A Makurdi Federal High Court presided over by Justice Hassan Dikko has dismissed the suit filed by Prof. Terhemba Shija of the All Progressives Congress, APC challenging the emerges Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia as the governorship candidate of the party, for lacking in merit.
Prof. Shija had approached the courts seeking the nullification of the primary election of his party that produced Fr. Alia on the grounds that the process failed to meet the guidelines as stipulated in the Electoral Act and the APC’s rules guiding the conduct of the party’s primaries.
Delivering judgement in the matter Thursday, Jutsice Dikko who resolved all other issues in favour of the plaintiff, however, queried the locus of the plaintiff to challenge the outcome of a process he claimed did not hold.
He held that “the plaintiff cannot claim that an election did not hold and at the same time ask that the result be nullified.”
Justice Dikko who further held that the plaintiff failed to prove his case said, “after a critical review of all the exhibits tendered before the court, it is my firm view that the party conducted a valid gubernatorial primary election in 11 Local Government Areas, LGAs, on the 26, 27 and 28 of May 2022 and equally conducted a valid rerun in 11 LGAs on June 9, 2022.
“Haven held that there was valid primary election held by the APC, the second defendant therefore emerged with the highest number of votes and should be rightfully declared winner of the election. This suit therefore lacks merit and is therefore dismissed.”
Reacting Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Joseph Agbo acknowledged that all issues raised by his client were decided in his favour except the issue of valid primary election which the Judge completely misinterpreted.
“Our position is that a valid primary election was not conducted, we did not say the primary election did not hold. That was where the Judge didn’t get right. We will study the judgement and advise our client on the next line of action.”
On his part, the counsel to Fr. Alia, Mr. Vangerbee Uhamber commended the judgement saying his client had been positive about the outcome of the suit.
Also, the Director General of the Alia campaign organisation, Pastor Frederick Ikyaan commended the judiciary for doing justice to the matter; while the Secretary of the party, Paul Biam appealed to all aggrieved members of the party to withdraw their cases in court and return back for the good of the party.