The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Enugu State has validated the election of the state governor, Peter Mbah.
A three-member panel of the tribunal led by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano dismissed the petitions of Labour Party’s Chijioke Edeoga, who was one of Mbah’s major challenger at the March 18 governorship polls
Recall that Mbah polled 160,895 votes to defeat Edeoga, who garnered 157,552 votes at the polls.
After the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mbah winner, Edeoga proceeded to file a petition that there was over-voting, and that the governor forged his NYSC discharge certificate, among others.
Delivering the judgement on Thursday, the tribunal struck out the NYSC certificate case on the grounds that “NYSC discharge Certificate is not a qualification for governorship” in line with Sections 177 and 138 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The court asked “Assuming that the NYSC discharge certificate of the second Respondent as claimed by the Petitioners was forged, is the NYSC Certificate a qualification to contest for Governor in Nigeria according to the constitution? The answer is no.”
Justice Akano held that Mbah was qualified to contest the governorship seat even without submitting the discharge certificate, noting that the Senior Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent is a minimum academic qualification for election for the office of the governor in line with Section 177 of the constitution.
He stated that contrary to Edeoga’s petition, the governor had the highest number of lawful votes in the election which was in sync with the electoral law.
The tribunal further ruled that the LP candidate failed to prove that there was non-use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during the election in Nkanu East Local Government Area.
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