By Charles Igwe
The Labour Party (LP) continued its defence against Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State at the Election Tribunal, with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving as its first witness to substantiate the allegation of certificate forgery against the governor.
During the hearing, the petitioners, LP and its candidate Chijioke Edeoga, called upon the NYSC as their first witness. The Director of Certification at NYSC, Aliyu Abdul Mohammed, presented several documents which were admitted by the tribunal as evidence.
Among the documents presented by the NYSC were the alleged forged discharge certificate used by Gov. Mbah, as well as the original discharge certificate that he was supposed to have obtained. A letter from Oma and Partners, an Abuja-based law firm, requesting the Corps to scrutinize the discharge certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the governor, was also tendered as evidence.
The petitioners, represented by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, along with Dr. Valerie Azinge, SAN, Ifeanyi Ogenyi Esq, and others, led the first witness (PW1) in providing evidence.
The witness, Aliyu Abdul Mohammed, Director of Certification at NYSC, adopted his written deposition on oath, which was tendered and admitted into evidence by the tribunal.
However, the counsel for the third respondent, PDP, Anthony Ani, SAN, objected to the admissibility of the document. He presented a motion dated and filed on July 7, 2023, seeking to have the tribunal strike out the written deposition on oath of PW1 on the grounds of incompetence. The first respondent, INEC, and the second respondent, Peter Mbah, supported Ani’s submission.
In response, the petitioners’ lawyers relied on the conflicting decision of Ararume & Anor V INEC, stating that it contradicted the authorities cited by the respondents’ counsel. They requested the court to admit the written deposition on oath of PW1.
The tribunal admitted the document and reserved its ruling on the objections raised by the respondents for the final judgment.