•Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah
By DELE ADEDEJI
This piece is a follow-up to my recent article that discussed a personal and general appraisal on judgments of Appeal Court thus far on certificate forgery cases in Nigeria and the way they have employed common sense in issues of subpoenaed witnesses which to a reasonable extent has been adjudged to be fair and encouraging.
Today being Monday 6th of November 2023 is presenting another opportunity for the Appeal Court of Nigeria sitting in Lagos State to prove those of us who believe that they have truly done well in the subject matter wrong or right as Enugu guber election petition appeal will be heard in Lagos any moment from 9am today.
As the panel of the Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court hears the Enugu guber appeal this remarkable day, the following issues are to be determined on the certificate forgery against the sitting governor:
- Whether or not the governor Mr. Peter Mbah presented NYSC discharge certificate to INEC in his credentials to contest the governorship election of Enugu State?
- Whether or not the NYSC discharge certificate the governor presented to INEC has been confirmed by the issuing authority to be forged?
- Whether or not a submission of a forged certificate to INEC attracts outright disqualification according to section 182(1)j of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
- Whether or not the coming of NYSC official to disclaim Peter Mbah’s discharge certificate at the trial tribunal amount to constitutional breach with it’s attendant punishment (disqualification) according to Supreme Court which holds that it is the issuing authority of a certificate under contestation that has locus to authenticate or disclaim such certificate?
- On the defence of the second respondent (Peter Mbah), whether or not the constitution of Nigeria was specific that the confirmed forged certificate submitted to INEC must be a prerequisite to vie for the office of the governor?
- Again on their defence that Mbah didn’t submit the forged certificate to aid his qualification, whether or not the constitution said that the confirmed forged certificate must be submitted to aid the qualification of the man who submitted the said forged certificate?
- On issue of subpoenaed witnesses, whether or not the law acknowledged subpoena witness and if yes, who is a subpoena witness?
- Whether it is commonsensical for a court to hold that a petitioner of election matter should front load the statement on oath of a subpoenaed witness who by implication of being compelled through the order of the court were abinitio an unwilling witness?
- Whether or not the principle of paragraph 4(5) of the second schedule of the electoral act of 2022 should apply to a subpoenaed witness who is either an official or adversary witness respectively, who at the time of filing the petition were not yet witnesses to the matter because the court had not sat yet to issue the subpoena?
- That if the court should reject the testimony of a subpoenaed witness who is indeed the witness of the court, whose invitation was intended to unravel the true facts with evidence of the matter in issue, where does the court want to get direct/first hand information to deliver judgment and justice on the matter?
- Whether or not it is not the responsibility of the court to infer and arrive with a decision on a matter that don’t have a clear position of the law with prescribed sanctions, knowing that such decisions are usually applauded as a ruling with common sense which in most case are being described as judges made laws which should ordinarily apply to the issue of subpoena witness?
I am of the view that by the time the court of Appeal and the Supreme court will respectively resolve all the above questions on the forgery case against Mr. Peter Mbah, it would be obvious to them that an attempt to spare the Enugu governor will unfortunately mark the end of a very important National institution such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and that would be a bad omen to our up and coming generation.