The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Alia winner of the March 18 gubernatorial election, but Titus Uba, who was then speaker of Benue House of Assembly and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, had rejected the result and headed for the court.
He had asked the tribunal to annul Alia’s victory on the grounds that Samuel Ode, running mate of the APC candidate, allegedly presented a forged certificate to INEC.
He 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.
But the tribunal dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was statute-barred since the case was a pre-election matter.
Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s verdict, Uba headed for the Appeal Court.
In its ruling on Monday, the appeal court’s panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that the Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode.
Citing section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, she held that the high court and not the tribunal have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.
She 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 panel, therefore, upheld the election.