The Court of Appeal in Makurdi, Benue State, has ordered the All Progressives Congress (APC) to conduct a fresh governorship primary election in 11 out of the 23 local council areas of the state.
Delivering judgement in an appeal filed by Terhemba Shija, an aggrieved governorship aspirant on the APC platform in Benue State, the appellate court held that the party failed to conduct valid primary election in the 11 local government areas of the state on 27 May 2022.
ThisDay reported that the court delivered the judgement on Monday.
A Roman Catholic priest, Hyacinth Alia, had emerged as the governorship candidate of the APC in the now discredited primary election.
But with the Court of Appeal’s judgement, it implies that the APC is yet to have a governorship candidate in Benue State.
Mohammed Danjuma who read the lead judgement of the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, ordered that the result of the rerun be added to the earlier results from the 12 other councils areas where the poll was adjudged valid by the court.
The 11 councils where the court ordered fresh primary election to be held are: Gboko, Gwer-East, Gwer-West, Guma, Katsina, Logo, Makurdi, Otukpo, Ukum, Tarka and Vandeikya.
“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,” Mr Mohammed held.
Court dismisses suit against APC
Mr Alia has faced multiple legal actions challenging his candidacy for the 11 March governorship poll on the platform of the APC.
In another suit filed by Barnabas Gemade, a former senator, the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict of the Federal High Court, Makurdi, which earlier dismissed the suit against Mr Alia for being statute-barred.
Similarly, the appellate court dismissed an appeal filed by the PDP against the APC House of Assembly candidates and House of Representatives candidates in Benue.
The court said the PDP had no right to meddle in the internal affairs of the APC or any other political party.
Shortly after the ruling, Mr Alia promised to abide by the judgement of the court.
He urged his supporters to be law-abiding.
“We are law-abiding citizens and respect the judgment of the court; (we are) appealing to our teeming supporters to remain calm.
“We are still going to be on the ballot,” Mr Alia told APC supporters.
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