Appeal Court Orders Fresh Conduct of Benue APC Guber Primary in 11 LGAs

George Okoh in Makurdi

The Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital yesterday ordered the All Progressive Congress (APC) to conduct fresh primary election in 11 local government areas of the state.

It directed that the result of the rerun should be added to the existing results of the 12 local governments which would be used to determine the nomination of its gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming general elections.

Justices Mohammed Danjuma, Justice Abraham Biobelle and Justice Ibrahim Wakali Jauro presided over the delivery of the judgment.

Delivering judgment on the appeal filed by one of the governorship aspirants, Prof. Terhemba Shija, Justice Danjuma who read the judgment said the court agreed with Shija in his assertion that there was no valid primary election held on May 27th by APC for the nomination of its gubernatorial candidate which Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia was declared winner.

Justice Danjuma said after evaluating evidence submitted by Shija which among others was the appeal panel report that sat after the primaries and issues of concerns were raised by the aspirants that the primary election was not valid.

However, the court agreed with the APC on the rerun of June 9, 2022, which took place in 12 local government of the state, saying it was very valid and still stand.

“Yes, I have seen that APC did not conduct a valid primary election on the 27th of May, 2022, reason the appeal panel ordered a fresh election that was conducted on the 9th of June 2022 in some local government.

“In the interest of justice, I cannot allow those voters in the remaining 11 local governments to be disenfranchised, therefore, APC should go back and conduct election in 11 local governments within 14 days and INEC should recognise the winner after adding both earlier primary results.”

The 11 councils where the court ordered fresh primary election are: Gboko, Gwer- East, Gwer-West, Guma, Katsina, Logo Makurdi, Otukpo, Ukum,Tarka and Vandeikya.

The local government that rerun was held on June 9, 2022, were: Buruku, Kwande, Agatu, Konshisha, Ogbadibo, Ushongo, Oju Okpokwu, Ado, Ohimini Obi and Apa local government.

In the same vein, the court also delivered  judgment on the case filed by another governorship aspirant, Senator Barnabas Gemade.

The Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of the Federal High Court which had earlier dismissed the suit against Fr. Alia for being statute barred.

The appeal of the PDP against the APC House of Assembly candidates and House of Representatives candidates was also dismissed. The court held that PDP had no locus standi whatsoever to meddle into APC or another political party’s affairs.

In his reaction, the APC governorship candidate, Alia appealed to supporters to remain calm adding that he would respect the judgment of the court.

“We are law-abiding citizens and respect the judgment of the court and appealing to our teeming supporters to remain calm.

We are still going to be on the ballot. We are all in this for the greater of our state and of God,” he said.

Also reacting, the state chairman of the APC, Austin Agada, urged the supporters to remain calm saying, the people had already spoken, “we believe that the voice of people is the voice of God.”

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