By Andrew Oota
For dismissing overwhelming allegations of certificate forgery against Enugu State Governor , Mr Peter Mbah as non- important, the Human Rights Writers Association ,HURIWA has described the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal judgement as dangerous precedence to undermine both the integrity of the National Youth Service Corps and constitutional democracy .
The Labour party Governorship candidate in Enugu State ,Honourable Chijoke Edeoga had asked the Election Tribunal to void the election of Peter Mbah for non-qualification ,stressing that the allegedly submitted National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate to INEC was forged document .
He also prayed that Mbah was not elected in compliance with the Electoral Act, stressing that he equally did not score lawful votes casted in the election.
Edorga also alleged that there was a bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS) machine in the collection of votes and over-voting in some polling units in Nkanu East , Igboeze North and Enugu East.
It would be recalled that the National Youth Service Corps has denied issuing the alleged certificate to Governor Peter Mbah.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja , Executive Director of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko described the judgement delivered by justice Kudirat Akano as deliberate attempt to undermine the National Youth Service Scheme and it’s integrity.
He pointed out that the refusal of the tribunal to take into account ,the position of the NYSC as an issuing institution who denied having issued the alleged forged document raises more questions and further increases the public perception of the judiciary .
He maintained that the Governor of Enugu State,Mr Mbah was not under compulsion to tender the NYSC while filling the INEC forms,” he could have ignored it, but the moment he had tendered it as part of his documents as his academic papers , it will be wrong for the court to dismiss such disputed document as not relevant “.
“All that we are saying is that , dismissing the NYSC certificate of a candidate which is already denied by the issuer as something that is not relevant surprises us.
“We believe that the NYSC as an institution must be protected at all cost . We are not saying his certificate is forged ,all we are saying is that the Tribunal should have investigated what the issuer says it did not issue. So the question is completely unresolved and it sets a dangerous precedence which undermines not only the institution of NYSC but also the credibility of the Nigerian electoral process.
He continued ,”The judge ,according to our findings has unresolved issues that are before the Nigeria Judicial Commission and we expected the CJN to have appointed a different judge for the tribunal , he didn’t do that and we are saying it was also proper he did not appoint this judge”.
The HURIWA executive further maintained that the Enugu Governorship judgement of the tribunal has effectively invalidated the presentation of an NYSC certificate. It should have investigated that certificate and not that dismissive judgement because it the NYSC certificate tendered by anybody is denied by the institution it is something the tribunal should not have dismissed “.
He said it would be better that the Federal Government scraps NYSC since the tribunal upheld that it’s certificates don’t matter.
“It means the money for running the National Youth Service Corps should be channeled into other sectors since what it does carries no relevance “.