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Enugu State: Apprehension, Mixed Feelings as Tribunal Delivers Judgement Today on Disputed Guber Polls

A wave of apprehension and mixed feelings, have gripped the inhabitants of Enugu State, as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in the state is set to deliver its judgment on the 2023 governorship election today, Thursday 21st of September, 2023.

The three-member tribunal led by Justice Kudirat Morayo Akano earlier reserved its judgement and according to judiciary sources, had on Tuesday, September 19, announced its judgement date for Thursday, September 21, by 9.00 am.

The intending judgment is eliciting ripples and anxiety especially in the camp of the PDP and the main opposition party in the state, the Labour Party. The matter between Chijioke Edeoga of LP and Governor Peter Mbah of PDP has been the most interesting in the history of post-election legal tussle in Enugu State.

Among the contentious issues that have gripped the attention of both legal pundits and the general public is the authenticity of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate presented by Peter Mbah, the supposed questionable winner of the election declared by INEC.

The opposition Labour Party had alleged that Mbah failed to fulfil his mandatory youth service obligations before assuming a political post in 2003. The broader issues surrounding Mbah’s election victory also includes the validity of the votes accrued during the electoral process.

Also there has been, allegations of extensive electoral malpractice and rigging, which they said cast a shadow over the outcome, particularly in Owo and Ugbawka wards in Nkanu East LGA, as well as the Enugu East and Udenu LGAs, where the LP candidate is alleging computation errors that reduced his votes.

When reporters visited the state, people were seen going about their normal business, while been vigilant to avert any violence that may arise during or after the judgment. It is believed security in the state is already beefed up

This is coming few days after  the Supreme Court dismissed the All Progressives Congress, APC, petition as incompetent and affirmed Governor Peter Mbah’s election as Enugu State governor. Mbah contested the Enugu poll on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices, dismissed as incompetent, an appeal that the APC and its candidate, Uche Nnaji, filed to challenge the return of Mbah of the PDP as winner of the March 18 election

In its lead judgement prepared by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the Supreme Court held that Nnaji and his party filed an invalid brief of argument. It held that the appellants failed to adduce any cogent reason why the invalid process they filed should be relied upon to invalidate Governor Mbah’s victory.

According to the apex court, since the appellants’ brief of argument was legally defective, it ultimately affected the substantive appeal.

SOURCE: The Cable

IMAGE:  Enugu Today

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