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The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu State will this morning deliver judgement on the petition filed by the Labour Party candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, against the declaration of Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party, as the validly elected governor of the state.
The Eastern Updates reports that Edeoga is challenging the return of the Mbah as the duly elected governor of Enugu state in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
The three-member Panel of the tribunal, led by Justice Kudirat Murayo, will deliver judgement in the highly contested March 18 poll.
Recall that Edeoga, a former Chairman of the House of Representatives on Information, had approached the tribunal to disqualify Mbah and declare him the winner of the election, having scored the highest valid votes cast.
The LP candidate claimed that the PDP candidate wasn’t eligible to run for office and didn’t receive the most votes.
Mbah, however, asserted to the tribunal that Edeoga lacked the authority to contest his victory and that his nomination as the LP’s governorship candidate was invalid.
Mbah, in his submission, revealed that Edeoga, who participated in the governorship primary of the PDP held May 25, 2022, and who was also recorded to have scored nine votes in the said primary election, could not under the Electoral Act 2022 be presented by LP as its candidate.
The parties had on August 16, adopted their final written addresses, after which the court reserved ruling on the petitions.
INEC was the first respondent in the petition, and Dr Mbah and PDP are listed as the second and third respondents, respectively.
Peter Mbah, while adopting his final written address through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, asked the court to dismiss the petitions of the LP for lacking in merit and a mere academic exercise.
Similarly, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, Anthony Ani, SAN, contended that the argument of the petitioners is vague and lacking in evidence.
Adopting his final address, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, lead counsel to LP and its governorship candidate, asked the tribunal to hold the position of his clients and grant the reliefs sought by his client.
He said it has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that Mbah was at the time of the election not constitutionally qualified to contest for the election having presented a forged certificate of national service to INEC.
Awomolo highlighted the issues of over-voting, non-use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, and alleged forgery of the National Youth Service Corps certificate, among others brought by the petitioners as reasons why the matter should be decided in favour of his client (Edeoga).