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Enugu guber; NYSC certificate not requirement for contesting elections, Tribunal rules

… Declares Mbah winner

Tribunal
Tribunal (Photo: The Whistler NG)
…Edeoga, LP kick, head to appeal court
…Judiciary putting democracy under threat in Nigeria, NNPP cries out
The Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Thursday in Enugu, upheld the declaration of Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the March 18, 2023 poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
The Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate Chijioke Edeogu had rejected Mbah’s declaration and therefore approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration, arguing that Mbah was not qualified to stand for the election due to an alleged forgery of his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate and cases of over-voting in Udenu, Nkanu East and Enugu East local government areas.
But the tribunal, chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano, dismissed Edeoga and his LP’s petition and prayers, stating that NYSC is not a requirement for contesting for the office of the governor and there is nowhere that the NYSC certificate was attached to the documents the governor submitted to INEC.
This is even as the tribunal had earlier dismissed similar petiton by the candidate of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and it’s governorshiip candidate in the election, Christopher Agu
But both the Labour Party and it’s candidate have swiftly rejected the tribunal ruling, describing it as a rape of the country’s constitution and democracy that must not be allowed to stand
Justice Murayo Akano and his panel further ruled that LP candidate’s claim of wrong computation of results in Udenu local government, could not be substantiated, adding that the witnesses called by Edeog gave the same testimonies for different polling units and wards even though they are in different local governments.
The panel also said that LP’s witnesses were not duly accredited agents by INEC which makes their testimony invalid.
The tribunal, however deducted 51 votes from the PDP and added same to the LP, saying it was based on the witnesses from the right agents of the LP in three polling units
But it held that the deduction was not enough to overturn Mbah’s election.
In the Amagu polling unit in Nkanu East, the panel cancelled the votes for all parties because the witness pw10 proved he was there and the right person.
In the remaining 11 polling units, the tribunal held that the witnesses did not sign the result sheet, and their witnesses were discountenanced because they could not prove they were party agents.
After resolving all the matters, the tribunal therefore dismissed the petition of the LP and it’s candidate claiming that it lacked merit.

But in a swift reaction, both theLabour Party and it’s governorshiip candidate Chijioke Edeoga wasted no time to reject the judgement, which they described as an open rape of the nation’s constitution and democracy

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The Labour Party further described the judgement as absurd, stark reality of future of judiciary in Nigeria.

The party in a statement issued by it’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh said, “Labour Party today watched in horror as another absurdity played out in Enugu where the Governorship and House of Assembly Tribunal dismissed allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against the PDP candidate, Peter Mbah.

“The tribunal also struck out our party’s allegation of over-voting, bypass of BVAS while insisting that Peter Mbah was duly elected as governor by majority of lawful and valid votes cast at the election.

“Though we will seek redress at the Supreme Court immediately knowing that justice was miscarried in this particular case and that the tribunal judgement cannot stand however we are worried about the level of degeneration in our judiciary where ridiculous rulings are frequently churned out from the hallowed temple of justice.

“Our case before the tribunal was a clear case of electoral robbery where we pointed out that in Enugu, after the collation of 16 LGAs out of the 17 LGAs of the state, our candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, was leading with over 11,000 votes, surprisingly, the PDP in Enugu, working in cahoots with the INEC, shockingly and provocatively wrote and awarded to the PDP a whopping 30,000 votes at Nkanu East LGA, the LGA of the PDP candidate”.

LP went further to state that figures from the INEC BVAS for Nkanu East LGA recorded a total number of 15,000 accredited voters but when votes were declared, the PDP was allocated a total number of 30,350 votes while a total number of 1,855 was credited to the Labour Party. The party questioned where INEC got the 33,000 credited to Mbah and the 15,000 votes allocated to Edeoga.

“We had also asked the tribunal to disqualify the PDP candidate for presenting a fake NYSC certificate. The authority of NYSC confirmed that the PDP candidate absconded from service and that the certificate he parades was not issued by them. Doesn’t that seem like an open and close case, yet the tribunal saw nothing in a clear case of electoral forgery and perjury” LP lamented.

The opposition party said that in the wake of the judgement, it was made aware of series of visits made by Mba to Aso Rock which lately increased his level of confidence. The party said that it had ignored the ominous signs while hoping that the blind Lady of Justice will act impartially but shocked by the judicial endorsement.

Labour Party said that the judiciary has a key role to play in keeping democracy alive and safe and called for a concerted effort by all well-meaning Nigerians to guide the arm of government and ensure that it is not captured by the state.

Recall that INEC had directed that the collation of results for the Enugu State governorship election be paused to allow the commission to look into allegations of irregularities in the election and The Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, a professor and vice-chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Umudike, was summoned to Abuja to iron out the controversies surrounding the results from Nkanu East and Nsukka council areas

Similarly the Edeoga/Nwokeabia Campaign Organization wasted no time to reject the ruling by the tribunal

The campaign Organization in a statement it issued by it’s spokesperson, George Ugwu, moments after the tribunal’s ruling on Thursday, said, called on it’s supporters to remain calm, even as it vowed the venge the ruling at the appeal I

Ugwu stated, “The Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal delivered its judgement on the petition brought by the Labour Party and its candidate, Barr Chijioke Jonathan Edeoga, following the outcome of the March 18, 2023 Governorship elections in the state, which was announced in favour of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barr. Peter Mbah.

“We wish to convey the acknowledgment by the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, of the judgement as delivered at the tribunal, and to state our preparedness to challenge the outcome of this judgement at the Court of Appeal and to all extents as permitted by law.

“To this end, we urge our supporters across the state and in other parts of the country to remain calm, law-abiding, and to go about their businesses without fear or hindrance.

“We retain a firm belief in the justice, and will go the full extent legally possible in ensuring that the hopes of Enugu people who turned out in their numbers to vote for Labour Party candidates on March 18, 2023 are realised.”

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Percy Onyeka

A seasoned Tech/Business Analyst, Digital Media Consultant , Publisher and Entrepreneur with more than a decade experience. Online Editor in Chief-New National Star newspaper and a host of clients...

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