By Emem Idio – Yenagoa
Hearing on the substantive suit filed by Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governorship aspirant, challenging the conduct of the September 3, Bayelsa State governorship primary election will begin on October 18 at the Federal High Court, Yenagoa Judicial Division.
At the preliminary hearing Monday, one of the defendants counsel, Chuks Oguru argued that the Exparte Order earlier granted by the court which abridged the time given to the defendants to respond was contrary to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and prayed the court to set aside the order to allow for fair hearing and to give them sufficient time to respond.
It could be recalled that the counsel to Alaibe, Somina John-Bull had on October 2, approached the court and obtained Exparte Orders for substituted service on the defendants and for the abridgment of time for the defendants to respond.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Jane Inyang granted the oral application of the defendants’ counsels and set aside the exparte order which abridged the time for the defendants to respond to the matter and adjourned the matter to October 18 for hearing on the substantive suit.
Reacting on the Court ruling, one of the defendants counsel, Chucks Oguru, said, ” Sometime last week, behind our back when the defendants haven’t been served, the plaintiff counsel came to the court and obtained an order that we be served by means of substituted service and also our time for responding to the case of the plaintiff which ordinarily should be 30 days or 42 days depending on the method they came with was abridged to 5 days including Saturday and Sunday and we were put under immense pressure to respond to the case contrary to Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
“So, today all counsels in the matter applied to the court orally that that order is vacated so that the defendants will have sufficient time to respond to the case that has been brought against them and that is the position of the Constitution and that is the position of law.
“And the court displayed judicial activism and agreed with the submission of the defendants and set aside that Order.”