An Abuja Federal High Court has fixed March 19 to hear applications filed by five governors who defected to the All Progressives Congress to challenge the validity of the hearing notices served on them by the Peoples Democratic Party.
In the hearing notice, the governors – Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano); and Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara) – were summoned to appear before the court.
They were summoned to respond to the suit filed by the PDP in a bid to remove them from office.
On Tuesday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed March 19 to hear the governors’ motion against the service of the hearing notice, as well as an application filed by the PDP to regularise the service.
The governors’ grouse was that the PDP did not serve the hearing notice at the address stipulated in the order which directed them to appear before the court.
However, the PDP explained that the defected governors’ new political party, the APC, had relocated from the address mentioned in the court order.
The confusion over the address of the national secretariat of the APC became a major issue in the suit after the governors and their lawyers failed to appear before the court when proceedings in the suit commenced on January 27.
Following the governors’ absence, Justice Kolawole fixed February 6 for hearing and ordered that a hearing notice to that effect should be served on them.
The judge directed that the hearing notice should be pasted at the national secretariat of the APC as a means of substituted service on the five governors, in addition to its advertisement in two national dailies.
Instead of turning up to respond to the suit filed by PDP, as ordered by the court, the lawyers of the defected governors appeared in court on February 6 to challenge the service of the hearing notice.
They pointed out that, while the order issued by the court for service of the hearing notice on their clients indicated No. 6 Guinea Bissau Street, Wuse Zone 6 as the address of the APC national secretariat, the service was done at a different address – No. 40 Blantyre Street in Wuse 2.
The PDP lawyer, Alex Izinyon, SAN, explained that the court bailiff, who executed the service, initially called at No. 6 Guinea Bissau Street, Wuse Zone 6 – APC’s address as at the time the court gave the order.
He added that the bailiff saw a note pasted on the gate which explained that the party had moved to No. 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, where he subsequently pasted the hearing notice.
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