Benue: Tribunal Dismisses PDP’s Petition, Upholds Alia’s Election

The Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the state capital, has affirmed the election of Governor Hyacinth Alia.

Naija News reports that the tribunal, on Saturday, dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Titus Uba.

The Chairman of the three-man panel of justices, Justice Ibrahim Karaye, in his judgement, held that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition as the matters raised before the tribunal were pre-election issues as captured in section 285 of the Electoral Act.

The PDP and Uba challenged Alia’s victory in the 2023 governorship election, after Alia, a former Catholic priest, was declared the winner of the March 18th governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Alia, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), polled 473,933 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Uba of the PDP, who scored 223,913 votes.

Not satisfied with the declaration of Alia as the winner by the INEC, the PDP and Uba approached the tribunal seeking to overturn the result of the election in their favour.

They asked the tribunal to nullify the election, claiming the candidates did not comply with the electoral law and purportedly submitted false documents to INEC.

However, the tribunal, in its judgement,  the petitioner ought to have pursued his case of non-qualification and the nomination of Governor Alia by the APC and the allegation of forged certificate and false information on form EC9 against his deputy, Sam Ode, before the INEC was, beyond the Federal High Court.

The tribunal said the petitioner should have filed for an appeal for the earlier suit of the issue dismissed by the court at the Appeal Court, instead of proceeding to the tribunal.

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