The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Titus Uba, challenging the election of Hyacinth Alia as governor of Benue State.
The court resolved all three issues for determination against Uba and PDP in a unanimous decision.
The lead judge, Justice Onyekachi Otisi, dismissed Uba’s claims of non-qualification against the deputy governor, Samuel Ode.
He concluded that the PDP candidate had failed to show beyond a reasonable doubt Ode’s fabrication of INEC Form EC9.
The Appellate Court stated, among other things, that non-qualification problems are pre-election matters that can only be addressed in a Federal High Court and not in the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, as Uba did.
According to Justice Otisi, a claim to challenge non-qualification can only be filed within 14 days of the occurrence of the subject matter.
The Court also addressed Uba’s complaints that the All Progressives Congress failed to submit the name of the governor, Hyacinth Alia, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 180 days of the March 18 election.
The Appellate Court ruled that the charges might stand because the primary election that resulted in Alia was mandated by a High Court and completed within the time frame specified by the court.
Justice Otisi ruled that Uba’s appeal against the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal’s decision on September 23 lacked merit and was dismissed.
The Court then affirmed the tribunal’s decision and denied the PDP governorship candidate’s request to vacate it.
The news came almost eight months after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) proclaimed Alia the winner of the North-Central governorship election.
The Catholic priest received 473,933 votes, outnumbering his nearest competitor, Uba, who received 223,913 votes.