The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, has granted the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and its governorship candidate for the July 14 poll, Kolapo Olusola, the leave to serve notice of petition, and other accompanying processes it filed to challenge the declaration of All Progressive Congress, APC’s John Kayode Fayemi as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by conspicuous pasting and courier services.
This came on the heels of an affidavit by the bailiff of the tribunal, stating that he could not effect personal service of the petition to the 2nd and 3rd respondents which are: APC and Fayemi respectively as the party’s office in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti has been under lock while the 3rd respondent is currently out of the country.
The PDP, through its legal team, headed by Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed a motion exparte pursuant to paragraphs 8 (2), 47 (1), ( 2), and 54 of the electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), Order 6, rule 5 of the Federal High Court.
The exparte, as moved by Obafemi Adewale (Esq), who represented the petitioners, sought the following:
“An order of the Honourable Tribunal granting leave to the Petitioners/Applicants to bring this application before the pre-hearing session and to hear and determine same accordingly
“An Order for substituted service of the Petition and other processes filed by the Petisioners/Applicants in this Petition on the 2nd and 3rd Respondents, Olukayode John Fayemi by substituted means to wit: By delivering the Petition and other processes filed by the Petitioners to any of the officials or members of staff of the 2nd Respondent at the Ekiti State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, Ekiti Stay Secretariat, situated at No 156, Ajilosun Street, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State
“And/or by serving the Petition and its accompaniments and other subsequent processes filed by the Petitioners in this Petition by pasting i.e notice put up at a conspicuous place at the Ekiti State Secretariat of the 2nd Respondents at No 156, Ajilosun Street, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
“And/or by serving the Petition and its accompaniments and other subsequent processes filed by the Petitioners in the Petition by pasting i.e notice out up at a conspicuous Not ice Board at he Ekiti State High Court Premises, Ado Ekiti Judicial Division, Ekiti State.
“And /or in the alternative, leave of the tribunal to serve the Petition and its accompaniments outside the jurisdiction by delivering same at the National Head office of 2nd respondent APC,at 40, Blantrye street, off Adetokunbo Ademola streets, Wuse II , Abuja, FCT via courier service by a registered courier company and other and valid and proper service on the 2nd and 3rd Respondents respectively.
“An Order deeming the service of the Petition, its accompaniments and other subsequent processes through any of the above substituted means as valid and proper service on the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.”
However, Adewale also sought for abridgement of the time for the 2nd and 3rd respondents to respond not later than 14 days from the date of service.
This, Adewale did, on the grounds that the lordships of the tribunal have the discretion and power to abridge the time for respondents as sought by PDP counsel.
He also urged the Tribunal to be mindful of the time limitation for the case and on the need to ensure justice is served on all parties.
In their ruling, the Tribunal granted prayer(s) 2 (a), (c) and (d) as contained in the motion exparte which is to paste the Petition and accompany processes at a conspicuous place in the premises of the Tribunal in Ado Ekiti, and as well send same via a registered courier service to the National Headquarters of the APC in Abuja.
The Tribunal however didn’t grant the service of petition notice to the APC Secretariat in Ajilosun in Ado Ekiti as it noted that the office has been under lock.
The tribunal however found out that other prayers contained in the motion have been taken care of by the grant of prayers 2(a), (c) and (d).