Enugu tribunal: Mbah closes defence against Edeoga’s petition with three witnesses


Enugu State Governor, Barr Peter Mbah has closed his defence to the petition filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Barr Chijioke Edeoga.

Edeoga is seeking a nullification of Mbah’s victory in the March 18 governorship election in the state.

His grounds include alleged NYSC certificate forgery and manipulation of election results.

Mbah, through his counsel, Mr Bode Ola, wrapped up his defence to the petition, after he presented his current chief of staff, Mr. Victor Ude to testify before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Enugu.

Ude’s appearance on Thursday completed Mbah’s witnesses to three, having presented Festus Uzor and a DSS official on Wednesday.

Ude, in his evidence, tendered Mbah’s NYSC letters of redeployment, deferment and reinstatement letter to continue his NYSC programme after completing his part two in Law School.

He also tendered an approval letter for Mbah to continue his service, final clearance letter after completing his NYSC programme, among others.

The LP lead counsel objected to the admissibility of the documents, saying he would give him reasons in their final address.

During cross examination, the witness said that there was a letter from the NYSC that said Mbah should be reinstated.

The witness, a legal practitioner, said that he wrote the letters to the NYSC and got a reply as well.

Ude however said he was not aware of the Inspector General of Police’s reply on the investigation of the NYSC certificate in March 2023.

However, the lead counsel of the LP, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), insisted that there was no evidence of delivery and acknowledgment of the letters from NYSC.

“As a lawyer, you know the importance of delivery and acknowledgment of official letters to government departments,” he said.

Awomolo said that by the witness’s letter, Mbah was to conclude his NYSC in September 16, 2003, the same time he was serving in the office of the governor of Enugu State as the Chief of Staff in August 2003.

He said that in 2007, the EFCC charged the subpoenaed witness with Mbah for alleged money laundering at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

As Edeoga’s counsel tendered the charge sheet, with case file number FH/C/09/07, the respondents’ counsels, Mr Bode Ola, counsel to Gov. Peter Mbah, the PDP counsel, Mr Anthony An and Humphrey Okoli, counsel to the INEC objected to the admissibility of the document and said they would articulate their reasons in their final addresses.

The tribunal admitted the document as evidence.

The chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice M.K Akano adjourned the sitting until 16 August for adoption of final written addresses after the PDP counsel closed their defence.

It could be recalled that while the INEC did not present any witness, Edeoga presented 30 witnesses before the tribunal.

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