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Tribunal grants substituted service on Ayade over gubernatorial election


[FILE] Cross River State governor Professor Ben Ayade

• Kebbi court rejects APC ballot papers as evidence
• Imo AA will justify claims at tribunal, says chairman

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar yesterday granted separate orders for substituted service on Governor Ben Ayade, who won the Cross River State gubernatorial election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Senator John Owan-Enoh and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, took Ayade to the tribunal challenging his emergence at the poll.

Counsel to Owan-Enoh, M.O. Inyang, holding brief for Awa Kalu, in a motion ex-parte application for hearing, sought an order seeking substituted service on Ayade. Inyang said there were four grounds for the application, but the paramount one was the fact that the bailiff had made fruitless efforts to serve Ayade personally.

In the second matter filed by Usani, his lawyer, Henrie Ituen, also in a motion ex-parte dated April 9, 2019, sought an order to serve Ayade by pasting it at the governor’s office in Diamond Hill.Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Josiah Majebi, while granting the two applications, said the notice of service should be pasted on the wall of the PDP state secretariat along Murtala Muhammed Highway and on the wall of the governor’s office.

In another development, the Federal High Court sitting in Birnin-Kebbi has rejected the ballot papers presented by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as part of its evidence in the ongoing disputed Dandi/Arewa Kebbi State Federal Constituency primary election of the party.

The plaintiff, Umar Abdullahi Kamba, who claimed to have won the APC primary, is challenging House of Representatives member, Hussaini S. Kangiwa, who is the second defendant, APC and INEC, which are first and third defendants, over substitution of his name for the election.

At the resumption of the case, APC’s witness, Ahmed Temitope, a Senior Organising Officer at the APC headquarters office in Abuja, had presented ballot papers in which Kangiwa had majority votes.But while ruling on the acceptability of the ballot papers yesterday, Justice Sunday Onu Bassey ruled: “I hereby reject the ballot papers and thereby marked it as rejected.”

Meanwhile, the National Chairman, Action Alliance (AA), Ken Udeze, has said that the leave granted to the party by the tribunal to inspect materials used in the conduct of the election in Imo State will aid the party to justify its claims in its petition.

Udeze told The Guardian yesterday in a telephone chat that the party had assembled a team of legal practitioners to assist in getting justice for the party. According to him, the party expects that the INEC will comply with the directives of the tribunal and allow his party get the needed documents to back up its petition.

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Ben Ayade
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