The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an appeal brought before it by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Titus Uba challenging the election of Hyacinth Alia as the elected governor of Benue State.
In a unanimous judgment, the court resolved all three issues formulated for determination against Uba and PDP for various reasons.
Justice Onyekachi Otisi who delivered the lead judgment dismissed the allegations of non-qualification made by Uba against the deputy governor Samuel Ode.
He held that the PDP candidate failed to establish forgery of INEC form EC9 by Ode beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Appellate Court, among other reasons, said the issues of non-qualification are pre-election matters that can only be challenged at a Federal High Court and not at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as done by Uba.
Justice Otisi added that a suit to challenge non-qualification can only be instituted within 14 days of the occurrence of the subject matter.
The Court also dealt with the allegations by Uba that the name of the Governor, Hyacinth Alia was not not submitted by the All Progressives Congress to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC within 180 days before the election of March 18.
The Appellate Court held that the allegations could survive because the primary election that produced Alia was ordered by a High Court and was done within the period ordered by the court.
Justice Otisi held that the appeal of Uba against the judgment of the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal delivered on September 23 lacked merit and was dismissed.
The Court subsequently upheld the judgment of the tribunal and rejected the plea of the PDP governorship candidate to set it aside.
Monday’s development came about eight months after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Alia as the winner of the governorship exercise in the North-Central state.
The Catholic priest won 473,933 votes ahead of his closest rival Uba who polled 223,913 votes.