The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia as the governor of Benue State.
Titus Uba, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election, had contested the tribunal’s judgment affirming Alia’s victory.
Uba’s petition at the tribunal included allegations that Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, submitted a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in violation of Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Uba also claimed that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.
The tribunal, led by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition, citing it as a pre-election matter and therefore statute-barred.
In the appeal ruling on Monday, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi, stated that Uba failed to substantiate the allegations of forgery against Ode beyond a reasonable doubt.
Meanwhile, Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has called for a reconsideration of the Court of Appeal’s decisions that sacked three state governors.