2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Alleged Plea Bargain: Enugu PDP flagbearer, Mbah, petitions NBA Disciplinary Committee against embattled APC Dep. Gov candidate, Ogara
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has dragged a lawyer and the embattled deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, George Ogara, before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for alleged gross violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners by supplying false information to mislead the court and defame him.
Dr. Mbah equally filed a petition against another legal practitioner, Ejike Obumneme, for filing and promoting a suit, that he allegedly knows or reasonably ought to know is false and intended to mislead the court and maliciously injure his person.
The petitions were sequel to a lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022 filed by Obumneme on behalf of Felix Ugwu and others seeking Mbah’s disqualification from the 2023 governorship election on the grounds that he made a plea bargain and a plea of guilty also entered on his behalf in Charge No. FHC/L/09C/2007 by the Federal High Court on July 7, 2015. According to the suit, the alleged judgement makes Mbah a convict and ineligible to stand for a governorship election.
The petition dated January 11, 2023, and filed on Mbah’s behalf by his lawyer, Osinachi Nwoye, was exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters.
It read in part: “On 7 December 2022, Ejike Obumneme Esq. filed an originating summons in the Federal High Court Abuja on behalf of Messrs. Felix Ugwu, Jonathan Ndubuisi, Ikechukwu Eze, Agbachi Ude, Chris Ugwu and Emeka Aroh, who claimed to be representing the youth leaders of the seventeen local government areas in Enugu State in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022: Felix Ugwu & 5 Others v. Peter Mbah & 3 Others against Peter Mbah, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation wherein they sought inter-alia a declaration that by the express provisions of Section 182(1)(e) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the 1st defendant (Peter Mbah) is ineligible to contest any election to the office of Governor of a State within a period of less than ten years from 7th day of July 2015.
“It was also alleged in the suit that the Federal High Court of Nigeria adjudged Peter Mbah guilty of money laundering offences in Charge Nos. FHC/L/09C/2007 and FHC/L/230C/2007.
“It was again alleged in the suit that Peter Mbah, the 1st defendant in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022 is the 1st accused in Charge No. FHC/L/09C/2007 in which plea of guilty was entered on his behalf on 7/7/2015 and therefore ineligible to contest for the office of a Governor of a State for ten years beginning from 7/7/2015.
“The allegations against Peter Mbah as contained in the originating summons filed by Ejike Obumneme were to Mr. Obumneme’s knowledge false and malicious, as Peter Mbah never entered into any charge/plea bargain howsoever in Charge No. FHC/L/09C/2007 and had been discharged from the charge, about two years before the Federal High Court entered the alleged charge/plea bargain on 7/7/2015.”
The petition went on to explain that Justice M.N. Yunusa of the Federal High Court had in 2007 “delivered a ruling upon an application by the EFCC through its counsel, Kelvin Uzozie, and discharged Mr. Peter Mbah and two other accused persons from the charge before the commencement of the trial”.
The petitioner, therefore, insisted that the allegations were to Mr. Obumneme’s knowledge false, contrived and intended to mislead the court to disqualify Mr. Peter Mbah from the governorship contest, adding that Mr. Obumneme undoubtedly knows or ought to reasonably know that the suit he filed was intended to maliciously injure and destroy Mr. Mbah’s political ambition and his reputation as a renowned entrepreneur.
“Mr. Obumneme’s deliberate participation in the creation and use of false evidence as contained in the affidavit in support of the originating summons in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022 is malicious, dishonorable and unworthy of an officer of the law charged with the duty of aiding the administration of justice.”
Venting the disappointment of Mbah and PDP members over the decision of Obumnene to “compromise and relegate his professional duty to the background and file Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022 fraught with malicious, false and misleading information in a desperate move to destroy Peter Mbah’s political ambition,” Mbah’s lawyer accused Obumneme of violating extant provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007.
Meanwhile, in a separate petition filed against George Ogara by his lawyer, Kevin Eyah, Dr. Mbah observed that Mr. Felix Ugwu (1st Plaintiff in the suit) deposed at paragraph 13(c) of the affidavit in support of the originating summons, that the false facts deposed to were given to him by George Ogara, a legal practitioner and deputy governorship candidate of the APC at the latter’s office in Enugu on October 10, 2022.
Eyah insisted they “were to Mr. Ogara’s knowledge false and malicious as the 1st defendant in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2257/2022 i.e. Peter Mbah never entered into any charge or plea bargain in Charge No. FHC/L/09C/2007 and had been discharged from the charge, more than 2 years before the alleged charge or plea bargain was entered”.
The petition accused Ogara of deliberate intention to maliciously injure Mbah’s reputation and political ambition, and mislead the court.
“It is public knowledge that Mr. Ogara is the deputy gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Enugu State for the 2023 election and all he has done is to employ devious means and to cook up stories against the person of Peter Mbah in furtherance of his political ambitions knowing that Mr. Mbah is an arch rival to his party.
“We respectfully urge the Committee to immediately commence the disciplinary process against George Ogara Esq. for the violation of the sacred provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 1 thereof,” Mbah’s lawyer prayed the LPDC.
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