The governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, has shunned the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal’s invitation in the ongoing trial of certificate forgery.
The trial follows the application by counsel to the candidate of the People’s Redemption Party, Alex Amujiogo.
In the trial that resumed Friday after the Tribunal ordered substituted service of a subpoena on Mba through his lawyer, Mbah was said to have shunned all the summons.
However, Amujiogo said, “This Honourable Tribunal had, on June 22, 2023, made an order that the subpoena be served on Peter Mbah through his counsel. We have since done that for him to appear today.
“My Lord, it is obvious that he is not in court under the pretence of immunity.“And today is my last day for me to close my case; my hands are tied and I have no choice but to close my case.”
When asked about his next line of action, Amujiogo noted, “It is now left for the tribunal, in the course of this matter, to know the next step that they will undertake as regards his refusal or inability to appear today before the Tribunal; let us watch and see the battle will be like, between the tribunal and the governor.
“It has two legs- the tribunal can exercise its power of sanctions against the person who refuses his order; you also know that judgement is always at hand; it is the last option. The ball is in the court of the Tribunal to do things one way or the other.”
Meanwhile, the lead counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, Anthony Ani told journalists after the Tribunal sitting that the petitioner did not comply with the provisions of the law while serving the subpoena.
He said the governor was ready to appear if the petitioners did the right thing.
According to Ani, “The petitioner has not complied with the mandatory provisions of the law; the default provision, respecting election petitions, is the Federal High Court Rules, which is very clear in service of Subpoena Testificandum or Duces Tecum.Now, when you serve a subpoena, that subpoena should have been filed alongside the originating process, that is the petition.
He further maintained that in filing a case, Order 3, Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Rules should be served to the witness one is subpoenaing with Form 1A explaining that form 1A mandates the witness to file witness deposition on oath, and then serve the witness one is expecting with their pleadings.
The Tribunal led by Justice K. M. Akano then adjourned the case to June 24, 2023, for the 1st Respondent (the Independent National Electoral Commission) to open its defence.