Nigerian Supreme Court upholds Benue election of Hyacinth Alia

By Jen Krausz on
 January 9, 2024

A five-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld the March election of Benue State Governor Hyacinth Alia on Monday, denying a challenge to the election by supporters of Titus Uba, his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rival.

Uba was speaker of the Benue State House Assembly at the time of the election, and he accused Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, and Alia of electoral malpractice that resulted in his loss.

Before taking his complaints to the Supreme Court, Uba tried the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal and was refused by both.

Uba did not even think Alia qualified as a candidate because he had previously been a Catholic priest, but left the priesthood to run for office.

The allegations

They also alleged Alia's deputy, Samuel Ode, submitted a forged certificate to INEC, which was illegal and would nullify his candidacy.

They further claimed the governor’s name was submitted as a candidate to INEC after the constitutionally stipulated time, which would also nullify his candidacy.

The Supreme Court said Uba and his supporters failed to prove these allegations.

Alia was present along with his deputy Sam Ode and other officials to hear the verdict.

In dispute

The election results have apparently been in dispute for the last nine months, even as Alia took office and began to lead in Benue, one of 36 states in Nigeria.

Countries like Nigeria, which is still considered a third-world country, often have conflicts around their elections that can last for many months or years.

Sometimes there is even violence, which did not seem to be the case here in Benue, Nigeria for this election.

America has largely escaped these issues due to its Constitution and other protections, along with societal pressure and the general belief that elections are fair here.

It seems like all of these things are breaking down, which could be why there have been more questions about American elections in recent years.

Still, even our most recent election was never tied up in the courts after it was certified and the peaceful transfer of power took place. This shows a general desire for a peaceful government, which can only be achieved if people find a way to agree on who will lead the country, even if they don't all like it.

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