Enugu State Governor-elect, Mr. Peter Mbah, has asked the state Election Petitions Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Chijioke Edeoga against his emergence as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
Mbah, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in his reply to Edeoga’s petition through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), submitted that Edeoga’s petition was incompetent and liable for dismissal.
Edeoga, the first runner-up in the Enugu governorship election, is claiming that he and not the candidate of the PDP won the election.
Besides the over-voting in favour of Mbah, which he alleged, the petitioner, also urged for the disqualification of the PDP candidate on grounds of alleged certificate forgery.
Responding, Mbah stated that contrary to the claims of the petitioner, he “is more qualified, both educationally and otherwise, to contest the March 18 governorship election in Enugu State.”
The governor-elect pointed out that the alleged certificate forgery (one of the grounds for disqualification) had already been resolved by the court and as such the tribunal lacks jurisdiction to hear again and take a decision in the matter.
Specifically, Edeoga had claimed that Mbah forged his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate with No. A808297 which Mbah had submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification to contest the poll.
But in his reply, Mbah who had accused the petitioners of initiating frivolous cases in court against him pointed out that his NYSC certificate was not only duly issued to him but that the courts had resolved the issue in his favour.
Referring to the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) delivered in Suit No. FCT/HC/2399/2023, Mbah informed the tribunal that, “this issue has become Res Judicata” in law and no court, including the tribunal, can revisit the issue.
“Suit No. FCT/HC/2399/2023 has suffered the same fate as SUIT NO: FHC/EN/CS/217/2022 wherein the Court of Appeal awarded N37 million cost in favour of Mbah and PDP candidates against Chika Idoko for filing frivolous action against Mbah and dragging same up to the Court of Appeal,” Mbah submitted.
Mbah further claimed that Edeoga who participated in the primaries of PDP and who was recorded to have scored nine votes in the said primary election cannot under the Electoral Act be presented by LP as its candidate.