The Supreme Court of Nigeria unanimously upheld the election victory of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, dismissing the appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Uche Nnaji, challenging the election results. The decision comes after a series of legal battles that have spanned several months.
The five-member panel of Justices deemed the appeal filed by the APC and Nnaji as incompetent due to an invalid brief of argument submitted. Justice Tijani Abubakar, who delivered the lead judgment, emphasized that the appellants failed to provide any substantial reason for considering their defective filing to invalidate Governor Mbah’s election.
The Supreme Court’s ruling concluded that the legal deficiencies in the appellants’ case had a direct impact on the substantive appeal, ultimately leading to its dismissal for incompetence.
This decision echoes the verdict from the Court of Appeal in Enugu on July 18, which also found Nnaji’s case against Mbah to lack merit. The Court of Appeal not only upheld the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal’s ruling affirming Mbah’s election victory but also imposed a cost of N250,000 each on Nnaji and the APC.
Governor Peter Mbah, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), secured victory in the gubernatorial contest with 160,895 votes, defeating his closest rival, Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), who received 157,552 votes. Frank Nweke Jnr. of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came third with 17,983 votes, while Uche Nnaji of the APC secured fourth place with 14,575 votes.
Nnaji had contested the election results, alleging that Governor Mbah was ineligible to run due to a purportedly forged certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and questioning the validity of the election.
Despite these legal challenges, the Enugu State governorship election petition tribunal had dismissed Nnaji’s petition on June 20, citing non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. Nnaji then appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, seeking a reconsideration, but this request was denied.
With today’s Supreme Court ruling, Governor Peter Mbah’s election victory remains intact, bringing an end to a protracted legal battle and reaffirming the legitimacy of his leadership in Enugu State.