The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday affirmed the election of Mr Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Party (APC) as the Governor of Benue State.
Persecondnews reports that the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba, had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal that upheld Alia’s election.
Uba among other things alleged that Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
He further claimed that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a re-run primary election.
A three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.
Ruling on the appeal on Monday, the appeal court’s three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that the Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode.
“The appellant failed to prove the allegation of forgery beyond reasonable doubt. No other form of EC9 was presented. To prove forgery, two documents must be produced; the original and the forged document. The appellant failed to prove an element of forgery by not making available the documents,” she held.
Citing section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, she held that the high court and not the tribunal had the jurisdiction to hear the case.
She added that the appellant lacked the locus standi to challenge the qualification of the deputy governor since he was not part of the party’s primary.