This development affirms Hyacinth Alia’s position as the legitimate governor of Benue State, dealing a blow to the PDP’s legal challenge.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has delivered a unanimous judgment, dismissing the appeal brought before it by Titus Uba, the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The appeal sought to challenge the election of Hyacinth Alia as the duly elected governor of Benue State.
The lead judgment, delivered by Justice Onyekachi Otisi, resolved all three issues formulated for determination against Uba and the PDP for various reasons.
One of the main issues tackled was the allegation of non-qualification made by Uba against the deputy governor, Samuel Ode.
Justice Otisi dismissed the allegations, stating that Uba failed to establish the forgery of INEC form EC9 by Ode beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court further emphasized that issues of non-qualification are pre-election matters that can only be challenged at a Federal High Court, not at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, as attempted by Uba.
Regarding the claim that the name of Governor Hyacinth Alia was not submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 180 days before the election, the Appellate Court held that the allegations could stand.
This decision was based on the fact that the primary election that produced Alia was ordered by a High Court and conducted within the period mandated by the court.
Justice Otisi, in upholding the judgment of the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal delivered on September 23, declared that Uba’s appeal lacked merit and was subsequently dismissed. The Court rejected the plea of the PDP governorship candidate to set aside the tribunal’s judgment.