to top

Who is really advising Peter Mbah?

While taking a break from my work yesterday, May 15th, 2023, I decided on a tour of the social media. It has been my way of resting, and reinvigorating myself from that familiar enemy called writer’s block. It has been my method for years, especially since the advent of social media. Once it happens, I dive into Facebook or google topics that I read. I have often been inspired into sharpening my perspectives that way.

But yesterday’s own was different. No sooner did I hit the Google app on my phone than an item on Nairaland hit me like a thunderbolt? The headline, as captured on the Google search engine was almost scary.

“JUST IN: Court Bars NYSC From Speaking On Enugu Gov-Elect’s Certificate Saga.”

A click on the link took me to The Whistler, the very first media outfit that published the story, and I read with consternation, the sinister steps taken by a man that claims he means well for the people of Enugu State to, most possibly, cover up his sordid past. Peter Mbah wanted, and actually got a Federal High Court in Abuja, to issue a restraining order on the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC and its Director, Corps Certification, “from making further statements regarding the genuineness of the NYSC certificate in possession of the Enugu Governor-elect, Barrister Mbah Peter Ndubuisi.”

I was instantly gutted by shame. You know that type of shame that envelopes you when abnormal and embarrassing incidents you otherwise ascribe to distant, less sophisticated lands descend like a relentlessly wicked downpour on your own community? It felt like a pastor in a church preaching against indecent dressing minutes before his wife strolled into the cathedral, in her birthday suit.

This sure is not being pushed by a man from a peaceful community of intelligent people. Not my Enugu State!

There is no way he will clean himself of the stains from this ill-advised action. His resume before the public, no matter what he does in the future, will always feature one line or two about how he attempted to smother evidence of forgery and perjury against him.

Even before I went beyond the headline, to the strange details of the story, as captured by The Whistler, I was already asking myself the question, “Who is advising Peter Mbah?” I know that a certain Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Emeka Ozoani, was mentioned as the lawyer that handled the brief on behalf of Mbah, but it does not take care of my concern about why Mbah took this rather shameful route to the alter of justice.

By the title, SAN, one presupposes some minimum depth of wisdom and discretion, even if a lot of money is involved, but if the learned SAN was one of those who advised Peter Ndubuisi Mbah to go to court on this matter, then there just might be question marks on the “Senior” in his “Advocate of Nigeria.”

What was the motive behind the court case? To obtain justice? If this was the raison d’etre, then who was he seeking to obtain justice from? From Enugu people that he seeks to govern in truth, fairness, and respect for order and the rule of Law? Is it the NYSC, which has merely responded to inquiries from the public in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act? Or could it be that he is trying to get justice from himself by trying to distinguish the Peter Mbah who is accused is forging his NYSC discharge certificate, from the one that desperately wishes to be seen as clean and prim?

A run through the activities of the PDP-INEC Governor-elect since the issue of his purportedly forged NYSC discharge certificate became public suggests that Mbah may have been hit by what in psychiatry, is known as dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition that makes the patient assume distinct personalities with the various identities controlling a person’s behavior at different times.

The signs are there. At one time, he is positioning himself as a consummate technocrat and clever investor, and at another time, you see him manifesting as a victim of political maneuverings. Still, at other times Mbah shows up looking like one who could do anything, including acts bordering on the unethical, to accomplish power, while there are times he comes across as a man merely trying to walk away from what looks like a sordid past; a past that may have happened for no fault and committal of his.

You cannot examine Mbah, especially in the light of this strange court pronouncement, without thinking of the characters, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde, in Sir Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The only problem here is that while the character in Stevenson’s fictional work manifests just two personalities, Mbah appears to be capable of swinging from four cardinal points of behavioural modelling.

Who could have allowed Mbah to go to court (most likely under the momentary protection of darkness) to ask for the muscling of public inquiry? For a man who is expected to submit to the highest standards of probity, it rings frighteningly foreboding, given that he has not even been sworn in as governor.

Even as a journalist, I found the two prayers Mbah put before the court peremptorily ridiculous. The first was to gag the NYSC and prevent it from further issuing disclaimers on his discharge certificate. The second, and in my years as a journalist, I haven’t heard of its sort, sought to prevent the Enugu Election Petitions Tribunal from accepting as evidence, the letters already released by the NYSC repudiating the certificate Mbah submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Thankfully, the judge refused to grant the latter.

If Peter Mbah is a democrat and contested an election in a political party (PDP) with “Democratic” in its name, and if his mission is to uphold, sustain and advance the ideals of freedom as enshrined in democracy, then I find what he attempted to make the court do reprehensibly undemocratic. Rather than go to court to obtain what is now known as “jankara judgment,” what I feel should have been the option was to sue the NYSC, either to withdraw the disclaimer or to establish through legal means, that he truly completed his one -year national service, and was duly discharged.

But since the scandal about his discharge certificate broke, the only thing I have seen that Peter Mbah has done successfully is to avoid any confrontation with the NYSC either in the circular or legal field. He has gone on radio and television reinforcing his claim of having duly served his fatherland, he has caused a lot of newspaper publications to achieve the same and even a clearance letter from the law firm where he claims he performed his primary assignment has been released just to assert that he did do his NYSC. But when you expect him to take the most important and decisive step, which is to challenge the NYSC (which has twice disclaimed his discharge certificate), Mbah balks.

You have to ask yourself, WHY?

Peter Mbah is a lawyer. He even has a Master’s degree in one specialist area of the profession. He should therefore know that having seen the document that repudiated his NYSC discharge certificate flying around, and being tendered as evidence at the tribunal, the onus of proof is otherwise his, and in my view, he has just two options: it is either he approaches a court to compel the NYSC to withdraw those disclaimers and release a certified true copy of his original NYSC discharge certificate, or he waits to establish the same at the tribunal. The option of trying to stifle the NYSC and attempt to take the issue outside the purview of the tribunal is vastly suspicious.

I do not want to talk about the judge before whom the Motion exparte was brought and who eventually made the ruling. I have seen lawyers doing justice to that already. It is however strange that a court of law in a civilized country would issue an order restraining a public institution from responding to inquiries on the validity or otherwise of its certificates. But like Chidi Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, wrote in his tweet, I am also wont to ask, “How on earth does a judge even think of making this kind of order with a clear conscience unless there are things involved that a judge should not be involved.”

Who is advising Peter Mbah?

Since the matter of his NYSC certificate became public knowledge, there is a significate swathe of the members of the public that have been drawn to his side, not really because they like him, but on account of the heavy piling the issue has been given in the media. This group appeared neutral and have drawn their argument from the overkill department. In other words, they believe the issue has been over-flogged to the point of arousing suspicion about its veracity.

I doubt if the “court pronouncement” and the efforts towards making it happen would appeal to this segment, whose apparent neutrality could have possibly swayed and silenced those that have relentlessly pilloried Mbah for more than five months now. If anything, it has aroused more suspicions around his defences all the while. More terribly, it has enabled those who have not been interested in the debate to join.

Did anyone notice that nearly all the newspapers and bloggers in the country have published the court ruling, with some doing follow-ups on the matter? That is how important the issue has become, and that is bad news for Mbah. There is no way he will clean himself of the stains from this ill-advised action. His resume before the public, no matter what he does in the future, will always feature one line or two about how he attempted to smother evidence of forgery and perjury against him.

That is why I aver (apology to lawyers) that Peter Mbah needs to change his advisers.

It is extremely urgent.

 If it is not even too late…


Ikem Okuhu is a journalist, a Public Relations professional, brand strategist and teacher. With a career that traversed Print Media, Oil & Gas, Banking and entrepreneurship, Ikem is the author of wave-making book; PITCH: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths, a dispassionate exposition of the dos and don’ts of successful engagement in the marketplace, especially the Nigerian marketplace. He is the founder/publisher of BRANDish, Nigeria’s first nationally circulating Brands and Marketing magazine. He has also handled the PR and reputation management consultancies for a number of brands, businesses and public figures.

  • Chidibere Francis Ezeh

    The first thing came to my mind when i heard about the court injunction was, ” the lords must be crasy”. I have seen it all but this one takes the cake. Its either a case of Bi-polar disorder or a persoalitg with Fascist mind-set. May God save Enugu state and Nigeria from merchants of evil macharvellian tendencies.

    May 16, 2023 at 1:11 pm Reply
  • Ogbonna Larry

    My father once told me that When death wants to take a little dog, it prevents him from perceiving even the smell of excrement. I also agree to the saying that, Pride goes before fall.

    May 16, 2023 at 1:41 pm Reply
  • Tobias Ezema

    Well, it is obvious that a mother who has sick baby at hand will always hear advice from both wrong and right

    May 16, 2023 at 4:42 pm Reply

Leave a Comment