The Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Thursday, ordered Governor Peter Mbah to appear before it on Friday (today), to testify regarding his alleged forgery of his National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate.
The order followed an application made by the Peoples Redemption Party, through its Counsel, Mr Alex Amujiogo.
Mbah, who was declared winner of the March 18 governorship election in Enugu State by the Independent National Electoral Commission is facing a mounting challenge from the Labour Party candidate, Chijioke Edeoga and PRP candidate, Elder Christopher Agu over his alleged forgery of the NYSC certificate presented to the electoral umpire.
The PRP candidate, Agu like the LP candidate is seeking to upturn the declaration of Mbah as the winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Agu in a petition filed before the Tribunal is claiming among others that Mbah was not qualified to contest the election, having allegedly forged his NYSC discharge certificate.
At the resumed hearing, on Thursday, the PRP’s counsel, Amujiogo told the tribunal that Mbah was supposed to be in court as a subpoenaed witness.
He, however, said from the affidavit deposed to by the bailiff of the Tribunal, it had been difficult to serve Mbah the summons.
Amujiogo then moved an application, urging the Tribunal to grant a substituted service of the summons on Mbah through his counsel.
Although the application was opposed by the three respondents, the INEC, Mbah as well as the Peoples Democratic Party, on the grounds that it was supposed to come by way of motion, supported by an affidavit during the pre-trial session.
However, they were overruled by the Tribunal.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice K. M. Akano ordered that the subpoena be served on Mbah through his counsel and that he should appear before the Tribunal on Friday, June 23, 2023.
Meanwhile, the PRP governorship candidate earlier during the session also testified before the Tribunal as PW2.
An official of the NYSC from the National Secretariat, Abuja, Mr Aliu Muhammed, who also appeared on behalf of the Director-General of the Corps, tendered an affidavit to the Tribunal, declaring that an order of a Federal High Abuja, was inhibiting them from tendering the disclaimer the Corps made against Mbah’s certificate.
Muhammed was in court following subpoenas on NYSC.
Addressing journalists, PRP lawyer, Amujiogo said, “Our PW2 (Christopher Agu) has already testified before the Honourable Tribunal and he has given a clearer picture, the synopsis of what transpired during the election and we are urging the Tribunal to set aside the purported result in favour of Peter Mbah, the Governor.
“We had an issue of a subpoena against Barrister Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, in which the Tribunal is urging him to appear before it to clarify certain issues against him, based on his NYSC certificate and other matters.
“Surprisingly, he was not in the Tribunal today and the bailiff informed the Tribunal that he is invading service, he cannot find him, and the security cannot allow him to serve Mbah the subpoena.
“Then, the Tribunal in its own wisdom, after I have applied, has now permitted the bailiff or myself, to now serve Mbah through his counsel, for him to appear before the Tribunal tomorrow, being 23rd of June, 2023 and clarify certain issues against him before the Tribunal and we have already served him the said subpoena through his lawyer, Ik Onuoma today in court.
“So, he must obey the summon of the Tribunal by appearing in person tomorrow, Friday.”
Meanwhile, the case filed by the Labour Party governorship candidate, Mr Chijioke Edeoga also came up before the Tribunal.
The pending interlocutory application which was filed on May 16 over Mbah’s alleged NYSC certificate forgery, was moved before the Tribunal.
Edoga is asking the tribunal to disqualify Mba over the alleged forgery, an act that he claims, violates Section 182 (j) of the Nigerian Constitution.
During the resumed sitting of the Tribunal on Thursday, the Petitioners through their Counsel Mr M. J. Numa, moved their interlocutory application, after which the suit was adjourned for ruling on the application on Saturday, May 24, as well as a pre-trial report.
Addressing journalists shortly after the Tribunal’s session, one of Edeoga’s lawyers, Ifeanyi Ogenyi, said the proceeding was a continuation of the pre-hearing session.