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HomePoliticsBenue: Group urges INEC to remove Alia's name as APC guber candidate

Benue: Group urges INEC to remove Alia’s name as APC guber candidate

By Sunday Ogli, Makurdi

CIVIL society group known as Political Justice and Fairplay has petitioned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, urging him not to publish the name of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia and APC for 2023 governorship election in Benue State.

The petition dated March 8,2023, signed its leaders; Nura Garba and Musa Ammani was made available to newsmen in Makurdi on Sunday.

The group stated that by the date of the judgement by the Appeal Court Makurdi Branch between Prof. Terhemba Shija and All Progressives Congress, APC, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC delivered on the 23rd of January 2023, the Appeal Court had powers to either nullify or uphold the Federal High Court judgement but did not have the power to order for a rerun of the primary election because 180 constitutional days allowed for a candidate to emerge before the general elections had caught up with the case as provided in section 29(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

It therefore argued that INEC lacked the power by law to reopen its portal to add the name of any candidate of a political party as it is in contravention of section 29(1 ) of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended.

But the Director, Media and Publicity of Hyacinth Alia/Sam Ode campaign organisation, Kula Tersoo, said the petition is laughable.

Tersoo who spoke with this reporter on phone on Sunday, at no time was there any valid order suggesting or ordering for Father Alia’s name to be removed INEC portal. “Was INEC supposed to do it in a vacuum? There was no order to that effect,” Tersoo wondered.

He argued; “if 180 days had caught up with the case, who is supposed to benefit since Father was not the one that took them to court? Whose case would have been useless?”

He said the petitioners are merely groaning because they have been beaten.

However, the petitioners pointed out that it is only the death of the candidate of a political party that will warrant such a change or conduct of another primary election.

The group made reference to the Supreme Court ruling between Hyacinth Alia, Prof Terhemba Shija, APC and INEC delivered on the 16th of February 2023 by Justice John Inyang Okoro, Justice of the Supreme Court, where the two cross appeals of Prof Terhemba Shija and Rev. Hyacinth Alia were dismissed because the counsel to Prof. Shija withdrew the case, making the Supreme Court did not issue any judgement.

“Hence by law, the Appeal Court judgement still subsist. APC in Benue State with her governorship candidate cannot appear on the ballot of the 2023 general elections.

“Also the position of the Supreme Court judgement delivered on Wednesday 1st February 2023 in an Appeal No. SC/CV/1564/2022 between Chief David Kente Vs Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, APC and INEC (2023) LPELR-59743 (SC), Justice Kudirat Motonmori Olatunko Kekere-Ekun stated clearly that no Court has the power to order for a rerun within 14 days because of the 180 days time constraint before general elections. The judgement also apply to the Benue APC rerun primaries because the180 constitutionally allowed days caught up with the process. For this reason INEC must obey section 29 subsection 1 of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended,” the group further stated.

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