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Benue: Appeal Court Orders APC Guber Primary Rerun In 11 LGAs


January 23, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, has ordered the All Progressive Congress (APC) to conduct a fresh primary election in eleven local government areas of the state.

The result of the rerun, the court directed, should be added to the existing result of the 12 local governments to determine the nomination of its gubernatorial candidate for the March 11 governorship election in the State.

Ruling in an appeal filed by one of the governorship aspirants, Professor Terhemba Shija, a three-member of justices including Mohammed Danjuma, Abraham Biobelle and Ibrahim Wakali Jauro, unanimously agreed with the argument of Prof. Shija that there was no valid primary election held on May 27, by APC for the nomination of its gubernatorial candidate which Fr. Alia was declared the winner.

Justice Danjuma, who read the judgement, said after evaluating evidence submitted by Professor Terhemba Shija, which among others, is the appeal panel report that sat after the primaries to have issues of concern from aspirants and made recommendations that the primary election was not valid.

However, the Court upheld the results of the rerun primary election held on June 9, 2022, in twelve local Government Areas of the state.

The 12 Local Governments Areas where a rerun election was held on the 9th are Buruku, Kwande, Agatu, Konshisha, Ogbadibo, Ushongo, Oju Okpokwu, Ado, Ohimini Obi and Apa local governments.

While the local government areas where a fresh primary would be conducted include Gboko, Gwer-East, Gwer-West, Guma, Katsina, Logo Makurdi, Otukpo, Ukum, Tarka and Vandeikya.

The court ordered that the results of the 9th June 2022 and the one to be conducted afresh should be added and the winner with the highest number of votes be declared the winner.

“Yes, I have seen that the APC did not conduct a valid primary on May 27, 2022, for reasons the appeal panel ordered a fresh election conducted on June 9, 2022, in some local governments.

“In the interest of justice, I cannot allow those voters in the remaining 11 local government areas to be disenfranchised, therefore, the APC should go back and conduct an election in eleven local government areas within 14 days and the Independent National Electoral Commission should recognise the winner after adding both earlier primary results”, the court ruled.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the court delivered judgement on the case filed by another governorship aspirant, Senator Barnabas Gemade.

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

The appeal of the PDP against APC House of Assembly candidates and House of Representatives candidates was also dismissed.

The court held that PDP has no locus standi whatsoever to meddle in APC or another political party’s affairs.

In his reaction, the APC governorship candidate, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, appealed to supporters to remain calm adding that he respected the judgement of the court.

“We are law-abiding citizens and respect the judgement of the court and appeal 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 God, ” he said.

The party chairman in the State, Austin Agada, also urged party supporters to remain calm.