Mbah to know fate as tribunal reserves judgment

The Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu, on Wednesday, reserved judgment in the petitions challenging the election of Governor Peter Mbah after parties in the matter adopted their written addresses.

As a result, Mbah’s fate now hang in the balance until the judgment is delivered.

However, Honourable Justice Akano who led the panel, said the date would be communicated to the parties in due course.

Labour Party, Chijioke Edeoga is challenging the return of the PDP’s governorship candidate, Peter Mbah, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the March 18 governorship elections in the state.

While the petitioners (Edeoga and Labour Party) were present in court, the second respondent (Peter Mbah) was represented by his counsels.

INEC is the first respondent in the petition, Dr. Mbah and PDP are listed as the second and third respondents respectively.

Adopting his address, Peter Mbah’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, asked the court to dismiss the petitions of the Labour Party for lacking in merit and a being mere academic exercise.

Similarly, counsel to the PDP, Anthony Ani, SAN, contended that the argument of the petitioners are vague and lacking in evidence.

But adopting his final address, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, lead counsel to Labour Party and its governorship candidate, asked the tribunal to hold the position of his clients and grant the reliefs sought by his client because it has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr. Peter Mbah was at the time of the election not constitutionally qualified to contest having presented forged certificate of national service to INEC.

Chief Adegboyega Awomolo highlighted the issues of over-voting, non-use of BVAS and alleged forgery of NYSC certificate, among others, brought by the petitioner as reasons why the matter should be decided in favour of his client (Edeoga).

The INEC had declared Peter Mbah of the PDP winner of the keenly contested March 18 governorship elections in the state and issued him and his running mate certificates of return, which preceded their inauguration on May 29, 2023.