By Amos Aar
CATHOLIC Priest, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, has been declared winner of the direct primary elections conducted on Friday, 27th May, 2022 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State.
Fr. Alia was suspended about two weeks ago by Bishop Williams Avenya of the Catholic Diocese of Gboko in line with Catholic Canon Law to free him to join politics when he expressed interests to contest for the 2023 governorship of Benue State.
Fr. Alia is believed to have a large followership that cuts across ethnic divide in the state and well positioned to defeat Hon. Titus Uba, the current Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly who had been elected as fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Announcing results of the direct primary election held on Friday across all wards in the state at the APC state secretariat, Makurdi, Benue State capital, on Saturday, the Chairman of the party’s Primary Election Committee, Dr Peter Ojie, said Fr Alia polled 526,807 to floor his closest rival, Mr Mathias Byuan, who scored 113,816.
According Dr Ojie, Terlumun Ikya scored 3,680, Bernard Yisa – 742, Godwin Tyachimin – 1,228, Michael Aõndoakaa – 28,596, Barnabas Gemade – 2,365, Iorwase Hembe – 2,473, Anyom Mlanga – 0, Terwase Orbunde – 12,446, Chief Stephen Lawani – 42,882, Sam Ode – 79,369 and Prof. Terhemba Shija – 1,048.
Dr Ojie stated that a total number of 868,010 voters were registered, 817,472 accredited, 815,452 cast votes and all the 815,452 votes were valid.
“The National Chairman of APC endorsed a letter directing that for Benue State, three modes were available for the party to choose to conduct primary elections and the leadership of our great party chose direct mode to conduct gubernatorial primary election. So when we arrived here, we informed leaders who were gathered in this hall about everything.
“The election was conducted through open ballot system across the 23 local government areas of Benue State.
“Members of the party at the various ward centres queued behind the candidates of their choice and option A4 was applied. The election was peaceful, fair and credible,” Dr Ojie stated.
Reacting to the outcome of the primary elections, APC State Chairman, Comrade Austin Agada, expressed delight that members of the party had spoken with one voice by producing Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia as their candidate.
Comrade Agada said APC members would work collectively to take over the leadership of Benue State from PDP because Benue cannot continue to suffer maladministration.
Efforts by National Record to contact other aspirants for their reaction to the declaration of Fr. Alia as the winner of the primary by the Chairman of APC’s Primary Election Committee failed as their aides said they were still consulting.