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Suit seeking Buhari, Atiku disqualification for March 26
Muhammadu Buhari (left) with Atiku Abubakar in Lagos in 2014.  PHOTOGRAPHER: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Suit seeking Buhari, Atiku disqualification for March 26

Court orders substituted service through APC, PDP

The Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday, ordered service of court process on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, through substituted means in suit seeking to disqualify their participation in the last presidential election.

The two Presidential Candidates are to be served through the legal departments of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the PDP.

In the suit seeking the cancellation of their participation in the February 23, 2019 Presidential election, the plaintiff, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji, who contested the Presidential election along with Buhari and Atiku on the platform of his 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 Vem Ofou, is praying the court to set aside the participation of Buhari and Atiku on the ground that they spent more than one billion naira each as campaign expenses.

Plaintiff claimed that by spending more than one billion naira 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, counsel to the plaintiff, Ofou told the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, that he has found it extremely difficult to serve the court papers on Buhari and Atiku, who are the major defendants in the suit because of the 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.

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