Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the election of Peter Mbah as the governor of Enugu State. The unanimous decision, delivered on Friday, December 22, 2023, by a five-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, dismisses two appeals filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Jonathan Edeoga.
Mr. Mbah, running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), emerged victorious in the March 18th governorship election, securing 160,895 votes. His closest opponent, Mr. Edeoga of the LP, came in second with 157,552 votes, while Frank Nweke of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) finished third with 17,983 votes.
Dissatisfied with the result, Mr. Edeoga filed a petition at the Enugu State governorship election petition tribunal, seeking to overturn Mr. Mbah’s election. However, his claims of electoral fraud against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mr. Mbah failed to convince the tribunal.
In Friday’s judgement, Justice Mohammed Garba, speaking for the Supreme Court panel, affirmed the rulings of both the Court of Appeal and the election petition tribunal. Justice Garba emphasized that Mr. Edeoga’s allegations of electoral malpractices lacked sufficient evidence.
Earlier in November, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal in Lagos had already dismissed three key arguments raised by Mr. Edeoga against Mr. Mbah’s eligibility. The panel, led by Justice Tani Yusuf-Hassan, found that the LP failed to prove Mr. Mbah’s alleged disqualification to contest the election.
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal rejected claims of over-voting due to the lack of presented voters’ registers for the disputed areas. Additionally, the court found the LP’s witnesses insufficient to substantiate their accusations of over-voting.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the Labour Party issued a statement expressing their disappointment with the judgement. However, they acknowledged the court’s finality and emphasized their focus on moving forward.
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