Tribunal grants substituted service order on APC, Obaseki

THE Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has granted the prayers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Young Democratic Party (YDP) and their candidates, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Nurudeen Inwanfero respectively, for subsituted means of serving the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Edo State governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki, petitions arising from the conduct of the September 28, 2016, governorship election.

Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice A. Badamasi, who allowed the petitioners to argue the motion ex parte, outside the pre-hearing session of the tribunal, ruled that the petitioners could serve the APC and Mr Obaseki with the petition and all other processes by substituted means.

The petitioners, in their separate documents, named the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and Obaseki as first, second and third respondents respectively.

Counsel for the PDP and the YDP, Kingsley Obamogie and Mr Ugo Nwofor respectively, in separate exparte motions, alleged that APC and Obaseki were avoiding receipt of service from the bailiff, hence the need to serve them by pasting the tribunal processes on the wall or doors of their last known addresses.

Obamogie argued that the motion was in compliance with Section 151 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, which he relied on and prayed the court to grant the petitioner.

They argued that the grounds for their application were that the bailiff of the  tribunal had made several attempts to personally serve APC and Obaseki the petition but all to no avail, hence the “leave of the tribunal is required” for the APC and Mr Obaseki to be served by substituted means.”

In giving the order, the tribunal chairman said, “the application is hereby granted as prayed because it falls in line with paragraph 47, First Schedule of the Electoral Act as amended and Sections 5(6) 5 of the High Court Rules applicable to the tribunal sitting.”

Badamasi said that the substituted service would be deemed to have been properly served on the respondents once effected by the bailiff.

The petitioners gave the last known addresses of the APC as Edo State APC Secreatriat, Airport Road, Benin City and that of Obaseki as 8, Commercial Avenue, GRA Benin City.

Following the order, the court bailiff proceeded to the two addresses, where he pasted the petitions on the walls.