Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Tuesday adjourned hearing in a suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari and the first runner up in the just concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, over their alleged violation of the Electoral Act till March 26.
Justice Mohammed in adjourning the suit however ordered service of court processes on President Buhari and Atiku through substituted service.
The two Presidential Candidates in the February 23 presidential election are to be served through the legal departments of their parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively.
The plaintiff, Usman Ibrahim, who contested the Presidential election along with Buhari and Atiku through his own party, National Rescue Movement, is praying the Federal High Court to invoke Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in the poll for allegedly violating the electoral laws.
Specifically, the plaintiff through his counsel, Ezekiel Ofou is praying the court to set aside the participation of Buhari and Atiku on the grounds that they spent more than one billion naira each as campaign expenses.
Plaintiff claimed that by spending more than N1bn each, Buhari and Atiku have violated the electoral law and are liable to be removed as contestants in the election.
When the matter came up Tuesday, counsel to the plaintiff, Ofou told the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed that he had found it extremely difficult to serve the court papers on Buhari and Atiku, who are the major defendants in the suit because of the retinue of security around them.
The counsel then moved an ex parte motion in which he prayed Justice Mohammed for an order of substituted service on the two major defendants.
He predicated the ex parte motion on Order 6 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court practice direction for permission to allow him serve Buhari and Atiku through the legal departments of their respective parties.
In a short ruling, Justice Mohammed granted the ex parte motion and ordered that Buhari and Atiku be served with court processes through their respective political parties and adjourned the matter to March 26, 2019 for mention.