The Lagos Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has ordered substituted service on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be subpoena to appear in court to testify in the hearing of the petitions filed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and its governorship candidate, Chief Owolabi Salis, together with his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Ifagbemi Awamaridi.
The three-man panel, chaired by Justice Terhemen Asua, who granted the petitioners’ motion ex-parte to serve INEC by way of pasting on its wall and for the resident electoral commissioner, declined to subpoena Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stating that he was covered by immunity clause in the constitution.
The AD and LP alleged that Sanwo-Olu, INEC, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State and the Returning Officer for the state were evading service to frustrate the hearing of their petition.
At the proceedings yesterday, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Bola Aidi, who informed the court that their witnesses were being threatened, sought order of the court for their protection.
Aidi said that their motion ex-parte, supported by nine paragraph affidavits, averred that there were several attempts to serve some of the witnesses but to no avail.
He, therefore, prayed the tribunal to consider the time-frame in which the petitioners are to call their evidence in the petition, noting that it is imperative to serve some of these persons by way of substituted service.
The tribunal said: “Upon perusing the motion ex-parte, we are satisfied that the good cause has been shown by the petitioner. The prayer to serve the subpoena duces tecum/testificandum shall be served as prayed on the other respondents. But as far as the first respondent (Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu) is concerned, he is covered by the immunity clause as a sitting governor and cannot be compelled to appear in the court.”
In a related vein, the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna has dismissed the petition filed Senator Shehu Sani challenging the victory of the elected Kaduna Central District Senator, Uba Sani, for lack of merit.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. H. Suleiman, therefore, struck out the petition for lack of merit.