The Enugu metropolis is gripped with apprehension as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, led by Justice Kudirat Morayo Akano, prepares to deliver its judgment on the hotly contested 2023 governorship election in the state.
The tribunal, comprised of three members, had previously reserved its judgment, and according to judiciary sources, has announced that the judgment will be pronounced on Thursday, September 21, at 9.00 am.
This announcement has triggered a state of panic among supporters of the two major political parties involved: the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP).
The case at hand, featuring Chijioke Edeoga of LP and Governor Peter Mbah of PDP, has captured widespread attention as one of the most intriguing post-election legal disputes in Enugu State’s history.
Central to the dispute is the authenticity of Governor Peter Mbah’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate, a document pivotal to his candidacy and subsequent election victory, declared by INEC.
The opposition Labour Party has alleged that Governor Mbah failed to fulfill his mandatory youth service obligations before assuming a political post in 2003, raising significant questions about his eligibility.
Beyond this, the broader issues surrounding Mbah’s election victory have sparked heated debates, particularly concerning the validity of the votes cast during the electoral process.
Furthermore, allegations of extensive electoral malpractice and rigging have cast a shadow over the outcome, particularly in Owo and Ugbawka wards in Nkanu East Local Government Area (LGA), as well as the Enugu East and Udenu LGAs. The LP candidate alleges computation errors that led to a reduction in his votes.
While vehicular traffic remains normal around the Independence Layout of the State High Court complex where the judgment will be delivered, security sources have indicated that additional security measures will be put in place on Thursday morning to prevent any potential disruptions of law and order.
The entire Enugu State awaits the tribunal’s judgment, which has the potential to reshape the political landscape and settle the contentious issues surrounding the 2023 governorship election.
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