By James Shim
Federal High Court, Makurdi division has dismissed the suit by Prof. Terhemba Shija challenging the nomination of Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governorship candidate in the 2023 election for lack of sufficient evidence.
Prof. Shija had instituted the suit seeking the nullification of the APC primaries that produced Fr Alia as standard flagbearer of the APC Benue State.
The presiding judge, Justice Hassan Diko in his ruling held that Prof. Shija complained that no primary election was conducted by APC anywhere in Benue state and therefore, lacked the locus standi to complain.
The court held that APC conducted valid primaries in the eleven (11) Local Government Areas that Prof. Shija was challenging.
Court, while considering the report of the the APC Benue State Appeal Panel authored by the erstwhile chairman of the panel which purported that the primary election was “yahoo yahoo primaries”, said it was clear that the signature of the secretary and other members of the panel were procured, and that the APC held valid primaries.
It however, upheld the preliminary objection raised by APC and Fr Alia that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the suit as he admitted in his Originating Summons that he never participated in the primary election of APC in Benue State.
Justice Diko therefore, dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff has failed to bring sufficient evidence to prove his assertions.
In a swift reaction, Fr Alia said the ruling was victory not just for himself but that of the APC and Benue people.
“it’s about our collectiveness, it’s about Benue State, it’s about how we are going to deliver Benue from the dungeon where we are currently,” he stated.
While describing himself as a unifier and a bridge builder, Fr Alia called on those who feel aggrieved to come back so that together, they can build the party and deliver on democracy.
“I’m a unifying factor, I’m a bridge builder… In fact, I’m using this opportunity to invite them to come back for us to rebuild our party and deliver on democracy,” he said.
He added that “a moment like this is in full length a total expression of our deep democracy, but I feel they should understand not just by perception but by position that democracy is to carry everybody along, democracy is to letting everybody understand not the subjective interest but the objective interest. Benue and the people of Benue are, and must remain the objective interest.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Shija promised to study the ruling for next line of action.