The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the election of Hyacinth Alia as governor of Benue state.
Alia was declared the winner of the governorship election that was held in March.
The Catholic priest polled 473,933 votes to be declared winner by the electoral commission.
However, Titus Uba, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, filed a petition challenging Alia’s victory.
Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi, who delivered the lead judgment, dismissed the allegation of non-qualification levelled by Uba against the 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 is a pre-election matter which can only be challenged at a Federal High Court and not at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as done by Uba.
Also, Justice Otisi said that a suit to challenge non-qualification can only be instituted within 14 days of occurrence of the subject matter.
The court also dealt with the allegation by Uba that the name of the governor, Hyacinth Alia, was not submitted by the APC to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, within 180 days before the election of March 18.
The court held that the allegation 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 Uba’s appeal against the judgment of Benue State Election Petition Tribunal delivered on September 23 lacked merit.