Court rejects application by PDP lawyers to serve the governors summons on its floor.
The suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seeking to declare the seats of five governors vacant for defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC, suffered a setback at a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday because the court summons were not served on the governors.
The court refused the application of the counsel to the ruling party, Alex Iziyon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to use the court floor to serve summons on the governors.
It, therefore, ordered that the governors be served through the national secretariat of their new party, APC.
The governors are Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano). They decamped to the APC last November 26.
The PDP had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the five governors seeking order of the court to declare their seats vacant following their defection.
Mr. Iziyon, who led a team of lawyers for the PDP, had told the court that he was finding it difficult to serve court summons on the governors due to irregularities in the address of the APC national secretariat.
He requested the court to allow its bailiff to serve the summons on the governors through their lawyers on the floor of the court so as to achieve speedy hearing on the matter.
However, the governors’ lawyers numbering about 100, including five SANs, opposed the request, saying that the ruling party failed to comply with the law.
The lawyers who appeared for the governors are Yusuf Ali for Mr. Kwankwaso; John Baiyeshea for Mr. Nyako; Lateef Fagbemi for Mr. Amaechi; Awa Kalu for Mr. Wamakko and Akinlolu Olujinmi for Mr. Ahmed. They are all SANs.
The governors’ counsel asked that the court orders the PDP to serve the summons on their clients through the APC National Headquarters at No 6, Bissau Street, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja, as ordered by the court last December 13.
They told the court that they only appeared in protest in court based on newspaper advertisements in the two national dailies that their clients had been sued.
The lawyers urged the court to compel the PDP to do what was known to the law.
The defence counsel said they had filed separate motions in court challenging the claims of PDP and that hearing notices and originating summons were served on them through some addresses..
Mr. Iziyon subsequently requested for adjournment to enable him reply the motions of the defendants.
The presiding judge, Gabriel Kolawole, agreed with the defence lawyers that the summons should not be forcefully served on the governors on the court’s floor.
He ordered the counsel to the ruling party to take the summons to the address stated in the order and adjourned the case to February 24.