2023: Court orders substituted service of documents on PRP presidential candidate, Kola Abiola

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The Abuja division of the Federal High Court (FHC), has ordered Kola Abiola, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) to be served with documents filed in a suit seeking his nullification at the party’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order after Wilson Ivara, the lead counsel for the plaintiff, moved an ex-parte motion seeking a substituted service of court processes on Abiola which was not opposed by Juliet Anyata, lawyer to PRP.
Madam Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential aspirant in the June 5 primaries conducted by the party, had prayed the court to nullify the poll that produced Abiola as the PRP’s presidential candidate.
Key, in an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022, also prayed for an order setting aside the declaration of Abiola as the winner of the primaries conducted across the country.
Mr Kola is the son of late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
The plaintiff had sued the party, Mr Latifu Kolawole Abiola and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
When the matter came up for mention, Ivara informed that he had a motion ex-parte seeking leave of the court to serve the originating summons, notice of amendment and other processes on the 2nd defendant (Abiola) by substituted service, through pasting them at the PRP National Headquarters located at No. 8, Ogabi Street, Garki 2, Abuja.
He also sought an order deeming the service of all the court papers by substituted means on Abiola as valid and proper service.
He said the motion was dated and filed on Sept 2.
After it was not opposed by Anyata, Justice Mohammed granted the application as prayed.
“We shall be asking for a date to enable us serve all the parties in the matter,” Ivara said
But Anyata told the court that she also has a motion on notice seeking to regularise their application.
“I have been able to serve the plaintiff and INEC,” she said.
She described the motion as an harmless application.
The motion sought an order extending the time within which PRP was to file its Memorandum of Conditional Appearance in line with FHC Practice Direction same  being out of time.
The judge, however, asked her if Abiola (the 2nd defendant) had been served and she responded in the negative.
Justice Mohammed, who said all parties in a suit must be served with any motion before “it can be moved except if it is a motion ex-parte,” refused to grant the lawyer’s request.
He adjourned the matter until Oct 11 for further mention and directed that hearing notices be issued to 2nd and 3rd defendants .
Neither Abiola nor INEC was represented in court.

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