The Supreme Court, on Friday, upheld the election of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-man panel of Justices, dismissed an appeal that the Labour Party, LP, and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, filed to challenge the outcome of the governorship election that held in the state on March 18.
According to the apex court, it found no reason to dislodge the concurrent verdicts of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which dismissed all the allegations the appellants raised against the election victory of governor Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It resolved all the issues that were raised in the appeal, against the LP and Edeoga.
It will be recalled that the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal had on November 10, upheld governor Mbah’s election, after it dismissed three issues that the LP and its candidate, Edeoga, raised against him.
In a unanimous judgement, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Tani Yusuf-Hassan, held that Edeoga and his party failed to establish their allegation that governor Mbah was not qualified to contest the gubernatorial poll.
The court noted that though the appellants alleged that there was widespread over-voting within Mbah’s strongholds, they, however, failed to tender the voters register that was used for the election, to prove the allegation.
It was the position of the appellate court that the LP and its candidate failed to adduce sufficient reasons to warrant the setting aside of the earlier verdict of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed their case.
It accordingly dismissed the appeal as lacking in merit and affirmed Mbah as the valid winner of the governorship election.
Dissatisfied with the judgement of the appellate court, Edeoga took the matter before the Supreme Court, where he also lost on Friday.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Mbah of the PDP as winner of the gubernatorial contest after he polled a total of 160,895 votes.
Mr Edeoga of the LP came second with 157,552 votes, while Frank Nweke of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, polled 17, 983 votes to place third.
Not satisfied with the results as announced by INEC, Edeoga and his party filed a petition to challenge Mbah’s victory.
The petitioners insisted that they polled the highest number of valid votes at the election and therefore ought to have been declared winner instead of Mbah of the PDP.
Among other things, the LP and its candidate alleged that Mbah was ineligible to contest the election, alleging that he submitted forged National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Certificate to the INEC, in aid of his qualification.
Meanwhile, in its verdict on September 9, the Justice K.M. Akano-led tribunal dismissed the allegation, stressing that the PDP candidate met the minimum requirements for the election, which it said included the possessing of a school certificate or its equivalent.
More so, the tribunal held that the issue of forgery, being a criminal allegation, ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal further rejected the testimony of some of the witnesses that testified in the matter, stressing that their evidence were inadmissible since their statement on oath were not filed alongside the petition.