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Biography of Fr. Hyacinth Alia, Suspended Catholic Priest who Defeated Politicians to become Benue Governor-Elect

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Hyacinth Alia: Meet Ex-Catholic Priest Who Defeated Politicians To Emerge Governor Of Benue

 

Former Catholic priest Hyacinth Alia was declared the winner of the Benue State governorship election on Monday.

 

Alia, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, garnered 473,933 votes to defeat his closest competitor, Titus Mba, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who received 223,813 votes, and Herman Hembe of the Labour Party, who received 41,881 votes.

 

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Read Also: INEC Declares Catholic Priest Winner of Benue Guber Polls

 

Hembe is a former member of the House of Representatives, while Mba is the current Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly.

 

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The catholic priest who left the pulpit to “save” Benue state from poverty will now become the second cleric to govern the middle-belt state, following Fr Moses Adasu, who served as governor from 1992 to 1993.

 

Biography of Fr. Hyacinth Alia

Early years

 

Alia was born in Mbangur, Mbadede, Vandeikya LGA, Benue state on May 14, 1966.

 

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Education

Prior to enrolling at the St. James Minor Seminary in Makurdi in 1983, he attended St. Francis primary school in Agidi, Mbatiav, Gboko Local Government Area (LGA).

 

Priesthood

In 1987, he graduated from St. Augustine’s Major Seminary in Jos, Plateau, with a theology degree for the Catholic priesthood. In 1990, he received a bachelor of arts in sacred theology from Urbaniana University in Rome.

 

Alia earned two Master of Arts degrees, the first in religious education (psychology and counselling) in 1999 from Fordham University in New York, United States, and the second in biomedical ethics in 2004 from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, United States.

 

In 2005, he earned a doctorate in biomedical ethics from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, United States.

 

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Life as a Priest

was the parochial vicar at St. John’s Parish in Gboko, Benue, and the assistant cathedral administrator at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Makurdi, Benue’s capital, prior to his entry into partisan politics.

 

He was also the parish priest of a number of Catholic churches, including St. Jude’s Parish in Koti-Yough, St. Thomas Parish in Anum, Makurdi, and Christ the King Parish in Adi Etilo, Benue.

 

As a priest, Alia was renowned in the Benue Catholic community for gathering sick members of his congregation to pray for them.

Hycianth Alia

  • Fr. Hycianth Alia laying hands on a parishioner

 

Political Life

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Alia announced his intention to abandon three decades of pastoral work for a career in politics when he purchased All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination forms.

 

This resulted in his suspension as a priest by the Bishop of the Gboko diocese, William Avenya, who deemed Alia’s involvement in partisan politics to be in violation of canon law.

 

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Facing fierce opposition from within his own party, the catholic priest ran in the party’s primary election three times and won each time.

 

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Alia’s campaign manifesto, titled ‘Strategic Development Plan for Greater Benue,’ focuses on seven pillars of importance: security, agriculture, rural development, commerce and industry, human capital development, infrastructure, information and communications technology, and political and economic governance.

In addition, he promised the rehabilitation and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to their ancestral homes, as well as the establishment of emergency toll-free call centres and shortcodes to facilitate the response of state security forces.

 

Will Alia be able to change Benue’s Narrative?

The next four years will answer the question of whether or not the newly-elected governor can heal Benue and fulfil his campaign promises to the people.

 

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1 Comment
  1. Stanley Aghoghovbia says

    this is great, the second Rev Fr to be governor of Benue state

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