….dismisses APC’s appeal as incompetent
ABUJA–The Supreme Court, on Friday, declined to nullify the election victory of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices, dismissed as incompetent, an appeal that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate in the state, Uche Nnaji, filed to challenge the return of Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as winner of the gubernatorial contest.
In its lead judgement that was prepared by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the Supreme Court, held that Nnaji and his party, filed an invalid brief of argument.
It held that the appellants failed to adduce any cogent reason why the invalid process they filed should be relied upon to invalidate governor Mbah’s election victory.
According to the apex court, since the appellants’ brief of argument was legally defective, it ultimately affected the substantive appeal.
Consequently, it dismissed the case of the appellants for being incompetent.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Enugu had on July 18, also dismissed Nnaji’s case against Mbah.
The appellate court held that the appeal marked:CA/E/E/EP/GOV/EN/01/2023, lacked merit, even as it upheld the verdict of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which affirmed governor Mbah’s election victory.
The appellate Court awarded each against Nnaji and the APC the cost of #250,500.
The electoral body the 1l National Electoral Commission, INEC had at the end of the Gubernatorial poll on Enugu State declared that Mbah got a total of 160,895 votes to defeat Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party who scored 157,552 votes.
The APGA candidate Frank Nwaeke with 17,983 votes, Nnaji came fourth with 14575 votes.
Not happy with the outcome, Nnaji filed a petition to challenge Mbah’s victory, based on pre election matters, staying that at the time of the election he was not eligible to contest , alleging that he presented a forged certificate to INEC.
He also stated in the petition that Mbah was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes in the election.
He therefore asked the court to disqualify Mbah, Edeoga and Nwaeke and either pronounced him winner of the election or order INEC to conduct a run off election between him and other candidates excluding Mbah and the PDP.
With the verdict delivered on the June 20, the Enugu State governoship election petition tribunal dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was not filed in compliance with the provisions of the electoral Acts 2022.
Not satisfied with the judgement, Nnaji went on appeal for the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal.
In the contrary he asked the court to order the tribunal to hear his petition on its merit which the court refused on Friday.