Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic priest, has emerged the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue.
Rev. Fr. Alia, Catholic priest of Gboko Diocese, scored 526,807 votes to emerge as the party’s candidate at the primary election held on Saturday in Makurdi.
Chairman of the election committee, Dr Peter Ojie, said 13 aspirants participated at the election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Williams Avanya had before Saturday suspended the priest for his involvement in partisan politics.
Ojie said APC had 868,010 registered members in Benue, 817,472 of whom were accredited for the election, adding that 815,452 casted votes at the primary election.
He said Dr Mathias Ibyuan came a distance second with 113,816 votes, while Dr Sam Ode scored 79,369 to berth at the third position.
He said also that Chief Stephen Lawani scored 46,882 votes, while Mr Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) scored 24,596 with Pastor Terwase Orbunde scoring 12,446 votes.
Prof. Terhemba Shija scored 1,048 votes; Sen. Barnabas Gemade scored 2,365 votes, Mr Godwin Tyoachimin scored 1,228 votes, while Barrister Hemen Hembe scored 2473 votes.
Architect Benard Yisa scored 714 votes; Mr Terlumun Ikya scored 3,680 votes while Mr Anyom Mlamga scored no vote.
Rev. Fr. Alia won in 13 Local Government Areas which included Kwande, Buruku, Gwer-East, Gwer-West and Tarka.
He also won majority votes in Vandeikya, Makurdi, Ukum, Guma, Ushongo, Logo, Katsina-Ala, and Gboko Local Government Areas.
Chief Steve Lawani won in five Local Government Areas – Ado, Ogbadibo, Okpokwu, Agatu and Oju.
Dr Sam Ode won in Otukpo, Apa, Obi and Ohimini Local Government Areas while Dr Mathias Ibyuan won at Konshisha Local Government Area.
NAN reports that the Catholic priest is following in the footsteps of late Fr. Moses Adasu who won Benue’s governorship election in 1991.
NAN further reports that APC plans to hold a special congress to affirm the result.