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The Supreme Court, on Friday, upheld Governor Peter Mbah‘s election triumph in Enugu State, dismissing a petition demanding its annulment.
With a unanimous decision from a panel consisting of five Justices, the apex court ruled out the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Uche Nnaji, as incompetent. The appeal intended to challenge Governor Mbah’s victory in the gubernatorial contest as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The Supreme Court, with Justice Tijani Abubakar delivering the lead judgment, determined that the brief of argument submitted by Nnaji and his party was invalid.
The court’s verdict was that the appellants didn’t present any substantial grounds for relying on the faulty submission they made to challenge Governor Mbah’s election win.
The apex court pointed out that the appellant’s brief of argument, being legally flawed, had a direct bearing on the overall substance of the appeal.
As a result, it declared the appellants’ case as incompetent and dismissed it.
It’s worth noting that on July 18, the Court of Appeal in Enugu had previously rejected Nnaji’s case against Mbah.
The appellate court, in its judgment, found that the appeal identified as CA/E/E/EP/GOV/EN/01/2023 lacked merit and endorsed the ruling of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, affirming Governor Mbah’s election triumph.
Meanwhile, the appellate court levied a penalty of N250,000 on both Nnaji and the APC.
At the conclusion of the gubernatorial election in Enugu state, INEC’s official tally revealed that Mbah had accumulated 160,895 votes, triumphing over Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), who secured 157,552 votes.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Frank Nweke Jnr., clinched third place with 17,983 votes, while Nnaji trailed in fourth with 14,575 votes in the gubernatorial contest.
Frustrated by the election’s outcome, Nnaji took the step of submitting a petition to challenge Mbah’s victory.
He maintained that, during the election, Mbah was ineligible to run, alleging that he submitted a forged certificate to INEC to support his eligibility.
Additionally, Nnaji put forth the argument that Mbah didn’t secure a valid majority of the votes cast during the election.
Thus, he appealed to the tribunal to disqualify Mbah, Edeoga, and Nweke and either declare him the winner of the election or direct INEC to conduct a runoff poll, excluding Mbah and the PDP.
However, on June 20, the Enugu state governorship election petition tribunal rendered a verdict, rejecting the petition for failing to meet the requirements of the Electoral Act 2022.
Unhappy with the ruling, Nnaji took the case to the appellate court in an attempt to reverse the tribunal’s decision.
Alternatively, he urged the appellate court to order the tribunal to thoroughly examine his petition, a request that the court declined on Friday.