Court of Appeal Upholds Election of Hyacinth Alia as Benue State Governor.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed the appeal brought by Titus Uba, the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the election of Hyacinth Alia as the governor of Benue State.
In a unanimous judgment, the court addressed three issues raised by Uba and the PDP, ruling against them on various grounds.
Justice Onyekachi Otisi, delivering the lead judgment, dismissed Uba’s allegations of non-qualification against the deputy governor, Samuel Ode. The court held that Uba failed to prove the forgery of INEC form EC9 by Ode beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Appellate Court clarified that issues of non-qualification are pre-election matters, which should be challenged at a Federal High Court, not at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, as attempted by Uba.
Justice Otisi emphasized that a suit to challenge non-qualification must be initiated within 14 days of the occurrence.
Addressing Uba’s claim that the name of Governor Hyacinth Alia was not submitted to INEC within 180 days before the March 18 election, the court held that the allegations were baseless.
It noted that the primary election leading to Alia’s candidacy was ordered by a High Court and conducted within the court-ordered timeframe.
Justice Otisi declared that Uba’s appeal against the judgment of the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal lacked merit and was subsequently dismissed. The Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal’s decision, rejecting the plea of the PDP governorship candidate to set it aside.
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