By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which began sitting in Minna on Tuesday, has directed that the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, should be served with the court process through substituted means.
The directive of the tribunal followed complaints by the petitioner and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the March 9 governorship election, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko, that it had been difficult serving the first respondent the necessary papers since the petition was filed over three weeks ago.
The counsel to the petitioner and deputy governorship candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Kudu Ndayako, in an experte motion told the three-man tribunal to direct substituted service on the first defendant.
“The bailiff has found it difficult to personally serve the governor all the court processes,” Ndayako declared.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haliru Yussuf, in a short ruling, granted the request of the petitioner and adjourned the commencement of sitting to May 6, 2019.
Other members of the three-man tribunal are Justice Kufre and Justice Ishyaku.
The PDP had dragged the governor-elect, his deputy and the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the tribunal alleging gross anomalies in the conduct of the March 9 governorship election which were enough to warrant the cancellation of the results of the election.
The PDP also in its petition alleged that both the governor and his deputy reportedly presented forged academic and birth certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Another petition before the tribunal is by the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) in which it claimed its logo was omitted from the ballot thereby denying its governorship candidate votes during the election.
The PDM therefore asked the tribunal to order the cancellation of the March 9 governorship election and order a fresh poll which would include its logo on the ballot.