…dismisses NYSC certificate forgery suit

The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu on Thursday upheld the election of Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of Enugu State.

The three-man tribunal, chaired by Justice Kudirat Akano, which struck out allegations of over-voting and bypass of BVAS, said Mbah was duly elected as governor by majority of lawful and valid votes cast at the election.

The tribunal also dismissed the NYSC certificate forgery suit brought by the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and the Labour Party against Mbah.

The tribunal said there was no evidence before it to support the petitioner’s claim that a forged certificate was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Chris Agu of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Chijioke Edeoga of the LP had separately filed suits against Mbah challenging his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate on the grounds that it was forged.

The petitioners had alleged, among other things, that Mbah was not qualified to contest the election and was not lawfully elected.

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But the tribunal ruled that NYSC certificate, according to section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, is not a requirement for contesting governorship election.

The tribunal rejected Edeoga’s witnesses and ruled that the LP candidate did not present any admissible evidence to prove that Mbah’s certificate was forged.

On PRP’s petition, Akano said that the issue was not contained in the petitioner’s affidavit, stating that to prove forgery, both the original and the supposedly forged certificate ought to have been exhibited before the tribunal.

The tribunal held that the petitioner failed to prove that the respondent did not possess the minimum requirements to stand for the election including school certificate or its equivalent.

It said, therefore, there was no evidence to substantiate the claims that Mbah was not qualified to stand for the election.

On the issue of plea bargain by Mbah, the tribunal averred that the exhibit presented by the petitioners did not show any plea bargain by the respondent.