The Southeastern zone of the Network of Evangelical Bishops of Nigeria (NEBN) has once again asked Enugu State governor, Peter Mbah, to resign for bringing what it called the unparalleled disgrace that the new helmsman has brought to the Enugu people in the last few months and for bringing the exalted office of the state governor to public ridicule.
This is the third time in as many months the NEBN has intervened in Enugu public affairs, advising Mbah to throw in the towel for both legal and moral reasons.
The religious leaders had in previous statements accused Mbah of forging his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate A808297 which the new governor claims to have been issued on March 6, 2002, as well as the March 18 governorship election result in his Nkanu East Local Government Area where he was awarded over 31,000 votes, though the national INEC headquarters on March 22 reduced the number of votes to a little over 16,000.
“It was truly disgusting to watch last weekend how the team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) hired by Mbah to defend his purported mandate tried in vain to stop the NYSC from testifying on the genuineness of the NYSC discharge certificate which Mbah presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”, stated the bishops in a statement signed by the zonal chairman, Bishop Samuel Ani, and the acting publicity secretary, Bishop Emmanuel Eneh.
“They even went to the extent of asking the tribunal sitting in Enugu to abide by an incurably defective ex parte motion gagging the NYSC from disclosing the true status of the discharge certificate, an ex parte motion which is now expired and has never had validity in Enugu State because it was granted by an FCT High Court rather than a Federal High Court”.
The bishops ruefully observed that this is the first time in Nigeria’s history a candidate for public office has fought tooth and nail to stop an appropriate agency from speaking on the authenticity of the credentials he or she has presented to the electoral commission.
Alhaji Abubakar I. Muhammadu, the NYSC Director of Certificate, had in a letter written on February 1, 2023, declared that NYSC Discharge Certificate A808297 did not emanate from it, a position supported by the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Yushau Ahmed when he appeared on the Arise Television programme on Friday, May 17, 2023.
“Now, Enugu State has been in the news again in connection with its purported governor presenting forged documents, as the NYSC Assistant Director of Corps Certification, Mrs Rhoda Dawa, has just provided the Federal High Court in Abuja with comprehensive details of how NYSC Discharge Certificate Number A808297 did not come from the organisation”.
If Mbah had completed his national service, explained the NYSC, he would have done so on September 15, 2003, and not September 15, 2002, which the governor claims.
His discharge certificate would have been assigned the serial number 673517, and the calligraphy would have been the same as other certificates issued by the NYSC, according to Mrs Dawa.
“There are too many discrepancies in this fake certificate Mbah presented”, said the senior clergymen
If such a “ridiculous spectacle of forgery should happen in any part of Nigeria in the 21st century”, said the group of bishops, “it is certainly not a state as strategic as Enugu which is the headquarters of not just the Southeast but also the old Eastern Nigerian Region that has since been divided into nine states”.
The bishops noted that Mbah would leave office like other public officers found guilty of presenting forged credentials, citing the examples of Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who was ex-President Muhamadu Buhari’s first Minister of Finance; Alhaji Salisu Buhari, the first Speaker of the House of Representatives when democracy was restored in 1999; and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremioye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was prevented from being sworn in on February 14, 2020, as the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor by the Supreme Court for presenting a fake document to INEC.
Since Mbah, who has been in office since May 29, has achieved his life ambition of being addressed as “His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State”, said the bishops, “he should resign now because it is better than having to wait to be booted out of office through a judicial process which will, ipso facto, deny him the status of ever being recognised as a former governor as far as the law is concerned”.