The appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Titus Uba, against the election of Governor Hyacinth Alia as the elected governor of Benue State has been dismissed on Monday by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
The court, in a unanimous judgment resolved all the three issues raised for determination against Uba and PDP.
Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi, who delivered the lead judgment, dismissed the allegations of non-qualification made by Uba against Alia’s Deputy Governor, Samuel Ode.
Justice Otisi held that the PDP gubernatorial candidate failed to establish forgery of INEC form EC9 by Ode beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
Among others, the Court of Appeal said that the issues of non-qualification was a pre-election matter, which can only be challenged at a Federal High Court and not at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal as done by Uba.
Justice Otisi said that a suit to challenge non-qualification of a candidate can only be instituted within 14 days of occurrence of the subject matter.
The court also dealt with the allegations by Uba that the name of the Governor, Hyacinth Alia, was not submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 180 day time-frame before the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
The Court held that the allegations can’t survive because the primary election that produced Alia was ordered by a High Court and was done within the period ordered by the court.
In the final analysis, Justice Otisi held that the appeal of Uba against the judgement of Benue State Election Petitions Tribunal delivered on September 23, 2023 lacked merit and was was consequently dismissed.
The court subsequently upheld the judgement of the Tribunal and rejected the plea of Uba to void same and set it aside.