A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday fixed May 23 for ruling on whether the five governors who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been duly served with the originating summons filed by the PDP seeking to remove them from office.
PDP had through its counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), dragged the governors: Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) , Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) before the court seeking to remove them from office having left the party that brought them to office.
The governors had through their different counsel told the court that they were duly served with the court papers and hence they could not move ahead with the matter.
The PDP had in turn accused the governors of using delay tactic in order to frustrate the suit.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the defected governors through their counsel asked the court to set aside its order of December 13, 2013 which ordered the PDP to serve the originating summons in the case at No. 6, Bissau Street, Zone 6, Abuja.
The court had on December 13 granted an order of substituted service to the effect that the court process be served on the governors through the APC headquarters in Abuja.
Counsel to the governors, Chief Akin Olujinmi, Lateef Fagbemi, Awa Kalu, Yusuf Ali and John Bayeshea all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), had urged the court not to rely on the affidavits in support of the originating summon because it was contradictory.
They argued that the decision of the plaintiff in the matter not to take the processes to the address ordered by the court was a clear disobedience of the court order.
There had been confusion on the exact address of the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja.
It was argued that the originating summons was taken to No. 40 Valentine Street by the bailiff of the court instead of No. 6 Bissau Street, Zone 6, Abuja.
The bailiff had however told the court that on getting to No 6 Bissau Street, Wuse, there was a notice pasted on the gate indicating that the party had moved to No 40 Valentine Street, following which he decided to effect service of the process at No 40 Valentine Street.
The governors are arguing that the national headquarters of the party is still at No 6, Bissau Street.
The governors further argued that the summons could not be served on the APC Headquarters since it was not a defendant in the suit before the court.
It was also argued that since the plaintiff agreed to effect a fresh service of the process on the defendants, they had admitted that the service they did initially was faulty.
They also argued that since the governors were not resident in Abuja, they could not be served in Abuja.
Representing the PDP during yesterdayâ€™s sitting, Damian Dodo (SAN), told the court that the application to set aside the order of December 13, 2013 must fail because it was filed out of time.
He said the order was served in error on 40, Valentine Street instead of 6, Bissau Street and the plaintiff had brought an application to effect a fresh service on the No 6 Bissau Street.
He argued that no law or decided case stopped the PDP from effecting service of court papers at the appropriate address of the party.
After listening to arguments of all counsel, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till May 23 for ruling.