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Appeal Court affirms Benue gov Alia’s election


The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Hyacinth Alia as governor of Benue State. 

The ruling comes after Titus Uba, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election, appealed against a previous decision by the tribunal which upheld Alia’s election.

Uba had argued that Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in violation of Section 182(1)(j) of the 1999 Constitution. He also claimed that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date and that Ode was not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.

However, a three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.

On Monday, the Appeal Court’s three-member panel, led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi, held that Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode.

Justice Otisi said that the appellant failed to prove the allegation of forgery beyond reasonable doubt by not making available the relevant documents. She also held that the high court, and not the tribunal, has the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Uba also lacked the locus standi to challenge the qualification of the deputy governor since he was not part of the party’s primary, the judge added.

The judge further held that the rerun primary election was conducted in obedience to a court order, and that the timeframe proscribed for the submission of name by the Electoral Act will collapse where there is a court order.

The appeal hereby fails. Parties shall bear their cost,” Justice Otisi held.

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