The Court of Appeal in Makurdi, on Monday, nullified the gubernatorial primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State.
The Court ordered the party to conduct a rerun election in 11 out of the 23 Local Government Areas within 14 day of its judgment.
The court gave the order in an appeal brought before it by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prof. Terhemba Shija against the judgment of a Makurdi Federal High Court, which dismissed his suit challenging the outcome of the APC gubernatorial primary election in the State.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Biobelle Georgewill, held that the appellant, Prof. Shija “was able to prove that there was no gubernatorial primary election conducted by the APC on May 27, 2022.”
It however held that Shija failed to prove that the APC didn’t hold a rerun governorship election on June 9th, 2022.
The appellate court also ordered the APC and its governorship candidate, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia to pay Prof. Shija N2million as damages.
The affected LGAs where the court ordered a rerun includes Gboko, Gwer- East, Gwer-West, Guma, Katsina-Ala, Logo, Makurdi, Otukpo, Ukum, Tarka and Vandeikya.
Reacting, counsel to Prof. Shija, Ken Ikonne who said though the court nullified the election of the APC candidate, he was not satisfied with the judgment
He said “the court nullified Alia’s election but held that since I did not challenge the primary election conducted in 12 LGAs on June 9, 2022, that before he would be nominated they should go and hold rerun elections in the 11 LGAs that was nullified.
“Bit I disagree because the court has no powers to order rerun elections and the defendants didn’t ask for it. So I am bringing a cross appeal against that aspect of the judgment.
“I will file an application for stay or an injunction pending appeal so that the APC does not go ahead to hold their primaries pending the outcome of the appeal.”
Reacting, the Legal Adviser to the APC, Fidelis Mnyim, said there was no cause for alarm, stressing that the judgment had opened two options for APC.
According to him, “the first option is that we will comply with the court directive and conduct a rerun primary elwction in the 11 LGs within the next 14 days and the second is to approach the supreme court within 14days.
“We, however, would apply for the hard copy of the judgment, study it critically and advise the party accordingly.
“But in my opinion, either of the two options are in favour of the party.” (Vanguard)