Court Refuses PDP's Application To Serve Defecting Governors Orders At Court
SAN FRANCISCO, February 06, (THEWILL) - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Thursday turned down the application by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to serve on the floor of the court summons on the five defecting governors whose seats were being sought to be declared vacant for defecting to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) .
The court instead ordered PDP to serve court's process on the five governors through their new party's headquarters.
The five governors are Dr.
Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Musa Kwankaso of Kano, Aliyu Wamako of Sokoto and Muritala Nyako of Adamawa.
Leading a team of lawyers for the PDP, Dr.
Alex Izinyon, (SAN) had complained that the party was finding it difficult to effect service of court summons on the governors because of alleged irregularities in the address of the national headquarters of APC in Abuja.
He therefore pleaded with the court to instruct a bailiff to serve the summons on the governors through their individual lawyers present in court so as to pave way for speedy hearing of the suit.
But the move was however opposed by the governors who through their lawyers claimed that they had not been served with any court process in respect of the case.
Five Senior Advocates Nigeria leading about 100 other lawyers for the governors refused to accept the service of the summons on behalf of their clients on the floor of the court on the reasons that PDP had failed to comply with the law.
The lawyers are Chief Akinlolu Olujimi for Ahmed, Prince Lateef Fagbemi for Amaechi, Mallam Yusuf Ali, for Musa Kwankoso, Chief Awa Kalu for Wamako and Mr.
John Olusola Baiyeshea for Nyako.
They argued that PDP had to serve the governors with the court summon through the APC National Headquarters at No 6, Bissau Street, Wuse Zone 6, as ordered by the court on December 13, 2013, and not on the floor of the court.
They also maintained that they only appeared in protest in court based on newspaper advertisements in the two national dailies that their clients had been sued and asked the court to compel the PDP to do the right thing known to law.
The defendants claimed that they had filed separate motions in court challenging the claims of PDP and that hearing notices and originating summons were have served on them through an unknown address.
However, the motion by the governors could not be moved as counsel to PDP, Izinyon asked for an adjournment to enable him reply the motions by the defendants.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole who agreed with the lawyers to the governors that the service of court summon could not be forced on them ordered PDP to take the court summon to the address expressly stated in the order granted in favour of the party two months ago.
He ruled that the issue of service of court summons was so germane to any legal action because it touched on the jurisdiction of court and must be properly done in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The judge therefore ordered that the summons be served on the governors along with other processes already filed by the PDP at the APC National Secretariat at No 6, Bissau Street, Wuse Zone 6.
He then adjourned the case till February 24 for report on the service and the reply of the PDP to the motions filed by the defendants challenging the purported service of the court's process on them through a wrong address.
The PDP had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC( and the five governors seeking order of the court to declare their seats vacant for defecting to another party that did not sponsor their elections.