Coalition for True Democracy has bemoaned the failure of police authorities to investigate the alleged case of certificate forgery levelled against the newly sworn-in Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, saying it will set a bad precedence in Nigeria’s political history.
The group also called on Nigerians to protect the National Youth Service Corps from imminent intimidation and attack.
The controversy surrounding Mbah’s discharge certificate trended in February 2023, when the NYSC confirmed, in response to an inquiry by a non-governmental organisation, that the certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission was not released by them.
NYSC Director General, Brig Gen Yusha’u Ahmed had disclosed on May 19 that the discharge certificate being paraded by the then Enugu Governor-elect was not issued by the scheme.
Ahmed who was featured as a guest on Arise Television’s breakfast programme, had insisted the argument on whether Mbah has a valid NYSC certificate or not, does not arise because he had already told Mbah that what he presented as a certificate was fake.
But the then Governor-elect, through his lawyer, Emeka Ozoani, secured an order from a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to restrain the scheme and its officials from speaking further on the controversial certificate.
Rising in his defence, the Enugu chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party faulted Ahmed’s claim, saying it reeked of conspiracy, deceit, and wilful misrepresentation of facts, which necessitated Mbah’s N20bn lawsuit against the scheme.
While addressing journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Spokesman of Labour Party Coalition for True Democracy, Ken Asogwam, called on well-meaning Nigerians to protect the NYSC from intimidation and the ‘smear campaign’ of Mbah and Enugu PDP.
He said, “Since the revelation made by Ahmed that the newly sworn-in governor of Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah, parades a forged NYSC discharge certificate, the governor has launched a syndicated campaign of calumny against the NYSC and its director-general.
“At a time when the NYSC is celebrating 50 years of unblemished existence and service to Nigerians, Peter Mbah should be restrained by all well-meaning Nigerians before he destroys that revered institution. As can be gleaned from court filings made by the NYSC in response to Mbah’s suit against the Corps, it is evident that the NYSC had long responded to the Police inquiry by sending a letter that equally repudiated the discharge certificate to the office of the Inspector General of Police. Why the police have chosen not to respond to the Wuse Magistrate Court’s order still bears the hallmark of Mbah’s pattern of compromising every institution.
“This exhortation is vital given that the governor, like a bull in a China Shop, is trying to destroy both the judiciary and the NYSC.”
Continuing, Asogwam recalled how the governor was invited by the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee to probe the fuel subsidy regime of the Jonathan administration.
He, however, expressed surprise that Mbah was subsequently left out of the case.
“During the fuel subsidy probe of the Jonathan administration, Peter Mbah and his Pinnacle Oil were invited by House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the probe of the fuel subsidy regime of that administration. Enugu people, to date, still consider how Peter Mbah eventually wriggled out of that probe as one of the wonders of this world.
“The implication of allowing Peter Mbah to destroy the NYSC, going forward, will no longer be the authority saddled with the responsibility of confirming the authenticity of certificates issued by them.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians not to stand by and watch him destroy the integrity of a national institution that has served Nigeria well since 1973. NYSC needs our collective protection from desperate power scavengers who acquired notoriety for the destruction of anything that stands in the way of their inordinate ambition.”