Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has ordered Governor Peter Mbah to appear before the Tribunal tomorrow regarding the alleged forgery of his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate. The order came after an application made by the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) through their counsel, Mr Alex Amujiogo.
Governor Mbah, who was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Enugu State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is facing challenges from the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, and PRP candidate, Elder Christopher Agu, over the alleged forgery of his NYSC certificate.
The PRP candidate, Agu, has petitioned the Tribunal, claiming that Governor Mbah was not qualified to contest the election due to the forged NYSC discharge certificate and other issues.
During the hearing, PRP’s counsel, Amujiogo, informed the Tribunal that Governor Mbah was expected to be present in court as a subpoenaed witness. However, it took more work to serve the subpoena to Governor Mbah, as stated in the affidavit by the Tribunal’s bailiff.
Amujiogo then requested the Tribunal to grant a substituted service of the subpoena on Governor Mbah through his counsel. Despite opposition from the respondents, including INEC, Governor Mbah, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Tribunal overruled their objections.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice K. M. Akano, ordered that the subpoena be served on Governor Mbah through his counsel and that he should appear before the Tribunal tomorrow, June 23, 2023.
Meanwhile, the PRP governorship candidate, Elder Christopher Agu, testified before the Tribunal as PW2 during the session. An official of the NYSC from the National Secretariat, Abuja, Mr. Aliu Muhammed, also appeared on behalf of the Director-General of the Corps, tendering an affidavit stating that a Federal High Court order in Abuja restricted them from presenting the disclaimer the Corps made against Governor Mbah’s certificate.
Mr. Muhammed’s presence resulted from a subpoena issued to the NYSC.
Addressing journalists, PRP lawyer, Amujiogo said, “Our PW2 (Christopher Agu) has already testified before the Honourable Tribunal, and he has given a clearer picture, the synopsis of what transpired during the election, and we are urging the Tribunal to set aside the purported result in favor of Peter Mbah, the Governor.
“We had an issue of a subpoena against Barr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, in which the Tribunal is urging him to appear before it to clarify certain issues against him, based on his NYSC certificate and other matters.
“Surprisingly, he was not in the Tribunal today, and the bailiff informed the Tribunal that he is invading service, he cannot find him, and the security cannot allow him to serve Mbah the subpoena.
“Then, the Tribunal, in its own wisdom, after I have applied, has now permitted the bailiff or myself to now serve Mbah through his counsel, for him to appear before the Tribunal tomorrow, being June 23, 2023, and clarify certain issues against him before the Tribunal and we have already served him the said subpoena through his lawyer, Ik Onuoma today in court.
“So he must obey the summon of the Tribunal by appearing in person tomorrow, Friday.”
The case filed by Mr. Chijioke Edeoga, the Labour Party governorship candidate, was also brought before the Tribunal. The pending interlocutory application, which was filed on May 16 regarding Governor Mbah’s alleged NYSC certificate forgery, was presented and moved before the Tribunal.
Edeoga is requesting the disqualification of Governor Mbah based on the alleged forgery, citing a violation of Section 182 (j) of the Nigerian Constitution.
During the Tribunal’s session on Thursday, the Petitioners, represented by Mr. M. J. Numa, presented their interlocutory application. The ruling on the application, as well as a pre-trial report, was adjourned to Saturday, May 24.
After the session, one of Edeoga’s counsels, Ifeanyi Ogenyi, stated that the proceeding continued the pre-hearing session. He explained that the petitioners submitted an application for interrogatories, which consisted of legal questions seeking answers from Governor Mbah. T
he questions included inquiries about his service, appointment as Chief of Staff, and tenure as Commissioner for Finance in Enugu State. The petitioners aim to clarify the specific details mentioned in Governor Mbah’s reply to the petition.