The Labour Party and its candidate in the Enugu State governorship election have expressed their disagreement with the judgment of the election petition Tribunal. The tribunal dismissed their petitions, stating that they lacked merit. One of the main allegations made by the LP was regarding the alleged forgery of Governor Peter Mbah's NYSC discharge certificate. However, the tribunal ruled in Mbah's favor.
“The NYSC certificate is not a qualification for anyone who wants to run for the office of the governor of the state as enshrined under Section 177 of the 1999 constitution. The academic qualifications required of any governorship candidate, as captured under Section 177 (d), is a school certificate, which has been interpreted under Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The NYSC discharge certificate is not a qualification as captured under the aforementioned section of the constitution and, therefore, cannot disqualify any person who has met the constitutional requirements and has been duly elected into the office of the governor of a state,” the tribunal held.
The tribunal also rejected the LP's claim that Mbah did not secure a majority of valid votes in the election.
The tribunal acknowledged the petitioners' claim of over-voting in certain polling units and subsequently deducted those votes from both parties. As a result, Mbah's votes decreased to 160,567 and Edeoga's to 157,555. Despite the tribunal's ruling, the LP and Edeoga have expressed their disagreement and plan to appeal the verdict.
“We wish to convey the acknowledgment by the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, of the judgment as delivered at the tribunal, and to state our preparedness to challenge the outcome of this judgment at the Court of Appeal and to all extents as permitted by law,” Edeoga’s spokesman, George Ugwu, said in a statement.
Mbah expressed his appreciation for the Tribunal's decision, considering it a triumph for both democracy and Enugu State. He also reached out to the opposition candidates and their political parties, emphasizing the importance of working together to develop and strengthen Enugu State.