Election Judgement: Enugu State Governor Wins At Tribunal
By Aja Chukwumerije, Enugu
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu State has declared Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP winner of the gubernatorial election held on the 18th of March, 2023.
The tribunal had dismissed allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against Peter Mbah while delivering judgement on the petition brought by Chris Agu of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP against Peter Mbah over Forged NYSC Certificate, Non Qualification And Corruption.
The tribunal held that the petitioner could not prove the allegation as there was no evidence before it to support PRP’s claim that a forged certificate was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, stating that the issue was not contained in the petitioner’s affidavit.
In particular, it stated that to prove forgery, both the original and the supposedly forged certificate ought to have been exhibited.
On the last issue for determination, the tribunal ruled that the governorship election of March 18 and the return of Peter Mbah as winner complied with the provisions of Electoral Act 2022.
The Tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano also held that the petitioner failed to prove that the respondent does not posses the minimum requirement to stand for election and therefore, said there’s no evidence to support the claim that Mbah was not qualified to stand for the election.
On the issue of Plea Bargain by Mbah, the tribunal averred that the exhibits presented by the petitioners didn’t show any Plea bargain by the respondent.
The court said there was evidence presented by Mbah to the effect that he was acquitted of the charges.
The panel also resolved the issue that Mbah wasn’t elected by majority of votes cast against the petitioner.
The panel averred that that witnesses called by the petitioners couldn’t specify the polling units where the elections didn’t hold nor the results of same.
On the petition filed by the Labour Party, the election tribunal dismissed the allegation of Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party that Peter Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate was forged.
The tribunal also rejected Edeoga’s witnesses and ruled that the Labour Party governorship candidate did not present any admissible evidence to prove that Mbah’s certificate was forged.
The tribunal earlier struck out Edeoga/Labour Party’s allegations of over-voting, bypass of BVAS etc.
The Court ruled that Peter Ndubuisi Mbah was duly elected as governor by majority of lawful and valid votes cast at the election.
It held that Peter Mbah did not submit his NYSC certificate to INEC in aid of his qualification to contest for office of governor, since he was already qualified without NYSC certificate.