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LP Protests Tribunal Decision on Enugu Governor’s Election

The Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Chijioke Edoga, in the Enugu State governorship election held on March 18, have expressed their rejection of the recent judgment by the Election Petitions Tribunal. The tribunal had dismissed their petitions on the grounds of lacking merit.

In a unanimous decision, the three-man tribunal, led by Justice Kudirat Akano, ruled against the LP’s petition challenging the victory of Governor Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Enugu State governorship election.

One of the primary allegations made by the LP was that Governor Mbah had forged his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate. However, the tribunal sided with Governor Mbah, stating that the NYSC certificate is not a requirement for gubernatorial candidates in accordance with Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. The constitution specifies that the academic qualification necessary for a gubernatorial candidate is a school certificate, as outlined in Section 177 (d) and interpreted under Section 318 of the constitution.

Furthermore, the LP’s claim that Governor Mbah did not secure a majority of valid votes was dismissed by the tribunal. Nevertheless, the tribunal did acknowledge the LP’s evidence of over-voting in some polling units in Amagu Ugbawka, Nkanu East Local Government Area. Consequently, the tribunal cancelled these votes and subtracted them from the total votes of both parties. This adjustment resulted in a decrease in Governor Mbah’s votes to 160,567 from 160,844, and Edoga’s votes were reduced to 157,555.

Ultimately, the tribunal concluded that the LP’s petition lacked merit and struck it down. In response, the LP and its candidate, Chijioke Edoga, have vowed to challenge the verdict by appealing to a higher court.

In contrast, Governor Mbah hailed the tribunal’s decision as a triumph for democracy and Enugu State. He extended an olive branch to opposition candidates and their political parties, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to develop the state.

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