In what could pass for coincidence, the National and State Petition Election Tribunal has declared the Ministers of Labour and Productivity as winners of February 25 parliamentary election.
President Bola Tinubu had last month administered oath of office on Simon Lalong as Minister of Labour and Employment, and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha as Minister of State for Labour and Employment.
The duo had contested but lost elections, according to results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While Lalong of the All Progressives Congress (APC) contested Plateau South Senatorial Election and was defeated by Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Onyejeocha, also of APC, contested Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of the House of Representatives and was defeated by Amobi Ogah of the Labour Party.
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections, both of them had filed separate petitions at the tribunal, which ruled in their favour.
Delivering judgment on the petition filed by Lalong, chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Mahmoud Tukur, held that the votes scored by the PDP candidate in the election were wasted votes as he was invalidly nominated.
The judgment held that as of the time of the nomination, the PDP had no valid structure in the state.
In the case of Onyejeocha, chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Adeyinka Aderegbegbe, held that her opponent was not validly nominated.
However, the losing parties still have the option of challenging the tribunal verdict at the Appeal Court.
It is not certain if both ministers will dump their ministerial portfolios and embrace the duties of being the federal lawmakers if the appeal court upholds the tribunal verdict.
Should they decide to go to the National Assembly, the President would need to make quick adjustment in the ministry saddled with the task of ensuring a smooth relationship between the Federal Government and labour unions, especially in a time when fuel subsidy is creating ripples.