The suspended priest of the Catholic Church Diocese of Gboko, Benue State, Hyacinth Alia, has defeated his closest contender, Barnabas Gemade, to clinch the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket in the state.
Alia, who was suspended by the church after his declaration of interest to run for the post in the 2023 general elections, contested against the former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mike Aondoakaa, and the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barnabas Gemade, NjenjeMediaNews reports.
Alia was relieved of his priestly duties temporarily on the grounds of the canon laws of the Catholic Church.
The suspended priest polled over 7,000 votes, representing the highest number of votes cast at the primary election on Friday to win the party’s ticket.
Recall that the APC in Benue opted for direct primary to pick its governorship candidate. This therefore means that members of the party in the state voted for their preferred aspirant.
Alia’s opponents, Gemade and Aondoakaa, reportedly did not get any vote in some of the local government areas.
The suspended priest when he declared to run for the post had said he joined the governorship race to rescue Benue people from the “shackles of maladministration.”
He added that “From the day I took the decision to answer the overwhelming calls of my people to contest the governorship of Benue with the aim to rescue our people from the shackles of maladministration, I was fully aware of the sacrifice I was going to make.”