By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Court of Appeal has granted the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23, presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, permission to serve President Muhammadu Buhari his petition through substituted means.
Atiku and his party, PDP, had through their counsel, Chris Uche, (SAN) approached the appellate court with an ex parte motion yesterday, praying for an order to serve Buhari through substituted means.
The petitioner informed that Buhari has not been formally served with the petition as required by law.
Moving the ex parte motion, the senior lawyer submitted that personal service on the president had become practically impossible.
The application for substituted means, which was premised on seven grounds, is also supported with a 17 paragraph affidavit as well as a further affidavit of five paragraphs.
Delivering the ruling, the three-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki ruled that it was in the interest of justice to grant the ex parte application.
“After carefully reading the affidavit and the grounds upon which the ex parte application is predicated, the court is convinced that it is in the interest of justice that the request of the two petitioners be granted.
” Consequently the court orders that Buhari, being the second respondent in the petition, be served with the petition through any of the senior officials of the All Progressives Congress at its Abuja national Secretariat.”
The appellate court held that the petition and other processes are to be served on the president through No. 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse II Abuja, being the national Secretariat of the APC.
It will be recalled that the former Vice President, is challenging the outcome of the 2018, February 23, presidential election that declared Buhari as president elect.
He filed a petition on March 18 before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the presidential election.
He asked the tribunal to declare him as the winner of the presidential election having scored majority of the lawful votes cast.
In the petition before the tribunal, Atiku contended that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who he said got a total of 16,741,430 votes.
To substantiate his claims, the Presidential hopeful, said he would tender oral and documentary evidence to show that results of the election as announced by INEC, illegally allocated votes to President Muhammadu Buhari, in the last Presidential election.
Meantime, no date has been fixed for hearing of the petition.