The Labour Party (LP) has expressed its rejection of the judgment delivered by the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Peter Mbah as the state’s governor.
In a ruling by a three-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Kudirat Akano on Thursday, the LP’s governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, had his petition dismissed on the grounds of incompetence. The tribunal also found that Mr. Edeoga failed to substantiate his claim that Mr. Mbah, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had forged his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate.
The tribunal further declared that Mr. Mbah was already qualified for the position, even without submitting the NYSC certificate. It cited Sections 177 and 138 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, emphasizing that the NYSC certificate was not a prerequisite for qualification to contest the governorship.
Following the judgment, the Chairperson of the LP in the state, Casmir Agbo, contested the tribunal’s decision. He argued that the tribunal had made factual and legal errors in its ruling. Mr. Agbo pointed to Section 182 (1) (j) which disqualifies candidates with forged certificates and contended that this provision did not specify that the forged certificate must be a requirement for contesting the election.
He also raised concerns about the tribunal’s failure to address whether the NYSC certificate was indeed forged. The tribunal had only ruled that the NYSC witness did not submit a written statement on oath.
The LP intends to take the matter to the Appeal Court, according to Mr. Agbo, while the Edeoga Campaign Organisation also announced its intention to appeal the judgment. In a statement, George Ugwu, the spokesperson for the campaign organization, called for calm among LP supporters and assured them that the party would challenge the tribunal’s decision through legal means.