The Enugu State Election Petition Tribunal has ordered Gov Peter Mbah to appear before it today to clarify allegations that he forged his National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate.
Justice K. M. Akano, the tribunal’s chairman, gave the order during Thursday’s sitting in Enugu. The order followed an application made by the Peoples Redemption Party’s governorship candidate in the 2023 general election, Mr Chris Agu.
Agu, via his counsel, Ozor Alex Amujiogu, is seeking to upturn the declaration of Barr Peter Mbah as the winner of the March 18 governorship election. He alleged in his petition that Mbah is not qualified to contest the election, having allegedly forged his National Youths Service Corps discharge certificate. Agu further claims that Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party did not obtain the highest number of votes in the state to be declared winner.
Amujiogu had told the tribunal that Mbah was supposed to be in court as a subpoenaed witness, adding however that from the affidavit deposed to by the bailiff of the tribunal, it had been difficult to serve Mbah the summon. Consequently, he moved an application, praying the tribunal to grant a substituted service of the summon on Mbah through his counsel.
Despite the opposition to his application by the three respondents, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Gov Mbah and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on the grounds that it was supposed to come by way of motion, supported by an affidavit during the pre-trial session, the tribunal granted that the subpoena be served on Mbah through his counsel and that he should appear before the tribunal on June 23.
The PRP lawyer, Amujiogu, told newsmen after the tribunal’s sitting that, “Our PW2 (Christopher Agu) has already testified before the tribunal, and he has given a clearer picture, the synopsis of what transpired during the election and we are urging the tribunal to set aside the purported result in favour of Peter Mbah, the governor.
“We had an issue of subpoena against Barr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, in which the tribunal is urging him to appear before it to clarify certain issues against him, based on his NYSC certificate and other matters.
“Surprisingly, he was not in the tribunal, and the bailiff informed the tribunal that he is invading service, he cannot find him; the security cannot allow him to serve Mbah the subpoena.
“Then, the tribunal, in its own wisdom, after I have applied, has now permitted the bailiff or myself to now serve Mbah through his counsel for him to appear before the tribunal on 23rd June, 2023 and clarify certain issues against him. We have already served him the said subpoena through his lawyer, Ik Onuoma. He must obey the summon of the tribunal by appearing in person on Friday.”
Meanwhile, a representative of the NYSC told the tribunal that the agency could not testify on the disclaimer it issued on Mbah’s discharge certificate based on the restraint by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.