Tribunal orders substituted service on Imo senatorial re-run winner

Benjamin Uwajumogu

Benjamin Uwajumogu

The National and State House of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Imo State presided over by Justice Geraldine Ono Imadegbelo and co-Justice Saka Oyejide Falola yesterday granted an ex-parte order directing substituted service to the winner of Imo North (Okigwe) senatorial re-run elections, Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu.

In a petition titled “Ex-parte for an order of substituted service etc.” between Achonu Athanasius Nneji, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Uwajumogu and another respondent, filed by Achonu’s counsel, Ken Njemanze (SAN), he prayed the tribunal to issue an ex-parte order for the substituted service on the respondents.

The tribunal also approved the prayer of the applicant for an inspection of the INEC documents by a forensic examination of experts.

By the ruling, the court bailiff is expected to paste the service order on the door areas of the respondents, publish on newspapers or any other means authorised by the law, compelling the respondents to appear before the tribunal.

Ken Ikonne, who led other counsel for Achonu, had cited sections 151, 254, 69 and 70, of the Electoral Act, as amended, empowering the tribunal to issue such orders.

Imadegbelo concurred with the reliefs and issued the orders.

Speaking after the court session, Ikonne told journalists that they were going to ensure that the bailiff carries the order of the tribunal this week to enable the proceedings to continue.

He said: “We are going to make arrangements to effect service order. Service is fundamental. Without it any other thing is incompetent. We are guided by the rules. The proceedings cannot commence unless you serve. That is the reason why we had to come back in accordance with the order of the Federal High Court rule which covers civil procedure rule.”

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