On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State failed to appear before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the state.
As reported, the tribunal had issued a substituted service subpoena to Mbah through his lawyer, summoning him to appear before it on Friday. The subpoena was related to allegations of forgery regarding his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Discharge certificate.
The invitation to appear before the tribunal was made following an application by the counsel for the Peoples Redemption Party, Alex Amujiogo.
However, when the case was called on Friday, Amujiogo informed the tribunal that Mbah should have honored the summons.
Amujiogo stated, “This honorable tribunal had ordered on June 22, 2023, that the subpoena be served on Peter Mbah through his counsel. We have duly served it for him to appear today.”
He added, “My Lord, it is evident that he is not in court, presumably under the pretext of immunity. Today is my last day to present my case; my hands are tied, and I have no choice but to close my case.”
When asked about his next course of action, Amujiogo told journalists, “The tribunal will decide on the appropriate steps to take regarding his refusal or inability to appear before the tribunal. Let us wait and see how the battle unfolds between the tribunal and the governor.”
However, the lead counsel for the Peoples Democratic Party, Anthony Ani, SAN, informed journalists that the governor was prepared to appear if the petitioners had followed the correct procedure.
The tribunal, led by Justice K. M. Akano, adjourned the matter until June 24, 2023, for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to present its defense.
Meanwhile, Governor Mbah of Enugu State has applied to the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking the imprisonment of the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, for alleged disobedience to a court order.
Mbah made this request through his lawyer, Emeka Ozoani, SAN, in Form 49, filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo.
According to the application filed on June 22, the governor alleged that Ahmed had violated a court order issued on May 15, which restrained him from issuing or publishing any disclaimers stating that the NYSC certificate of national service issued to him on January 6, 2003, was not authentic.
“The plaintiff applied to this court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this court,” the application stated.
Although the motion was scheduled to be heard on Friday, the court only sat, leading to an adjournment on July 4.
Mbah had previously filed a lawsuit against the NYSC and its Director, Corps Certification, Mr. Ibrahim Muhammad, for publishing a disclaimer denying the authenticity of the discharge certificate issued to him on January 6, 2003.
On May 15, Justice Ekwo issued an order restraining the NYSC, Muhammad, and any of their agents from engaging in further publication regarding the matter until the substantive case is heard and determined.
The order was granted based on an ex parte motion presented by Mbah’s counsel, Mr. Ozoani.