Allegation, last kick of dying horse, party replies
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Barely 18 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Enugu State, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, risked being disqualified from the race.
He has been accused presenting a forged National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This was disclosed at a joint press conference by Total Support for Rule of Law and Justice Initiative and Enugu Progressive Forum, in Abuja yesterday.
However, the Enugu State of PDP Campaign Council has denied the allegation describing it as the conjecture of an indolent opposition and the last kick of a dying horse.
The groups alleged that the NYSC in a letter dated 1st February, 2023, confirmed that it did not issue the said Certificate of National Service presented to INEC by Mbah.
The Coordinator of the Total Support for Rule of Law and Justice Initiative and Enugu Progressive Forum, , Cynthia Mabeokwu, in the copy of the letter released to journalists at the press conference, the Corps, in paragraph 2 of the letter said: “We are pleased to inform you that the Certificate of National Service belonging to Mba Peter Ndubuisi with Certificate Number: A808297 forwarded for verification was not issued by the NYSC.”
The groups said that it had applied to authorities for information, clarification, verification, confirmation and explanation.
“As part of this quest for information, we wrote to the INEC and obtained Certified True Copies of all the documents and qualifications submitted by the various candidates to the commission,” the groups
The groups called on the candidate to explain to voters in Enugu State, the circumstances of the alleged forgery.
“This explanation should be in clear precise terms leaving no doubt in the minds of any person. It should not be with any prevarications, insults, deflections or evasion of the facts.
“Where candidate, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah has no explanation for this turn of events, we call on him to immediately apologise to our people and withdraw from the race forthwith and hand himself over to the police, confess his crime and be prosecuted.”
The groups also stated that in line with the provisions of the rule of law, it had filed a direct criminal complaint against Mr. Mbah and that the Court had referred the Complaint to the Inspector General of Police for thorough investigation and possible prosecution.
Citing provisions of the Constitution, the group insisted that any votes cast in favour of Mbah for the election were bound to be declared wasted and void as they were votes cast for a person who was ab initio not qualified to stand for the elections.
“By Section 182(1)(j)of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Constitution provides: Section 182(1) No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if (j) He has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“By the clear provisions of the Constitution, it has become undoubtedly true that Mr. Peter Ndubuisi Mba is not qualified to contest for the election into the office of the Governor of Enugu State for the presentation of a forged NYSC Certificate to INEC,” the groups said.
However, Enugu State Chapter of PDP Campaign Council has said the opposition in Enugu had since come to terms with the fact that they had no prospects in the 2023 governorship election and therefore resorted to smear campaigns.
In the statement issued in Enugu yesterday, the Director of Public Communications and Spokesperson of the Enugu State PDP Campaign Council, Nana Ogbodo, said: “There is no truth whatsoever to the allegation.”
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a press conference by a faceless group in Abuja, which claimed to have conducted a check at the NYSC under the Freedom of Information Act 2011, which purportedly showed that our governorship candidate, Dr. Peter Mbah, submitted a forged NYSC certificate to INEC.
“We make bold to say that Dr. Peter Mbah was duly mobilised for the one-year mandatory national youth service in Lagos in 2002, duly completed the exercise and was issued with an NYSC discharge certificate.
“We state unequivocally that these purveyors of malicious falsehood are the real forgers, as everything about the letter they claimed to have emanated from the NYSC bears all the imprimaturs of forgery; the language too inelegant and unofficial to have emanated from the NYSC.
“We have equally observed that the said malicious press statement was not signed by any official of the faceless group.
“We call on media organisations and interested Nigerians to approach the NYSC to confirm the veracity of the purported letter”.
“We are, however, taking steps in accordance with the provisions of the law to bring the perpetrators to book”.
The Enugu PDP Campaign Council recalled that the opposition had tried their hands in other malicious and criminal falsehoods, including forgery of court processes to malign and bring down Mbah.
“Rather than present and market their manifestos to the Enugu electorate, they had earlier forged court processes and also filed frivolous and malicious lawsuits claiming that Dr. Mbah had entered into a plea of guilt and plea bargain, hence not qualified to stand for election.
“We call on the Nigerian public to disregard this latest perfidy as the umpteenth mischief by an indolent opposition and last kick of a dying horse.”