Makurdi: Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, a suspended Catholic priest in the Catholic diocese of Gboko, Benue state has won the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

The priest polled over 7,000 votes to clinch the party’s ticket.

In some of the LGAs, Gemade and Aondoakaa failed to get a single vote.

Alia was suspended by the church after his declaration in the guber race. He was relieved of his priestly duties temporarily on the grounds of the canon laws of the Catholic church which forbids priests from venturing into partisan politics.

However, he is following in the footsteps of Late Rev Fr Moses Adasu, who also abandoned his priestly vocation to become the Governor of Benue State under the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP between 1991and 1992 during General Ibrahim Babangida’s failed transition to civil rule.

The priest won after polling a high number of votes at the primary election that was held on Friday.

The APC in Benue opted for direct primary to pick its governorship candidate, which means members of the party in the state voted for their preferred choice.

He contested the party’s ticket with Barnabas Gemade, a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Mike Aondoakaa, a former attorney-general of the federation (AGF).

The priest said he joined the governorship race to rescue Benue people from the “shackles of maladministration”.

“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,” Hyacinth Alia said.

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