The legal team of the Social Democratic Party governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, in the petition filed against the election of All Progressives Congress, Biodun Oyebanji, on Saturday accused the APC of dodging service in disrespect of court order.
The legal team had a fortnight ago complained that Oyebanji and other defendants in the petition were evading service following which the team sought an order of the tribunal for substituted service through the APC office in Abuja, which the three-member tribunal granted on Tuesday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Oyebanji of the APC winner of the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State and returned him governor-elect following which Oni approached the tribunal with a petition saying he (Oni) won the highest number of valid votes and should be declared winner.
Former Ekiti State Attorney General and a member of the legal team, Owoseni Ajayi, expressed dismay that the APC officials who ought to receive the service in Abuja were dodging it.
Ajayi, who said disrespect to court order had dire consequences, warned that the Ekiti governor-elect, Oyebanji, would be deemed not willing to defend the petition and lose out if he continued to dodge court service within the time stipulated by law.
He said, “If the APC is a respecter of the rule of law, they ought to come out and allow us to serve them with the necessary papers. We had to go back to the Tribunal to get an order of substituted service, so that they can be served through the APC National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore.”
Reacting, the Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji Campaign Organisation, Wole Olujobi, who dismissed the allegations by Oni’s legal team as lame excuse, said, “All these allegations about evading service do not exist”.
Olujobi added, “Oni is not the only person who has case against us. There is another case, how did we get service for the case and we did not get his own?”
He dismissed allegations of contempt and that officers at APC National Secretariat were dodging service, saying, “Are you sure their representatives were in Abuja at all? How can you say somebody went to the APC National Secretariat and could not see a single official? Is it possible?”