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Supreme Court Upholds Peter Mbah’s Victory in Enugu Governorship Election

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Supreme Court of Nigeria, in decision on Friday, December 22, 2023, upheld the election of Peter Mbah as the governor of Enugu State, dismissing appeals filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Jonathan Edeoga.

The ruling, delivered by a five-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, solidifies Mr. Mbah’s position as the duly elected governor.

Mr Mbah, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had won the 18 March election with 160,895 votes, surpassing his closest challenger, Mr Edeoga of the LP, who secured 157,552 votes. Frank Nweke of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came in third with 17,983 votes.

Following the election, Mr Edeoga challenged the election results, alleging electoral fraud and questioning Mr Mbah’s qualifications. He petitioned the Enugu State governorship election tribunal to overturn the election result in favour of the LP.

However, in the Supreme Court’s lead judgement by Justice Mohammed Garba, the court found that Mr. Edeoga failed to substantiate his claims of electoral fraud against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mr Mbah.

This affirmation by the Supreme Court followed a similar decision by the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which had earlier dismissed Mr. Edeoga’s petition.

The Court of Appeal’s panel, chaired by Justice Tani Yusuf-Hassan, had evaluated the allegations, including claims of over-voting.

Justice Hassan noted in her judgement that the petitioner failed to present voters’ registers for the disputed areas, essential for substantiating over-voting allegations.

The court also found the witnesses presented by the Labour Party insufficient in proving the existence of over-voting.

Furthermore, the court addressed the petitioners’ concerns regarding the alleged forgery of a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate by Mr Mbah.

The Enugu State governorship election petition tribunal had previously ruled in favour of Mr Mbah, stating that he met all minimum requirements for the election, including possessing a school certificate or equivalent.

The tribunal had also dismissed the petitioner’s witnesses, concluding that there was no admissible evidence to support the claim of certificate forgery.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling, Peter Mbah’s election as the governor of Enugu State stands validated, bringing closure to the legal battle surrounding the March 18 governorship election.

The decision reaffirms the election tribunal’s and Court of Appeal’s previous judgments, endorsing INEC’s declaration of Mr Mbah as the rightful winner of the governorship race.

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