Controversies trail priest’s emergence as Benue APC gov candidate

Controversies have continued to trail the emergence of the suspended Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia as the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate in Benue State in the 2023 election.

A purported report of Benue State Governorship Appeal Panel of APC recommendation to the National Working Committee to nullify the party’s governorship primaries had gone viral on social media.

But the state’s APC Working Committee had dismissed the trending report, clarifying that no panel had the right to nullify the party primary election.

Some aspirants, among them, one-time national chairman of PDP, Barnabas Gemade; former Attorney General of Federation, Michael Kaase Aondoakaa; Prof. Terhemba Shija and Matthias Byuan had made their submissions to the governorship panel, calling for the nullification of the primary.

In the 11 page report dated May 31, 2022, circulating on social media, the chairman of the appeal panel, Princess Uzoamaka Onyeama and Secretary, Gyang submitted to the APC National Chairman, Abdulahi Adamu pointed out that from the various petitions filed by the guber aspirants, there was glaring evidence that the primaries did not take place in Benue.

The report recommended outright cancellation of the purported primary in its entirety.

Part of the report reads, “It is the submission of the Appeal Committee members that from the foregoing, the past event of Zamfara State and the more latest and potent danger of Anambra State; that no governorship primary election held in Benue State and we recommend as follows

“That the NWC cancel in its entirety the gubernatorial primary election in Benue State and conduct a fresh election as INEC has extended its time limit to 9th of June, 2022.

“To avoid putting the party in public ridicule and odium as in Anambra State. That the party should avoid uncalled for litigations.

“The few result sheets the aspirants presented to us had more curiously no agent of the guber aspirants or agent of the declared candidate to prove the results sheets produced and declared genuine.”

How can any election result of the magnitude of total votes cast of 815, 452 not have at least one invalid vote?

“We the appeal panel unanimously agreed that it is not a true reflection of a credible election result, it is too flawless in figure a clear proof of the assertions of the aspirants/stakeholders submission that it was written in somebody’s house, the state party secretariat, in hidden places”, it said.

But the APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Daniel Ihomun, described the report circulating on social media as “fake, malicious and contorted”.

“The purported report is fake and has no substance, that an appeal panel by a political party lacks the powers to cancel any primary election.

“That the election that produced the candidature of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia is valid and reflects the wishes of the majority of APC members across Benue State.

“That Rev. Fr. Alia remains the flag bearer of our party in Benue State and poised to take victory from the weaken and perforated Umbrella party.

“That our teeming members across the state should disregard the information and continue to support and have faith in the APC.”

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