An Abuja court will today deliver judgment in the controversy surrounding the exclusion of the name of Mr Umaru Angibi, Labour Party (LP)’s candidate and his party’s logo from the ballot papers for the 2019 Nasarawa governorship poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who adjourned the case till Sept. 6, said the case would be dispensed with on the day because of the timeline of hearing matters of election.
Justice Maha had summoned the INEC and LP, on Monday, in an exparte motion with suit number: FHC/LF/CS/9/19 filed by Counsel to Angibi, Joshua Barau,to appear in court Thursday over the allegation levied against them.
The judge, who directed the applicant to serve the defendants through substituted means within 24 hours of the order, also ordered the defendants to respond within 48 hours of the service before she adjourned till Sept 5 for further hearing.
Barau, who is the counsel to Angibi, had approached the court in accordance with Order 26, Rule 8 and Order 6, Rule 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019! Order V, Rule 9 of the Federal High Court Act and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court.
The applicant had sought for an order for leave to issue and serve the originating summons and other court processes in the suit on Labour Party by pasting the notice on the entrance gate of the party at No. 29, Oke Agbe Street, Off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garlic II, Abuja.
He also sought an order of substituted service of all the processes in the suit on Labor Party by serving same at its national headquarters at the same address as above.
Barau had told Justice Maha that INEC and Labour Party failed to comply with the Electoral Act during the 2019 governorship election in Nasarawa state.
He said although INEC had always received the court processes, it had never showed up for hearing and urged the court to grant their prayers, citing relevant sections of the law and previous case to back his argument.
In an affidavit deposed to by Umaru Angibi in support of the exparte motion, the aggrieved candidate said he was the governorship candidate of Labour Party for the 2019 poll.
Angibi urged the court to grant his application in the interest of justice and that “the defendant/respondent will not be prejudiced by the grant of same.”
When the case came up Thursday, Barau told Justice Maha that he had a motion on notice filed on August 23 which ‘is seeking amendment to our originating process by bringing additional prayers.’
He urged the judge to grant their prayers by providing alternative prayers to their originating summon.
On their part, counsels to INEC and the Labour Party told Justice Maha that they had been served with the motion and were not opposing it.
But INEC Counsel, I.S. Mohammed, told the court that he got to know about the case the previous day and would need time to respond.
Also, counsel to Labour Party, Kehinde Edun, told Justice Maha that he had filed a counter-affidavit and a written address Thursday (today) to back their argument.
Justice Maha told Edun that though he filed his processes Thursday, they were not in the record file of the court.
The judge, therefore, told all parties that the judgment would be delivered on the next adjourned date because of the timeline to decide on election matters and the time constraint of the vacation court.