The Alliance for Democracy and Justice, ADJ received with great satisfaction, the verdict of the Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi the Benue State capital, Monday, January 23, 2023 which nullified the contentious APC primary election, that purportedly produced, Hyacinth Alia, a suspended Catholic Priest as its governorship flag bearer in the state. The Court ordered a rerun of the controversial primary election in 11 Local Government Areas of Benue State.
As a pro-democracy group that advocates the entrenchment of democratic tenets in all political affairs of our state across the various political parties, we hail this judgment delivered by Justice Biobelle Abraham Georgewill and particularly commend him and the other Justices on the panel for standing firmly to resist all overtures to circumvent the cause of justice.
“Our group and others had warned that the APC in Benue State did not follow due process in conducting a valid primary election in line with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended). We indeed advocated for proper approach to be taken as even the party’s appeal panel described the exercise as a “Yahoo Yahoo primary election.”
Unfortunately, the purported guber candidate of the APC in Benue State, an ordained minister of God who ought to have taken the correct approach of doing things, decided to cut corners to enable him have his way to power through illegitimate means. He along with his supporters publicly insulted anyone who raised a dissenting voice including highly respected individuals who were also contestants.
“We note that the appellate court judgment is a vindication of democracy as it will deepen democratic principles especially inclusiveness. We wonder why a huge number of 11 Local Government Areas in the state could be so blatantly excluded in the controversial guber primaries of the APC. With the nullification of the exercise by the court, the fate of Alia the supposed candidate of the party obviously hangs in the balance as even though the court ordered a rerun in the 11 LGAs, the time for such exercise as stipulated by the Electoral Act has elapsed and we doubt if Alia will be on the ballot”.
This judgment of the Appeal Court is a deserved sanction to Alia for circumventing the will of the people by deceitful and crude means. We hope that he will learn a bitter lesson of life and ask himself some hard questions, questions of sober reflection and regret in his quiet moments. He will surely wonder why he abandoned his true calling – priesthood to chase worldly things.
The group in a statement issued by Comrade Ternenge Bendega, Coordinator, Alliance for Democracy and Justice, ADJ, commended Prof. Terhemba Shija’s maturity and comportment in seeking legal redress for the injustice which was done to him and other contestants on the APC platform. We urge others who are still in court challenging the exercise not to be distracted by the insults hurled at them but remain steadfast and uncompromising believing that the wheel of justice may grind slowly but surely, it will come to a halt.
By this judgment of the appeal court, it has rekindled the hope of the common man in the judiciary as the protector of democracy towards deepening a culture of justice, equity and fairness.