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Julius Abure-led National Working Committee of the Labour Party has faulted the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal judgement which gave victory to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Peter Mbah.

National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, said this at a Press Conference in Abuja, on Wednesday.

He alleged that the tribunal ignored documentary evidence of malfeasance and electoral fraud provided by its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, to award victory to the PDP.


Ifoh expressed the party’s disappointment that its case had similar traits with the case filed by the PDP in Nasarawa State but that while PDP got justice in Nasarawa, the Labour Party which was coasting to victory, was denied because the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC allegedly connived with the tribunal to turn justice on its head.

Recall that a three-member panel of the tribunal led by Justice Kudirat Murayo dismissed the petitions of the Labour Party and its candidate, insisting that they failed to prove claims contained in their petition.

Edeoga had in his petition, challenged the return of Mbah as the duly elected governor of Enugu state on the grounds that he submitted a forged National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate, and that the PDP engaged in electoral fraud especially over voting.

He said, “The Labour Party candidate, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, was cruising to victory with the results of the election declared in 16 out of 17 LGAs of the state when the PDP colluded with INEC to manufacture 30,000 plus votes for Mbah in the remaining Nkanu East LGA, even when only about 15,000 voters were accredited to vote in that home LGA of Mbah.

“The INEC returning officer for the state, Prof Maduebibisi Iwe, rejected the figures from Nkanu East because the BVAS was discarded, prompting the INEC headquarters to invite him to Abuja.

“After three days, an Abuja INEC panel led by Festus Okoye reduced the total 33,000 plus votes illegally hurled from Nkanu East alone to about 19,000, but gave Mbah almost 17,000 votes to enable him beat LP’s Edeoga (who was leading with 11,000+ votes) with 3,000+ votes.

“It was essentially the above clear cases of over-voting in Nkanu East LGA, especially in Owo and Ugbawka, that prompted the Labour Party and its candidate, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, to approach the Tribunal in the hope that the judiciary will review and correct that anomaly.

“To be clear, it is important that Nigerians understand that Enugu State is a Labour Party State and we make bold to say that the Labour Party’s candidate, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, clearly won the March 18 governorship election held in Enugu.

“This claim is justified by the outcome of all the other elections held in the State between February and March this year. The Labour Party won 2 out of the 3 senatorial seats in the State; 7 out of the 8 Rep seats in the State and 14 out of the 24 seats in the State House of Assembly.

“Notwithstanding the above true position, the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal on Saturday, 21st September, 2023 shockingly delivered a judgment on the disputed election that appeared to have ignored the facts in issue.

“The judgment fell short of the expectations of both the majority of Nigerians and legal pundits who have continued to criticize the fundamental logic and the premise upon which the decision was reached.

“With the recent judgment of the Governorship Election Tribunal in Nasarawa State and the Nkanu East State Constituency Tribunal judgment, the Labour Party is forced to revisit the travesty of justice that took place in the Enugu governorship tribunal judgment, especially given that the three situations presented similar facts, yet different pronouncements were made by the judiciary.

“Recall that the Enugu Governorship Election Tribunal discountenanced the testimonies of our material witnesses who testified that there were manifest over-voting in Owo and Ugbawka for the erroneous reason that they were not accredited witnesses of the Party.

“One, the tribunal erred in that regard because the law has always been that every voter in Nigeria is an eligible witness before a tribunal, more so when the said witnesses were members of the Labour Party.

“ Two, as already established in Torti Vs Ukpabi, it has long been a settled issue that what determines the admissibility of an evidence is its relevance.

“In juxtaposing the above decision with the judgment delivered in the case of Nasarawa, the
Governorship Tribunal in Nasarawa rightly admitted the testimonies of the material witnesses who came to testify that the votes of the PDP in Ashigie Ward, Chiroma Ward, etc were wrongly suppressed and thereafter ordered the restoration of the said votes to the PDP, even when the witnesses therein were not accredited witnesses of the PDP.

“Second, the Tribunal in Enugu jettisoned the provisions of Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022 which provides that where there is original or certified true copy of a document before the court or tribunal that can establish non-compliance and it is shown that the said non-compliance is manifest on the face of that document, parties are not required to adduce oral evidence.

“The Enugu Tribunal strangely feigned ignorance of the above provisions of Section 137 of the Electoral Act and the mischief it seeks to cure by insisting on the needless and additional requirement of calling of oral witnesses to prove over-voting in Uwo and Ugbawka, even when the Labour Party already filed copious INEC certified true copies of the BVAS Accreditation Reports that evidentially proved the case of the Petitioner.

“Again, in juxtaposition with the judgment delivered in the case of Nasarawa, the Tribunal in Nasarawa, in line with the provisions of Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022, rightly relied on the documentary evidence contained in the certified true copies of the print out of the BVAS Accreditation Reports to cancel the votes in Gadagwa Ward, Nasarawa Eggon Ward, Shege Ward, Sabon Gari and in other words, where over voting took place without necessarily insisting that oral witnesses be adduced in support of the tendered documentary evidences Sent from my iPhone”

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