The Enugu State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal has ruled that Peter Mba was validly elected.
Governor Peter Mbah of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, September 21, won the first leg of the election petition challenging his election as governor of Enugu State.
Labour Party, LP, and Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, had challenged Mba’s election based on alleged non-qualification, certificate forgery and not scoring the highest number of votes cast.
Ruling on the PRP petition, the tribunal held that Chris Agu, the PRP governorship candidate, could not prove his allegation that Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate was forged and dismissed his petition.
The Tribunal ruled that Agu was unable to provide Certified True Copies of the alleged documents and cannot rely on photocopies of documents.
The Court held that there was no evidence before it to support PRP’s claim that a forged certificate was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the issue is not contained in the petitioner’s affidavit. According to the Court, to prove forgery successfully, both the original and the supposedly forged certificate ought to have been exhibited.
The Tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that respondent does not possess the minimum requirement to stand for election which is school certificate, or its equivalent. The petitioner, according to the tribunal, presented no evidence to support the claim that Mbah was not qualified to contest the election.
On the issue of Plea bargain by Mbah, the tribunal held that the exhibits presented by the petitioners did not show any Plea bargain by Mba. Rather, the Court upheld the evidence presented by Mbah that he was acquitted of the charges.
Chijioke Edeoga, gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party, also could not prove his case against Mbah.
The Tribunal struck out his application to disqualify Mbah for NYSC forgery, and affirmed that NYSC certificate according to Section 177 of the 1999 constitution is not a requirement for contesting governorship election.
According to the Tribunal, Mbah did not submit his NYSC certificate to INEC in aid of his qualification to contest the gubernatorial election since he was already qualified without NYSC certificate.
The Tribunal rejected Edeoga’s witnesses and ruled that the LP governorship candidate did not present any admissible evidence to prove that Mbah’s certificate was forged.
On the issue that Mbah did not win the majority of votes cast, the Court resolved it in favour of Mbah as well.
The Tribunal ruled that witnesses called by the petitioners could not specify the polling units where the elections did not hold nor the results of same.
The Court also held that Edeoga could not prove the allegations of over-voting and bypass of BVAS.
Mbah was therefore affirmed by the Court as duly elected governor by majority of lawful and valid votes cast at the election.