Following the inability of All Progressives Congress (APC) to personally serve the Ekiti State governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose all necessary papers challenging his victory at the June 21 governorship election, the tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti yesterday ordered that the respondent be served through substituted means.
In the application brought pursuant to Paragraph 8(2) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 and under the inherent power of the court, the applicant, APC through its lawyer, Mr. Kabir Akingbolu, complained that efforts to serve Fayose by the court’s bailiff had been futile.
The order by three-man panel, chaired by Justice Muhammad Sirajo, became imperative following an ex-parte application brought by the APC’s counsel, Akingbolu.
The APC in its petition filed and deposed to by its interim Chairman, Chief Jide Awe, is challenging the victory of Fayose in the June 21 governorship election, where he was declared to have defected Governor Kayode Fayemi in all the 16 local government areas to emerge the governor-elect.
In the same vein, the tribunal granted an order for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the APC unfettered access to inspect electoral materials used in the governorship poll.
The ex-parte motion brought pursuant to Section 151 (1&2) and paragraph 47(1&2) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Christian Okoh, a lawyer.
Delivering his ruling on the matter, Justice Sirajo averred that “Leave is hereby granted the applicant to move the application outside and prior to per-hearing session.
“Prayer are consequently granted subject to the payment by the petitioner to the Chief National Electoral Commissioner the requisite fee for the certification of documents aforementioned. “With respect to the second motion no: EKS/Gov/M3/14, the application for substituted service of the petition on the second respondent (Fayose) is also granted in view of the failure of personal service.”
Akingbolu told journalists after the sitting that the ruling of the tribunal had empowered the petitioner to serve Fayose a copy of the petition through courier to his country home in Afao-Ekiti or by pasting a copy on the wall of the PDP secretariat in Ado-Ekiti.
He said: “The court has granted us an order to use an expert in handwriting, biometric data, and scientific analysts that can examine the ballot papers to prove whether the allegation we made is true or not, which we believe will be successfully proved.”