BY KENNEDY ONYEGBADO
Amid political controversies and legal battles, one issue has recently captured the attention of the nation – the alleged forged certificate of discharge in the possession of Enugu State Governor, Mr. Peter Mbah
In an unfolding legal saga, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has taken a resolute stand on the alleged forgery of Enugu State Governor, Mr. Peter Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate.
The NYSC’s unyielding insistence that the certificate is fake has attracted the attention of civil rights group Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). At a recent press conference, HURIWA highlighted the NYSC’s firm stance on the matter, emphasizing the need for a transparent legal process to ascertain the truth.
The crux of HURIWA’s concern lies in the deluge of contradictory media reports from the election petition Tribunal, seemingly suggesting that the NYSC Management has accepted the validity of Governor Peter Mbah’s certificate.
The controversy surrounding Governor Peter Mbah’s NYSC certificate first came to light in February 2023 when the NYSC issued a letter, signed by Ibrahim Muhammad, the scheme’s Director of Certifications, disclaiming the certificate. According to the NYSC, the certificate in question was not issued by the Corps.
Responding to the NYSC’s disclaimer, Governor Peter Mbah took legal action, suing the NYSC for conspiracy, deceit, and misrepresentation of facts. He demanded a staggering N20 billion in compensation, making it clear that he vehemently disputed the NYSC’s assertion regarding his certificate.
In May, 2023, during a guest appearance on Arise TV, the NYSC Director-General stated that he had met with Governor Peter Mbah and was frank with him, informing him that the certificate in question was not from the NYSC. Despite this meeting, the NYSC maintained its unchanging stance on the alleged forgery.
The situation escalated further in July, when the NYSC presented documents before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Enugu State. The documents indicated that Governor Peter Mbah had allegedly forged the NYSC discharge certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2023 general elections.
The tribunal, in response to a subpoena issued to the NYSC, heard evidence presented by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, who had filed a petition against Governor Peter Mbah’s election.
Among the documents tendered by the NYSC were the alleged forged discharge certificate and the original discharge certificate that Governor Peter Mbah was expected to have obtained. Additionally, a letter from Oma and Partners, an Abuja-based law firm, was presented, indicating their request for the NYSC to scrutinize the discharge certificate submitted by the governor to INEC.
Throughout the unfolding legal drama, HURIWA, which has remained a vocal advocate for transparency and accountability, had consistently confronted the NYSC Management on the matter, calling for a fair and transparent legal process to ascertain the authenticity of Governor Peter Mbah’s NYSC certificate.
However, in response to the recent reports suggesting a change in the NYSC’s position, HURIWA took swift action. The association dispatched a delegation to the NYSC headquarters, demanding clarification and, if necessary, an apology from the NYSC’s Director-General to Governor Peter Mbah within 48 working hours.
Yet, the top management staff of the NYSC, who received the delegation, firmly asserted that the NYSC had not altered its claim and maintained that Governor Peter Mbah’s certificate was indeed fake and bore no connection to the organization. At the heart of HURIWA’s demands is the NYSC’s unwavering insistence that the certificate presented by Governor Peter Mbah is fake.
Again, media reportage plays a pivotal role in shaping public perception, and HURIWA stresses the need for journalists to exercise professionalism and objectivity in their coverage. The association calls for accurate, unbiased, and verified reporting, urging journalists to rely on proceedings officially conducted by the courts, not sensationalized or slanted narratives.
Nonetheless, HURIWA’s press conference emphasized that the association’s advocacy on this issue transcends political motivations. The group reaffirmed its neutrality and called on all Nigerians, regardless of political affiliations, to unite in the pursuit of truth and the preservation of democratic values.
In light of the NYSC’s unchanging stance on the alleged forgery, Governor Peter Mbah’s legal battle has intensified. The tribunal’s examination of the presented documents could hold significant implications for the future of the Enugu State Governor’s tenure.
As the legal proceedings continue, all eyes remain on the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Enugu State. The NYSC’s insistence on the alleged forgery, along with HURIWA’s calls for transparency, underscore the critical importance of a credible legal process in determining the truth.
HURIWA’s advocacy for transparency and accountability in this matter resonates with the broader public’s demand for justice. The NYSC’s insistence that Governor Peter Mbah’s certificate is fake has once again raised questions about the integrity of public officials and the need for a thorough investigation into the alleged forgery.
Therefore, it is essential to uphold the rule of law and preserve the integrity of democratic institutions. The NYSC’s firm stance on the alleged forgery is a testament to the importance of maintaining the credibility of public documents and the institutions responsible for issuing them.
As the nation awaits the tribunal’s verdict, the pursuit of truth and justice remains paramount. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly shape the future of Enugu State’s governance and will serve as a litmus test for the integrity of Nigeria’s democratic processes.
Generally, the unfolding saga surrounding Governor Peter Mbah’s NYSC certificate underscores the significance of upholding the rule of law and preserving the integrity of democratic institutions. The NYSC’s firm stance on the alleged forgery, as highlighted by HURIWA, brings to the fore the need for an impartial and transparent legal process to ascertain the veracity of the certificate in question.
As the legal proceedings continue, all stakeholders must demonstrate patience and respect for the judicial process. A fair and thorough investigation is necessary to establish the truth and ensure justice is served.
As Nigerians, we must collectively uphold the principles of transparency, accountability, and justice. The resolution of this case will undoubtedly have broader implications for the credibility of our institutions and the rule of law in the nation.
Onyegbado is a Public Affairs Analyst in Abuja