The Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal yesterday granted an order allowing the All Progressives Congress (APC) to serve the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, its petition through substituted means.
The three-man panel chaired by Justice Muhammad Sirajo granted the order after two separate exparte applications were consolidated by the APC’s counsel, Kabir Akingbolu.
APC in its petition before the tribunal is challenging the victory of Fayose in the June 21 governorship election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Fayose winner of the election ahead of the incumbent governor and candidate of the APC, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
In the application brought pursuant to Paragraph 8(2) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 and under the inherent power of the court, the applicant complained that efforts to serve Fayose by the court’s bailiff had been futile.
The tribunal also granted an order for the INEC to allow the APC unfettered access to inspect electoral materials used in the June 21 governorship election.
The exparte motion brought pursuant to Section 151 (1&2) and paragraph47(1&2) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Christian Okoh, a lawyer.
Ruling on the applications after they were consolidated, Justice Sirajo said, “Leave is hereby granted the applicant to move the application outside and prior to per-hearing session.
“Prayer 2,3 and 4 are consequently granted subject to the payment by the petitioner to the Chief National Electoral Commissioner the requisite fee for the certification of documents aforementioned.
“With respect to the second motion no: EKS/Gov/M3/14, the application for substituted service of the petition on the second respondent (Fayose) is also granted in view of the failure of personal service.”
Akingbolu explained to journalists after the sitting that the ruling of the tribunal had empowered the petitioner to serve Fayose a copy of the petition through courier to his home country in Afao-Ekiti or by pasting a copy on the wall of the PDP secretariat in Ado-Ekiti.
“The court has granted us an order to use an expert in handwriting, biometric data, and scientific analysts that can examine the ballot papers to prove whether the allegation we made is true or not, which we believe will be successfully proved,” he said.