Today, January 23, 2023, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s governorship primary elections in 11 local government areas of Benue State were annulled by the Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi.
The appeal filed by Professor Terhemba Shija, one of the APC’s aspirants for governor in Benue State in 2023, against the nomination of Fr. Hyacinth Alia was decided by this court. Shija had asked the court to declare invalid the party’s governorship primary election, which had delivered Alia as the winner, on the grounds that there had been no primaries.
In its ruling, the court mandated that 11 of the state’s 23 local government units have a second round of voting. Gboko, Gwer-East, Gwer-West Guma, Katsina-Ala, Logo, Makurdi, Otukpo, Ukum, Tarka, and Vandeikya are the local government areas that are affected.
The court cited the case of ONI v. FAYEMI and Chief K. C. Ikonne, the appellant’s counsel, in stating that the burden of proof clearly fell on the respondents to establish the existence of a primary election, which they failed to do.
The Appeal Court had previously upheld the decision of the lower court by dismissing Senator Barnabas Gemade’s appeal for lack of merit and declaring it to be time-barred.
The Appeal Court also declared the APGA’s governorship primary in the state invalid because the party would not be fielding a candidate for that office in the state’s elections in 2023.
Additionally, the Court ordered Alia and APC to compensate Prof. Shija with N2 million for wasting his time.