The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Enugu State has started hearing the case brought forward by the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga.
They contest the election of Dr Peter Mbah as the state governor, arguing that he did not secure the most legitimate votes in the March 18 governorship election.
They also allege that Mbah submitted a counterfeit National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to win the election.
The petitioners began their defence by presenting the NYSC as their first witness. The NYSC, represented by the Director of Certification, Aliyu Abdul Mohammed, brought forward several documents, including the alleged counterfeit discharge certificate and the original discharge certificate that Mbah should have received.
They also presented a letter from Oma and Partners, a law firm based in Abuja, asking the NYSC to verify the certificate Mbah provided to the INEC.
In the course of the hearing, objections were raised about the admissibility of Mohammed’s written deposition.
Lawyers for the Peoples Democratic Party (third respondent), INEC (first respondent), and Peter Mbah (second respondent) argued that it lacked competence.
The tribunal, however, admitted the document, reserving the decision on these objections for the final judgment.
The respondents’ legal teams also contested the documents put forward by the petitioner’s second witness, Mary Nneoma Elijah, a lawyer based in Abuja.
Despite these objections, the tribunal accepted the documents and will decide on the issues during the final judgment.
During cross-examination, it was clarified that the subpoena did not request any information related to the Federal High Court.
With the initial examination of evidence and the first round of cross-examinations complete, the tribunal adjourned.
Further hearings will continue on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.