By Emeka Ugwuonye
Opinion:There are two points that majority of the citizens of Enugu State can agree on. They are as follows: (1) If Peter Mbah truly forged important documents and lied about them in order to become Governor of Enugu State, there is a serious problem, and (2) If those forgeries disqualified Mbah from contesting as Governor, then the Tribunal is likely to declare him disqualified. But beyond that, Peter Mbah will forever bear a moral burden which will make it impossible for him to be an effective Governor of the State at a time that the people of Enugu are in desperate need of a truly good leader.
The allegations of conspiracy and forgery against Peter Mbah are based on intricate and convoluted and vanishing evidence. Many are not able to follow the evidence to where it logically leads. Hence, some do not understand how strong the case against Peter Mbah is. This post shall analyze the evidence to help the reader understand it better and draw the right and logical conclusions.
Peter Mbah, by his own forged NYSC letter, (Attached here as Number 1) stated that he should continue his NYSC from May, 2003. We now know that the letter was forged because you don’t stop and continue the national service, it is a one-straight-year unbroken-term service. But let’s accept Peter Mbah’s creativity and assume that he “continued” his national service in May, 2003. Two irreconcilable things happened at this point. (1) Peter Mbah was posted by NYSC to a law firm known and UDEH & ASSOCIATES (See Attachment No. 3) and he was supposed to be serving in that law firm as of June 2003, as he collected his NYSC allowance for that month and continued doing so till September of 2003 (See Attachment No. 2). Note that this law firm is owned by Victor Udeh. Note also that this law firm was based in Lagos in 2003. (2) In the same June, 2003, Peter Mbah became the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Enugu State and was receiving his salary as such. For this position, he was based in Enugu, not at the law firm in Lagos. All these manipulations led to Peter Mbah eventually forging an NYSC discharge letter for himself.
Note that by NYSC records, Peter Mbah is recorded as performing his NYSC service in Lagos where he was posted. But in fact, Peter Mbah worked at the State House in Enugu exactly during the time he told NYSC that he was serving in Lagos.
THE CRITICAL PLAYERS:
At the critical point in time, there are two people in the center of this NYSC document manipulations and forgeries. They are: (1) Peter Mbah himself, who was supposed to be the NYSC participant, the Youth Corper, (2) Victor Udeh, the owner of UDEH & ASSOCIATES law firm. The role of Victor Udeh was to collaborate the lie, which was that Mbah was serving in his law firm based in Lagos, when in fact Mbah was the Chief of Staff in the Governor’s office in Enugu.
This lie immediately led to the NYSC paying Mbah allowances he did not earn. The lies also led to the false claim that Mbah ever completed his NYSC. Now, look at documents attached here, which I numbered in red as: No. 3, which was NYSC posting that assigned Mbah to UDEH & ASSOCIATES, No. 4, which was used to collect NYSC allowance for the month of June, 2003, No., No. 2, which was a letter from Victor Udeh certifying falsely that Mbah completed his service at his firm in Lagos, whereas Mbah was Chief of Staff in Enugu and whereas Mbah claimed in Attachment No, 7 that he did his NYSC at Nnaemeka Agu Chambers in Enugu State.
The relationship between Peter Mbah and Victor Udeh (UDEH & ASSOCIATES) went beyond the conspiracy to forge NYSC clearance and attendance. Toward the end of 2006, the EFCC arrested Peter Mbah and his lawyer friend, Victor Udeh, and on January 22, 2007, charged them along with two others on four-counts of corruption and fraud-related offences.
These were offences against the people of Enugu State. Admitted, these charges were eventually dropped after they reached a deal with the EFCC. See Attachment No. 5. Peter Mbah was First Defendant while Victor Udeh was Second Defendant in those charges. I attached also here (Nos 6 and 7) a statement that Peter Mbah gave on 26, June, 2007 to the EFCC under caution after he was arrested. In that statement, Peter Mbah wrote, in his hand, as follows:
“When I came back from my scholarly sojourn in the United Kingdom Victor Udeh was working in the chamber of my sponsor in the Law school JSC P Nnaemeka Agu (retired) where I did my youth service”.
Compare the above statement with the content of Attachment No. 4, a letter written by Victor Udeh on 26th June 2003 on the letter head of UDEH & ASSOCIATES. This letter was written signed on behalf of the firm stating as follows:
“We hereby confirm that the above named corps member posted to our firm have been reporting for duty.”
Also see Attachment No. 2 also, a letter issued by UDEH & ASSOCIATES to the Lagos State Director of NYSC, stating thus:
“We hereby confirm that the above-named Corps Member [Peter Mbah] posted to our firm have (sic) successfully completed his National Service.”
It is clear that Peter Mbah has the mind of a criminal. Look at it this way: When addressing the NYSC in 2003, he claimed to have served in Lagos with UDEH & ASSOCIATES. (Attachment Nos. 2 and 4). But when addressing the EFCC in 2007, he claimed to have served in Nnaemeka Agu Chambers in Enugu (Attachment No. 7). What do you think was going in his mind in 2007, which was not there in 2003? In 2007, he realized that the EFCC knew he was in Enugu working as Chief of Staff in 2003. He quickly claimed to have served in Nnameka Agu’s Chambers in Enugu because he wanted to make appear that he was serving part-time for NYSC and working part-time as Chief of Staff, performing both roles in Enugu. He figured that he could not work part-time in both places if one place was in Lagos and the other in Enugu. So, you have in Peter Mbah a simple-minded crook who lies at the speed of thought. Oh, by the way, if you look at Attachment Nos. 2 and 4, you will see that No. 2 was signed by two people. It must be a document forged by an Angel.
From the quoted statements above, you will see that Peter Mbah is a pathological liar and he lies with reckless abandon. He has no appreciation for the truth and he does not care whom he is lying to. Apparently, all his life, Peter Mbah did not know that lying has consequences. The possible disqualification at the Tribunal is one of those consequences. But even if Mbah were to manipulate his way beyond the tribunal, do Enugu people deserve this kind of punishment, to have a master-forger as their Governor?
One day, these guys must own up to these humongous lies, falsifications and manipulations. One day, they will come to terms with the fact that Enugu people are not idiots. They are patient, gentle and understanding people, but they are not fools and they do not encourage criminality in leadership. For too long now, Enugu people have been taken for granted by the successive Governors. They have been lied to. Their assets stolen. Their opportunities squandered. Time has come for the people of Enugu to hold their leaders accountable. They tried it through the election process by rejecting Peter Mbah. But rigging was just one more step in the culture of manipulation and falsification. The people have had enough. They are now praying that the Tribunal will follow the will of the people and reject forgeries and lies, which Peter Mbah and his team represent.