Appeal Court affirms election of Alia as Benue gov

Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia

The election of Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has been validated by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.

The court affirmed Alia’s election on Monday while delivering judgment in the appeal brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba.

Uba had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal, which upheld Alia’s election.

At the tribunal, Uba among other things alleged that Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

He also claimed that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.

The 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.

In the ruling 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.