The Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has pasted a Court order deeming to have been served on Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP a Petition filed against their purported victory in the March 09, 2019 Gubernatorial Election by the Taraba State Incoming Resident Governor and APC Gubernatorial Candidate, His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi while directing them to respond within 14 days as required by the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
Last week, His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi requested the Tribunal to grant him leave to serve PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku by substituted service as they were evading service of court’s processes from the balliff.
Alh. Sani Abubakar Danladi through his Learned Counsels in a Motion ex parte brought pursuant to paragraph 8(2), 47(1)(2) & 54 of the Fisrt Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended); Order 6 Rule 5(b) of The Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009 and Under The Inherent Jurisdiction Of This Honourable Tribunal submitted that where it has been shown that the People Democratic Party, PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku are evading service and it is practically impossible to effect service on them, it behoves on him to seek leave to serve the Petition and other Processes on them by substituted means in accordance with the provisions of the relevant rules of the court.
His Excellency, Alh. Sani Abubakar Danladi stressed further that, it is not in dispute that the election in contention in the main petition is about the return of Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku as the winner of the Taraba State Governorship Election and the inability to effect personal service on both PDP and Darius therefore makes it imperative to come by way of substituted service.
With utmost respect to the Honourable Tribunal, His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi submitted that, by the provisions of Order 6 Rule 5 (b) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, which was made applicable by paragraph 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), this Honourable Tribunal has the power to grant his application.
He also referred the Honourable Tribunal to paragraph 8(2) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the case of BALGORE VS. AHMED (2013) 8 NWLR (PT. 1355) PAGE 60 AT 91 PARA G-H in support of his argument. And that in such a circumstances, he has the backing and support of the apex court to seek and obtain the leave of the Tribunal and urged that any application outside the pre-hearing session as reiterated by the decision of Supreme Court in OKEREKS VS. YAR’ADUA (2008) 12, NWLR (PT.1100) 95 to so hold. And pray this Honourable Tribunal for;
i) AN ORDER of this Honourable Tribunal granting him leave to bring this application before pre-hearing session and to hear and determine same accordingly.
ii) AN ORDER for substituted service of the Petition and other processes filed by him in this Petition on Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku by substituted means to wit:
By delivering the Petition, it's accompaniments and other subsequent processes filed by him in this Petition to any of the officials of members of staff of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP at it's Taraba State Office located at Barde Way, Jalingo.
And/or by serving the Petition, it's accompaniments and other subsequent process filed by him in this Petition i.e. notice put up at a conspicuous Notice Board at the Taraba State High Court Premises, Jalingo Judicial Division, Taraba State or at the gate/wall of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP State office in Jalingo.
iii. AN ORDER deeming the service of the Petition, it's accompaniments and other processes through any of the above substituted means as valid and proper service on Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku.
iv. AND FOR SUCH ORDER(S) OR FURTHER ORDER(S) as the Honourable Tribunal may deem necessary to make in the circumstances of his Petition.
The Honourable Tribunal after reading the affidavit in support of the motion ex parte and taking into cognizance the exigencies of time in the circumstances of this case, stated that the application is meritorious and they are of the opinion that reliefs sought should be granted and therefore, unanimously granted the Prayers while stating that, it was in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended). And the process would be deemed as properly served on both Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku.
It may be recalled that on March 31st, His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi filed a Petition before the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku for manipulating and rigging the March 09, 2019 gubernatorial election to their favour. But 2 weeks after the filing of the Petition, the acclaimed winners of the election (Darius and PDP) are afraid to appear before the Election Petition Tribunal to defend their victory while running helter-skelter to avoid effective service of the Petition and other Court Processes on them.
By this action, both Darius and PDP have 14 days within which to reply the Petition file against them from the date the order takes effect. Subsequent upon their reply, the Incoming Resident Governor of Taraba State and APC Gubernatorial Candidate His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi can then counter reply them on the point of law on any new issue raised by them in their reply within 5 days, after which the Election Petition Tribunal in a later date to be decided by the trial Judges shall Schedule for a Pre-hearing Session.
It is our fervent prayers that may the Almighty God crown His Excellency, Distinguished Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi victorious in all stages of this case.
-Evading To No Avail By Omar Al-Farooq