Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic priest, on Saturday, emerged the 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue.

Before Saturday, the diocese bishop, Williams Avanya, had suspended the priest for his involvement in partisan politics.

Mr Alia, the Catholic priest of Gboko Diocese, scored 526,807 votes to emerge as the party’s candidate at the primary election held in Makurdi.

Chairman of the election committee, Peter Ojie, said 13 aspirants participated in the election.

Mr Ojie said APC had 868,010 registered members in Benue, 817,472 of whom were accredited for the election, adding that 815,452 cast votes at the primary election.

Mathias Ibyuan came a distant second with 113,816 votes, while Sam Ode scored 79,369 to berth at the third position.

He also said that Stephen Lawani scored 46,882 votes, while Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) scored 24,596, with Terwase Orbunde scoring 12,446 votes.

Terhemba Shija scored 1,048 votes, Barnabas Gemade 2,365 votes, Godwin Tyoachimin 1,228 votes, and Barrister Hemen Hembe 2473 votes.

Benard Yisa scored 714 votes, Terlumun Ikya 3,680 votes, while Anyom Mlamga had no votes.

Mr Alia won in 13 Local Government Areas, including 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.