- ..Court orders service of fresh hearing notice on APC
BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA — The five ‘rebel’ governors who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, refused to appear before Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to join issues with their former party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over the suit seeking to declare their seats vacant
PDP, which instituted the legal action, told the high court that the defendants, comprising Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Alhaji Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara states, patently ignored hearing notices served on them since December 16 last year.
Consequently, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, ordered the issuance of fresh hearing notices on the five governors through the national secretariat of APC situated at Wuse Zone 6 in Abuja.
Similarly, the court directed that another hearing notice be served on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at its headquarters in Abuja, stressing that it would go ahead and hear the substantive matter on February 6, even if the defendants declined to appear in court on that date.
However, a team of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria that appeared for the PDP urged the high court to allow them publish the hearing notice on two national dailies, a prayer granted by Justice Kolawole.
When the matter was called up for hearing, lead counsel to the PDP, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, told the court that though the bailiff had confirmed that hearing notice was duly served on the governors, he urged the court to take judicial notice of the fact that none of the governors appeared for the matter.
“My Lord, this honourable court had on December 13, 2013, made an order for substituted service of the hearing notice on all the defendants, none of them is here today. I can confirm that only INEC was served through its national office.
“Based on the order of this court, the 2nd to 6th defendants were served through the National secretariat of the APC because we felt that was the proper place to reach them. The bailiff also confirmed that they were served on December 16, 2013.
“My Lord it is over 30 days since that service was effected, yet, there has been no memo or response from them.
“Therefore, we shall be asking for a short date to address this court with regards to our substantive suit. This matter is a very serious one that deserves urgent attention.”