Enugu: Supreme Court Upholds Governor Mbah’s Election Victory


In a unanimous decision reached on Friday today, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has declined to nullify the election victory of Governor Peter Mbah in Enugu State.

A five-member panel of Justices at the apex court dismissed an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Uche Nnaji, challenging the legitimacy of Governor Mbah’s win in the gubernatorial contest.

Justice Tijani Abubakar, who prepared the lead judgment, ruled that the appellants, Nnaji and his party, had submitted an invalid brief of argument. The court held that the appellants failed to provide sufficient reasons to justify the reliance on their flawed submission to invalidate Governor Mbah’s election victory.

The Supreme Court emphasised that the appellants’ legally defective brief of argument had a direct impact on the substantive appeal, ultimately leading to the dismissal of their case on grounds of incompetence.

It is worth noting that the Court of Appeal in Enugu had previously dismissed Nnaji’s case against Governor Mbah on July 18. The appellate court found that the appeal lacked merit and upheld the decision of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which affirmed Governor Mbah’s victory.

Additionally, the appellate court imposed a cost of N250,000 on each of the appellants, Nnaji and the APC.

During the gubernatorial poll in Enugu state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that Governor Mbah secured a total of 160,895 votes, defeating Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), who received 157,552 votes. Frank Nweke Jnr. of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came in third with 17,983 votes, while Nnaji finished fourth with 14,575 votes.

Nnaji contested the election outcome, alleging that Governor Mbah was ineligible to run due to the presentation of a forged certificate to INEC. He also argued that Governor Mbah was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.

In response, Nnaji petitioned the tribunal to disqualify Governor Mbah, Edeoga, and Nweke and either declare himself the winner or order INEC to conduct a runoff election excluding Governor Mbah and the PDP.

However, on June 20, the Enugu state governorship election petition tribunal dismissed Nnaji’s petition, citing non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. Unhappy with this decision, Nnaji appealed to the higher court, but his plea to have his petition heard on its merits was also rejected by the appellate court on Friday.

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