The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has submitted a formal petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC), raising serious concerns over an alleged miscarriage of justice in the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. The petition focused on the conduct of the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Kudirat Morayo Akano, and her panel members during the adjudication of Petition No: EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023.
HURIWA’s petition highlighted critical issues related to the tribunal’s handling of the election dispute filed by Chijioke Edoga and the Labour Party, challenging the outcomes of the March 18, 2023, gubernatorial election in Enugu State. At the center of this dispute is the authenticity of Governor Ndubuisi Peter Mbah’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate.
The organization contended that the tribunal’s dismissal of compelling evidence and testimony from NYSC officials regarding the questionable nature of Governor Mbah’s certificate is a cause for alarm, raising questions about the tribunal’s commitment to truth and justice.
Furthermore, HURIWA raised concerns about Justice Kudirat Akano’s appointment as the Chairman of the tribunal, despite her involvement in a previous case in Osun State. The organization questioned the reasons behind her selection for such a critical governorship dispute and her impartiality given the allegations against her.
HURIWA emphasized that the Enugu State governorship dispute is of utmost importance and that the mishandling of the case has far-reaching implications for justice and the rule of law in Nigeria. The organization called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the conduct of Justice Akano and her panel, a comprehensive review of the judgment, accountability for any miscarriage of justice, and measures to uphold the sanctity of national symbols such as the NYSC certificate.
The organization pointed out that the NYSC certificate serves as a symbol of national unity and service, and allowing individuals with questionable certificates to remain in office could undermine the credibility of all certificates issued in Nigeria and threaten the sanctity of national symbols.
In conclusion, HURIWA expressed hope that the NJC would swiftly and justly address these concerns to restore public confidence in the judicial system and ensure that justice is not only served but also seen to be served. HURIWA emphasized the gravity of the miscarriage of justice in Petition No. EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023 and implored the National Judicial Commission to take immediate and decisive action to investigate the matter thoroughly, review the judgment, and uphold justice to protect the foundations of the nation