The National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Abakaliki has granted an ex-parte order to candidates of the Labour Party, LP, Linus Okorie and Eze Emmanuel, to serve Governor David Umahi and Emmanuel Uguru a notice of petition and processes.
Okorie is a senatorial candidate of the Labour Party for the Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone while Eze Emmanuel is a candidate of the Labour Party for Abakaliki/Izzi Federal House of Representatives.
Okorie, a former House of Representatives member, is challenging the victory of Governor Umahi as the Ebonyi South Senator-elect while Eze Emmanuel is challenging the victory of Uguru Emmanuel as the House of Representative member-elect in the just concluded general elections of February 25th 2023.
The counsels to the plaintiffs, Victor Nwonu and Friday Ogazi, who appeared for Okorie and Eze respectively, alleged that the defendants, Umahi and Uguru have been avoiding being served the notice of petition and processes and that all efforts to get them served have proved abortive.
Nwonu said: “Our application today was to serve the respondents, Governor David Umahi and the All Progressives Congress, APC. You know it is difficult to access the governor because of his security aides. We also sought the leave of the court to serve INEC and APC at their Abakaliki office addresses rather than serving them at their Abuja offices. And the court granted all our applications.
“We also filed an ex-parte order to inspect the INEC electoral materials some time ago and the court granted it.”
Ogazi on his part said: “We sought the leave of the court to serve the 1st respondent, Emmanuel Uguru by other means because since we filed the petition, he has been avoiding service and all efforts to get him (Uguru) proved abortive.”
In her ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Mabel Omovie Ogheneyerowo granted that the defendants, Governor David Umahi of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, be served at the APC party secretariat located at the Akanu-Ibiam International Conference Centre Abakaliki, while the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, be served at its office located at No. 10, Town Planning Road Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State.