The Labour Party (LP) on Friday evening commenced its evidence against the election of Governor Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State.
The governorship candidate of the party in the March 18, 2023, election, Chijioke Edeoga, filed the petition questioning Mba’s qualification for the election at the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.[READ FULL ARTICLE]
At the resumed hearing, the LP presented the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as its first witness.
Among the documents tendered by the NYSC were the alleged forged discharge certificate as well as the original discharge certificate, which Mbah ought to have collected and a letter written by Oma and Partners, an Abuja-based law firm, which had asked the Corps to scrutinise the discharge certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the governor.
The petitioners, represented by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, who is the lead counsel, alongside Dr. Valerie Azinge, Ifeanyi Ogenyi Esq, and others, led the Petitioners Witness 1 (PW1) in evidence.
The Petitioners Witness 1 is the Director of Certification, NYSC, Aliyu Abdul Mohammed, who adopted his written deposition on oath.
Awomolo sought to tender the witness’ deposition on oath as evidence before the tribunal.
The third respondent, PDP’s counsel, Anthony Ani, objected to the admissibility of the document and opted to move a motion dated and filed on July 7, 2023, which prayed the tribunal to strike out the written deposition on oath by the PW1 on the ground of incompetence.
The 1st respondent, INEC, as well as the 2nd respondent (Peter Mbah) aligned themselves with the submission of Ani and prayed the court to strike out the written deposition of the PW1 for lack of competence.
Relying on the Court of Appeal decision in the case of ANDP & Anor vs INEC, as well as that of Damina & Anor vs Adamu and others, the respondents’ counsels asked the court to strike out the written deposition on oath of the PW1 for lack of competence.
In response, the petitioners’ lawyers relying on the case of Ararume & Anor vs INEC, which according to them is a conflicting decision with the authorities cited by the respondents’ counsel, asked the court to admit the written deposition on oath by the PW1.
In a short ruling, the tribunal admitted the document and reserved ruling on the objections raised by the respondents for final judgment.
Mohammed told the tribunal that he acted on a subpoena served on the Director General of the NYSC or any other official to appear before the tribunal for the purposes of giving evidence to clear some issues bordering on the certificate purportedly issued by the agency.
The subpoena was admitted in evidence without objection from the respondents and was marked as exhibit PTC/01/06.
Mohammed also tendered his official identity card as a staff of NYSC, which was admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit PTC/01/07.
In paragraph three of the Petitioner’s Witness’ deposition on oath, the witness stated that in obedience to the subpoena by the tribunal, he came with the authentic discharge certificate of the governor, as well as the one purportedly given to him.
The respondent’s counsels objected to the admissibility of the documents and reserved their reasons for final written addresses.
The tribunal admitted the documents and marked them as exhibits PTC/ 01/08 a and b.
The petitioner also fielded another witness, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mary Nneoma Elijah, a principal partner in the law firm of Oma and Partners. She also adopted the subpoena of the tribunal dated June 21, 2023, which was admitted and marked as exhibit PTC/01/09.
The witness’ letter to INEC, as well as the reply given by INEC was sought to be tendered by the petitioner’s counsel amid objections from the respondent’s counsel.
However, the letters, as well as the discharge certificate were admitted and marked as exhibits PTC/01/11 a, b & c respectively.
Also, a letter addressed to the presiding justice of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, for the production of the appointment letter dated July 14, 2003, appointing Mbah as the Chief of Staff to the then governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani in the same year he (Mbah) claimed he was serving, was also admitted in evidence amidst objections and marked as exhibit PTC/01/13 a & b.[READ FULL ARTICLE]
The matter was adjourned to Tuesday, July 11, 2023 for further hearing.
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