Edeoga closes case against Gov Mbah at Enugu election tribunal

The Labour Party, LP, governorship candidate, Mr Chijioke Edeoga on Sunday closed his case against Gov. Peter Mbah in the March 18 election before the election tribunal sitting in Enugu.

Edeoga closed his case after calling 30 witnesses and one witness subpoena from Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Victor Okafor to prove his allegations.

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal is hearing the petition filed by Mr Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party against the election of Peter Mbah of the PDP as the governor.

Edeoga is praying the tribunal to disqualify Mbah over an alleged NYSC certificate forgery and manipulation of election results.

When the matter came up for hearing, the INEC subpoena witness, Okafor told the Tribunal that his commission provided five Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, machines that were provided in the subpoena list.

The LP counsel, Mr Eyitayo Fatogun, SAN, tendered the five BVAS machines to the Tribunal as the PDP counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu and Mbah’s counsel, Mr Alex Izinyon objected to the tendering of the machines.

The counsels said that their reasons would be made known during their final addresses. The tribunal admitted the BVAS machines as evidence.

During cross examination by Fatogun, the subpoena witness said that the information that were generated on the BVAS machines during the governorship election on March 18 were now contained in the BVAS report from the Headquarters in Abuja.

He said that he did not have the BVAS machines for Owo and Ugboka registration areas of Nkanu East Local Government Area, adding that the machines could only be identified by their codes.

The codes of the five BVAS machines brought include 14/08/06/003, 14/08/01/002, 14/08/06/005, 14/08/17/012, 14/08/01/003, he disclosed.

“All the machines contained the BVAS and accessories,” he said.

He said that he could not operate the BVAS machines beyond the information he earlier gave concerning them because they (machines) had not been used since after the election.

Responding to Izinyon, the counsel to Mbah, the subpoena witness said that the machine could contain only successfully uploaded accredited information.

The two last witnesses called by the LP, Mr Godwin Abba and Amos Onyebuchi, who were LP agents, from Ette central and Ikwele Ugbele respectively, in Igbo-Etiti North LGA said that there was over voting at their polling units during the governorship election.

Upon the close of the petitioner’s case, the lead counsel to the petitioner, Dr Valerie Azinge commended the Tribunal for their patience as she closed the case.

The INEC counsel, Mr H. Okoli applied for a date to open their defense.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice M. K. Akano adjourned the matter till July 18 for INEC to open its defense.

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