A federal high court in Lagos has fixed May 3 to hear a suit by Adewale Hameed, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the purported tenure elongation of the national working committee (NWC) of the party led by John Odigie-Oyegun.
Listed as defendants are Odigie-Oyegun, Segun Oni, deputy national chairman (south) and Lawal Shaibu, deputy national chairman (north).
Others are Ibrahim Gubi, national secretary, Pius Akinyelure, vice-chairman (south-west) as the fourth and fifth defendants.
APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are joined as sixth and seventh defendants respectively.
When the case was called on Friday, Muniz Banire (SAN), counsel to the APC, told the court that the sixth defendant (APC) had filed an application to set aside the service of the originating processes on them.
Banire said the order for substituted service on the sixth defendant was obtained fraudulently as the address stated on the order was wrong.
He said the address of the APC secretariat is 40, Blantyre street, and not 16, Blantyre Avenue that was stated in the order.
Banire said they had also filed a further affidavit to prove same and attached correspondence from INEC showing their correct address.
The applicant’s counsel, Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), sought the leave of court to withdraw the motion ex-parte for substituted service on the fifth defendant (Akinyelure) that he had been served personally.
He also told the court that the applicant had filed a counter-affidavit to the sixth defendant’s (APC) motion to set aside the order.
According to him, the sixth defendant should be stopped from denying the address as the website was clearly APC website and an exhibit had been attached to prove same.
Fashanu said moreover, the bailiff of the court had sworn to an affidavit of proof of service on oath that it was at the APC secretariat he served the processes.
In a short ruling, Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, held that it was essential for proper service to be effected on the defendants.
“The website may be fake but I find no evidence of fraud, I see no reason to set aside the service, so we do not waste time; another set of processes should be served at No. 40, Blantyre Street,” she held.
Consequently, she adjourned the suit until May 3 for hearing of the originating motion.
A joint meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) and NWC of the party in Abuja, the tenure of the officials was extended by one year with effect from June 30.
The applicant had on March 9 filed an originating summons, seeking the determination of the court whether the extension of the NEC and NWC elected or appointed members was constitutional.
He wants the court to determine if the defendants had the constitutional right under section 223 of the 1999 constitution and Articles 13 and 17 of the APC constitution to extend the tenure of its NEC and NWC members.
At the last adjournment, the applicant’s counsel, Fashanu (SAN), had moved a motion ex-parte urging the court to grant four orders pending the hearing of the substantive suit.
An order granting leave to the plaintiff to sue the first to fifth defendants on behalf of all officers of the NEC and the NWC of the APC.
An order granting leave to serve the first to fourth and the sixth defendants the originating summons by leaving it with the front desk officer of the sixth defendant.
Olatoregun had granted the first two prayers but requested the applicant to put the other defendants on notice for the last two orders.