In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday, upheld the election of Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the duly elected governor of Benue State.
The unanimous decision was delivered by a three-member panel of justices and dealt a significant blow to Mr. Titus Uba, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who had filed an appeal challenging the outcome of the gubernatorial election held on March 18.
The court’s decision reaffirmed the validity of Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia’s victory, as previously confirmed by the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on September 23.
During the hearing, the Court of Appeal meticulously scrutinized Mr. Uba’s appeal and determined that it lacked merit. Several key factors contributed to the court’s decision:
The court emphasized that many of the issues raised by Mr. Uba and the PDP in their appeal pertained to pre-election matters. These concerns were deemed irrelevant to the validity of the election results.
A significant point of contention was the accusation of forgery leveled against the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ode. The appellate court recognized that such allegations carried serious criminal implications and, therefore, should be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court asserted that it was the responsibility of the appellants, Mr. Uba and the PDP, to substantiate their claims with concrete evidence. However, they failed to meet the requisite burden of proof imposed by the law.
In light of these considerations, the Court of Appeal concluded that the appellants had not presented sufficient grounds to warrant the reversal of the previous rulings. Consequently, all issues raised in the appeal were resolved against Mr. Titus Uba and the PDP.