Legal Nigeria

Benue governorship: Gov. Alia wins at Supreme Court

Contentions over Benue March 18 governorship election ended at the Supreme Court on Monday with the dismissal of the petition filed against the declaration of Father Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the election by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Titus Uba.

The PDP candidate’s lawyer announced the withdrawal of the appeal of judgments of the court of appeal and the state election tribunal affirming the victory of Alia. by counsel to Mr Titus Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sebastian Hon.

Recall that the Appeal Court of had on 20 November dismissed the appeal filed by Uba against Alia’s election over allegations that the deputy governorship candidate of APC, 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) among others.

The PDP candidate also 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.

A three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that the Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode.

The court held that, “The appellant failed to prove the allegation of forgery beyond reasonable doubt.

” No other form EC9 was presented. To prove forgery, two documents must be produced; the original and the forged document. The appellant failed to prove an element of forgery by not making available the documents. ”

Citing section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, the court held that the high court and not the tribunal has the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

It added that the appellant lacked the locus standi to challenge the qualification of the deputy governor since he was not part of the party’s primary.

The appellate also held that the rerun primary election was conducted in obedience to a court order, adding that the timeframe proscribed for the submission of name by the Electoral Act will collapse.

“There is a difference between an election conducted based on court order and that of the electoral act. The timeline by the act will collapse where there is a court order.

“The appeal hereby fails. Parties shall bear their cost, ” the court held.