The suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to get the five governors who defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to vacate their seats suffered a setback yesterday as the court upheld the claim by the governors that they were not properly served with the processes.
The affected governors are AbdulFatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano).
The suit, which was instituted six months ago by PDP to challenge the legality of the defection by the governors to the APC was adjourned indefinitely to allow the PDP comply with the procedure for service.
In his ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that PDP failed to follow the procedures allowed by law in reaching the defendants since December 10 when the court action was instituted.
The court agreed with the lawyers to the governors that they had not been served with the court papers and as such, the court could not assume jurisdiction until the plaintiff (PDP) had done the needful and put its house in order.
The purported service of court process allegedly effected at No. 40 Blantyre Street, being the new office of the APC was declared illegal, invalid, defective and was set aside by the court for not having the court endorsement.
Justice Kolawole held that the issue of service of originating summon by the plaintiff on the defendant was fundamental before the court could take further action against the defendants.
He asked PDP to formally write the court and attach the evidence of proper service of court processes on the defendants before any action could be taken against the governors.
The PDP had informed the court that in line with the court order obtained on December 13, 2013, the originating summon was taken to No. 6 Bissau Street, Wuse II, but discovered that the APC had vacated the office and relocated to No. 40, Blantyre Street, Abuja, as the new office.
PDP claimed that the originating summon and other court papers were subsequently taken to the new office for onward delivery by the APC to the governors.
But Justice Kolawale agreed with the governors that the service at 40 Blantyre Street was invalid, ineffective and faulty because the order of the court for service did not embody the address.
The judge said what the plaintiff (PDP) ought to have done was to come back to the court to legally vary the order of service before serving it at 40, Blantyre Street, being the new APC national secretariat.
Justice Kolawole said PDP would have done well if the service of the originating summons had been effected on the Attorney General of the affected states since such service could hardly be faulted in law.
He therefore ordered PDP represented by Dr. Alex Izion (SAN) to do the needful before the case could be resuscitated by the court for adjudication.