The Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Makurdi, delivered a verdict on Saturday, September 22, affirming the election victory of Governor Hyacinth Alia, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Titus Uba, its gubernatorial candidate, filed the petition, but the tribunal rejected it in a ruling today.
Tribunal cited a lack of jurisdiction as the primary reason for the dismissal of the petition.
According to the tribunal’s three-man panel of justices, led by Chairman Justice Ibrahim Karaye, the issues raised in the petition fell under the category of pre-election matters, as stipulated in Section 285 of the Electoral Act.
Justice Karaye emphasized that the tribunal was not the appropriate forum to entertain the petition, directing the petitioner to pursue their claims concerning Governor Alia’s qualification, APC’s nomination process, and allegations of a forged certificate and false information on form EC9 against his deputy, Sam Ode, before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal emphasized that such cases should go beyond the Federal High Court, which had previously dismissed a petitioner’s lawsuit, and go to the Court of Appeal.
This ruling comes in the aftermath of the March 18, 2023, election, where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Hyacinth Alia the winner, securing 473,933 votes, while his closest rival, Titus Uba, garnered 223,913 votes.
The decision of the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing political landscape of the state and serves as a testament to the significance of adhering to the legal processes outlined in electoral matters.