By Angula Bishop Reuben

Makurdi – In a significant ruling, the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, has affirmed the victory of Governor Hyacinth Iormem Alia, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The tribunal has, in a decisive move, dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Titus Uba, who contested the election that took place on March 18, 2023. The dismissal was attributed to the tribunal’s finding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter.

Justice Ibrahim Karaye, the chairman of the three-man panel of justices, emphasized that the issues raised before the tribunal fell under the category of pre-election matters as defined in section 285 of the Electoral Act.

Consequently, the tribunal concluded that it was not within its purview to address the concerns of “Res Judicata”

The tribunal’s decision was based on the premise that the petitioner should have pursued their claims, such as Governor Alia’s qualification and nomination by the APC, as well as allegations of a forged certificate and false information on INEC Form EC9 against his deputy, Barr. Sam Ode, through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This should have extended beyond the Federal High Court, which previously dismissed a suit filed by the petitioner, and should have been taken to the Court of Appeal rather than the tribunal.

It’s important to note that according to the INEC’s official election results declared earlier this year, Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, secured 473,933 votes, securing a significant lead over his closest rival, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba, who garnered 223,913 votes.

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