The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has granted permission to Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to serve their petitions on Sen. Bola Tinubu though the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A three-member panel sitting in Abuja on Friday, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani also granted permission to the trio to serve their petitions on Mr Kashim Shettima and Kabir Masari through the APC.
The three-member panel granted the request while ruling on three separate ex parte applications filed by Atiku and PDP; Obi and LP and APM.
Arguing the motion on behalf of Atiku and the PDP, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, prayed the court to grant his client permission to serve the petition and other accompanying processes on the respondents through the APC.
Arguing for the APM, Mr Oyetola Atoyebi, SAN, also asked the court to give him permission to serve Tinubu, Shettima and Masari through the APC.
In the same vain, Mr Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN, arguing on behalf of Obi and the LP, asked the court for leave to serve Tinubu and Shettima though the APC.
“We ask for an order of court granting leave to the petitioners/applicants to serve the instant petition No: CA/PEPC/03/2023 and all other processes filed by the petitioners in these proceedings on the 2nd and 3rd respondents, (Tinubu and Shettima) by substituted means.
“By delivering and/or leaving/pasting the petition and all other processes filed in the petition at either the office of the National Legal Adviser of the APC or any other officer of the APC at it’s national secretariat in Abuja.
“An order deeming the aforementioned mode of service as good and proper service.
“And for such further orders the court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.”
Ezechukwu explained that the application was premised on the grounds that it was difficult to reach Tinubu as he had relocated to a place with heavy security following his declaration as winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
He said Shettima was also not reachable as he too had relocated from his known address to a location where he would stay until his inauguration on May 29.
He claimed that on account of this, it was difficult for the bailiff of the court to serve the processes on them as all attempts had been unsuccessful.
The senior lawyer said that unless by order of court granting the prayers sought, service of the petition and other processes on the respondents personally would prevent a timeous hearing and determination of the petition.
In an affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Chike Obi, the petitioners claimed that to serve via substituted means was to bring the pendency of any proceeding to the knowledge of the party on whom the process was meant to be served personally.
According to them, the instant proceeding is the election petition in which time is of utmost essence for hearing and determination of the petition. The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) is also listed as a respondent.