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Rev Father Hyacinth Alia becomes first clergyman to emerge governor in Nigeria

Catholic Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has won the Benue state governorship election, thus making him the first clergyman to become governor of a state in Nigeria.

Alia garnered 473,933 votes to defeat Titus Uba, the candidate of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP), who polled 223,913 votes, to be declared the winner on Monday.

Herman Hembe of the Labour Party (LP) scored 41,881 votes.

Faruk Kuta, vice chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, and the returning officer of the Benue state gubernatorial election, announced the results on Monday at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre in Makurdi, the state’s capital.

Out of the 23 LGAs in Benue, Alia secured 17, while Uba clinched four and Hembe got one and was declared the winner in line with the electoral act and the INEC guidelines.

A PhD holder in Biomedical Ethics from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Alia has served as Director of Pastoral Services, Catholic Health Services, North Campus Lauderdale Lakes, Florida USA, during which he led and oversaw five full time contract Chaplains, provided annual development of departmental goals and budget, coordinated Ethics Advisory Committee, assessed and planned pastoral services and programmes as well as provided short and long term counseling services.

In the area of parish work, Alia has served variously as parochial vicar at St John’s Parish Gboko, assistant Cathedral Administrator, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral Makurdi, Parish Priest at St Jude’s Parish Koti-Yough, Parochial Vicar Immaculate Conception Parish Astoria, New York, Parochial Vicar Our Lady of the Cenacle Parish Richmond Hill Queens New York, Parish Priest St Thomas Parish Anum Makurdi, Parish Priest Christ the King Parish Adi Etilo.

Alia is currently a member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, the Catholic Health Services System Wide Ethics, Committee and Member Broward Ethics Committee.