NEWS JUST IN: LP criticizes Enugu tribunal ruling

    The Peoples Democratic Party’s Peter Mbah was declared the state’s governor by the Enugu Election Petitions Tribunal, a decision that the Labour Party’s leadership expressed disappointment with on Wednesday.

    Three weeks have passed since the tribunal confirmed Mbah’s victory in the bitter March 18 governorship contest.

    The Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, had filed petitions, but the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Kudirat Murayo had rejected them, stating that the petitions were not supported by evidence.

    Among other things, Edeoga contested Mbah’s return to office as the state’s legitimately elected governor by presenting a falsified National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate.

    However, the tribunal stated that the NYSC discharge certificate is not a need to run for governor when rejecting the petitioners’ request.

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    At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, National Publicity Secretary, LP, Obiora Ifoh, expressed disappointment with the verdict, saying it did not live up to Nigerians’ expectations.

    Even though it was evident that approximately 15,000 voters were eligible to vote in the remaining local government, Ifoh bemoaned the fact that Edeoga was already coasting to victory with the announcement of election results in 16 out of 17 Local Government Areas before the PDP allegedly conspired with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to manufacture over 30,000 votes for Mbah.

    “The ruling did not live up to the expectations of the vast majority of Nigerians and legal experts who have persisted in questioning the basic reasoning and foundation upon which the ruling was made,” the speaker declared.

    The Labour Party, through its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, approached the Tribunal, essentially alleging over-voting in Nkanu East LGA, particularly in Owo and Ugbawka. The party hoped that the judiciary would examine and rectify the anomaly. Enugu State is a Labour Party state, and it is crucial for Nigerians to know this. We also boldly state that Chijioke Edeoga, our candidate, easily won the March 18 governorship election in Enugu.

    The Labour Party won two of the three senatorial seats in the state, seven of the eight representative seats, and fourteen of the twenty-four seats in the state House of Assembly. “This claim is justified by the outcome of all the other elections held in the state between February and March this year,” Ifoh continued. “Notwithstanding this true position, the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal on September 21 shockingly delivered a judgment on the disputed election that appeared to have ignored the facts in issue.”

    LP criticizes

    Even so, he issued a warning that the outcome of Mbah’s case will negatively impact the handling of election petitions in the future.

    In the end, the Enugu Tribunal issued a subpoena to the alleged issuer of the falsified certificate, who then appeared before it to testify that they had nothing to do with the NYSC Discharge Certificate that Governor Peter Mbah had given to INEC. This was the final chapter in the story of Mbah’s NYSC Discharge Certificate.

    “Unfortunately, the tribunal disregarded the testimony of the NYSC’s Director of Corps Certifications who appeared before it for peculiar reasons. The petitioner’s case should have been proven by this testimony, which easily satisfies the legal requirements for proof of forgery! However, the Justice Akano-led panel shrewdly rejected the crucial evidence provided by a crucial witness that it had asked to testify!

    He said, “Tomorrow the consequences for us all may be dire if we allow the injustice committed in Enugu by both the INEC and the Election Tribunal, sitting as the court of first instance, to stand.”

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