The Supreme Court has ruled against nullifying the election victory of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State.
The apex court, consisting of a five-member panel of Justices, unanimously dismissed an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Uche Nnaji, challenging the victory of Mbah from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Tijani Abubakar, in the lead judgment, stated that the appellants submitted an invalid brief of argument and failed to provide a compelling reason to rely on this flawed process to overturn Governor Mbah’s election. The court emphasized that the defective brief of argument affected the substantive appeal and, therefore, declared the appellants’ case as incompetent.
This decision follows the earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal in Enugu, which also dismissed Nnaji’s case against Governor Mbah. The appellate court found the appeal lacked merit and upheld the verdict of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which affirmed Governor Mbah’s election victory.
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal imposed a cost of N250,000 on both Nnaji and the APC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had previously declared that Governor Mbah secured a total of 160,895 votes in the gubernatorial poll, defeating his closest rival, Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), who garnered 157,552 votes.
Nnaji’s petition alleged that Governor Mbah was ineligible to contest due to a forged certificate presented to INEC and that he was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes. He had requested the tribunal to disqualify Governor Mbah, Edeoga, and Nweke and either declare himself the winner or order a runoff election excluding Mbah and the PDP.
However, the Enugu State governorship election petition tribunal dismissed Nnaji’s petition on June 20, citing non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
Unsatisfied with this verdict, Nnaji appealed to the Court of Appeal, which, as of today, has also ruled against him, upholding Governor Mbah’s election victory.
This Supreme Court decision now puts to rest the legal challenges against Governor Peter Mbah’s election, solidifying his position as the Governor of Enugu State.