*Governors escaped service all through the litigation
The Governors of Kwara, Rivers, Adamawa, Sokoto and Kano States on tuesday at the Federal Hdigh court in Abuja narrowly escape sack in the legal suit instituted by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to declare their governorship seats vacant on account of defection to opposition party.
The legal action instituted six months ago by PDP to challenge the legality of the defection by the governors to the All Progressive Congress (APC) was shot down by the count on the ground of failure of PDP to properly serve the originating summon and other court processes on the defendants.
The governors are AbdulFatah Ahmed, Kwara, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi Rivers, Muritala Nyako Adamawa, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako Sokoto and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano.
Ruling in the disputed mode of service of court summon on the governors adopted by PDP, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that PDP failed to follow the procedures allowed by law in reaching the defendants since December 10 when the court action was instituted.
The court agreed with lawyers to the governors that they have not been served with court papers and as such the court cannot assume jurisdiction until the plaintiff (PDP) has done the needful and put its house in order on the effective service of court summon.
The purported service of court process allegedly effected at No. 40 Blantyre street, being the new office of the APC was declared illegal, invalid, defective and was dismissed by the court for not having the court endorsement.
Justice Kolawole held that the issue of service of originating summon by the plaintiff on the defendant was fundamental before any court can take further action against any defendant adding that in the instant case, the service done by PDP was not in conformity with the procedure of the court.
The Judge adjourned the case sine-die (indefinitely) pending the time the plaintiff will comply with the law in the service of the originating summon on the fire governors.
Justice Kolawole asked PDP to formally write the court and attach the evidence of proper service of court processes on the defendants before any action could be taken against the governors.
The PDP had claimed the in line with the court order obtained on December 13, 2013, the originating summon was taken to No. 6 Bissau Street, Wuse II but discovered that the APC had vacated the office and relocated to No. 40, Blantyre street, Abuja as the new office.
PDP claimed that the originating summon and other court papers were subsequently taken to the new office for onward delivery by the APC to the governors.
But Justice Kolawale agreed with the governors that the service at 40 Blantyre Street was invalid, ineffective and faulty because the order of the court for service did not embody the address.
The Judge said that what the plaintiff (PDP) ought to have done was to come back to the court to legally vary the order of service before it can be effective on 40, Blantyre Street, being the new APC National Secretariat.
PDP while instituting the case purportedly served the court process on No. 6, Bissau Street Wuse, Abuja the former office of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria which could not be received by the governors.
In a desperate move, the party moved the court summons to No. 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse, Abuja believed to be the National Secretariat of APC but which could not be delivered to the defendants.
Apparently in reaction to the newspaper publications on the legal action, counsel to the governors stormed the court under protest to challenge the purported service of court papers on the governors.
They claimed in their different reactions that the appropriate places to serve them with court summons are their office in their respective state capitals.
The governors insisted that no legal action has been instituted against them until they have been properly served with court summons and other processes.
But PDP stood its ground that the governors were just evading papers that have delivered at the APC national secretariat being their new political party.
Justice Kolawole said that PDP would have done well if the service of the originating summons had been effected on the Attorney General of the affected states since such service can hardly be faulted in law.
He therefore ordered PDP represented by Dr. Alex Izion SAN to do the needful before the case can be resuscitated by the court for adjudication.