first time, we went again for the second time. Well I don’t know whether he is going for the third time,” he said.
“One thing I am very sure and with the confidence I have in Plateau people I know that this victory they are very happy about it. They have prayed about it and the victory is very sweet.
“I will say it again here, his (Useni) daughter was my classmate, I have told him several times, his first daughter was my classmate. So at this stage I would have been expecting his daughter to contest for governor and not him.
“His daughter was my classmate, we went to school together and so why should we be fighting? Fighting him is like fighting a father, it’s unfortunate but for me, I say my focus is Plateau state. We have done that in the first election, he was defeated, he said no, they will go back for a re-run, I said let’s go back for rerun.
“We went back for rerun I defeated him, he said no he was going for the tribunal. We went to the first tribunal, he said he is a general he doesn’t fight and retire, he will go to the Supreme Court. That I think is to make me lose focus but I have not lost any focus in Plateau State. As he is moving, I am becoming more determined because just before the judgment I think he will say go to Plateau state.”
Useni, a former governor of the old Bendel state, was appointed minister of the federal capital territory (FCT) in 1994, a position held till 1998.
Born on February 16, 1943 at Langtang in Plateau, Useni was educated at the Central Primary School, Langtang, and the Nigerian Military school, Zaria.