Benue: Court affirms election of Hyacinth Alia

The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has affirmed the election of Hyacinth Alia as the Governor of Benue State after dismissing the appeal by Titus Uba and his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lacking in merit.

Uba and the PDP are seeking the invalidation of the judgment of the Benue State governorship election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, the state capital, which upheld the victory of Governor Alia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

But in a unanimous judgment on Monday, a three-member panel of the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the tribunal and dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

The court in so doing resolved all the three issues raised in the appeal in favour of Governor Alia and his deputy, Sam Ude.

Alia, a Roman Catholic priest, defeated his closest challenger, Titus Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Announcing the results of the governorship poll, Faruk Kuta, the state collation and returning officer, said Alia scored 473,933 votes to beat Mr Uba who polled 223,913 votes.

Giving the breakdown of the votes, Mr Kuta who is the vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, (FUT) Minna, said the valid votes stood at 756,903, while the rejected votes were: 11,499. The total votes cast were: 768,402.

dissatisfied Titus Uba and the PDP, dragged the respondents, INEC, Hyacinth Alia, Dr. Sam Ode, and the APC before the tribunal, challenging their declaration as winners by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioners argued that both Alia and Ode, were at the time of contesting the election, not qualified to contest the March 18 Governorship Election.

They averred that the 4th respondent – the APC – did not follow the provisions of the law in the nomination of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates.

They also alleged that the 3rd respondent had presented a forged certificate to the 1st respondent, INEC, and therefore, should be disqualified. They, therefore, prayed among other things, for the nullification of their election and the declaration of the petitioners as winners of the election, having scored the second highest lawful votes.

They further contended that having not qualified to contest the election, their votes should be declared invalid, and certificates earlier issued to them by INEC be withdrawn.

However, delivering judgment, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ibrahim Karaye, held that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain pre-election issues raised by the petitioners, Titus Uba and his political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal stated that only the Federal High Court had the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain issues bordering on pre-election matters.

It further held that the petitioners’ case was also an abuse of court processes because the same case was filed by the petitioners before the Federal High Court Abuja Division and its judgment was not challenged by the petitioners. He said the petitioners lacked locus standi to challenge the nomination of the 2nd and 3rd respondents by the 4th respondent since they were not members of the 4th respondent.

Justice Karaye further said that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of forgery against the 3rd respondent before the tribunal.

He said the 2nd and 3rd respondents were qualified to contest the March 18 governorship election and therefore, dismissed the case.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top