The last may not have been heard over the controversy surrounding the zoning crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa, on Tuesday, granted a fresh order of substituted service on the party in a suit YHC/107/2022 filed by a member of the party, David Taylor Fyne.
The presiding judge, Justice Matilda Ayemieye, issued the order after considering the amended fresh reliefs sought by the claimant in an ex parte application which was filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Samuel Agbura.
She directed that the service be pasted on the premises of the defendant (PDP’s) secretariat in Ekeki, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, and the Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the party in Abuja.
She said, “It is not out of place to grant the reliefs sought by the claimant.”
The judge, however, adjourned the matter to December 5, 2022, for a report of service.
Fyne had dragged the PDP before the court contending that the party violated its constitutional provisions on zoning by allowing some persons to contest for the party’s presidential ticket at its national convention held in May in Abuja for the 2023 general election.
Specifically, he is claiming that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by the party’s constitutional provisions on zoning, ought not to participate in the primaries of the party.
He is aggrieved that the party jettisoned its constitution and negated the zoning arrangement without recourse to the processes of amendment outlined in the document.
Fyne, therefore, is praying the court to nullify the participation of such persons, including Abubakar, who, he argued, were not supposed to participate in the PDP primary election for next year’s polls.
He is also requesting the court to cancel the totality of the votes scored by such persons, including the PDP presidential candidate, and that only those whose participation was valid under the constitution should be recognised as participants in the convention.
The claimant is further asking the court to nullify Abubakar’s participation as well as the votes he scored while the second runner-up, Nyesom Wike, should be declared as the candidate of the PDP.
Lawyer to the claimant, Samuel Agbura, said in an interview with our correspondent that the PDP had placed something on nothing by its action.
He said, “You cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand. The PDP placed something on nothing. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, under the party’s constitution, ought not to have participated in the primaries at all, ab initio. They have shot themselves in the foot. So we are telling the court to do the right thing.
“The court had initially made an order that the processes in the suit be served on the defendants then. There were 20 defendants; all the presidential aspirants were listed but were nominal parties in that the action can proceed without them.
“So the court at the time made an order that the processes be served on all the defendants by featuring same on a national newspaper. But my client could not afford that. So my client had to approach the court again by virtue of an amendment and urged the court to strike out the names of all other persons.
“Now the PDP is being sued in a representative capacity for itself and as touching all members of the party. So it was on the basis of that ground that the court now granted a fresh order for service, which is that the processes should be served by pasting same in Bayelsa State (PDP secretariat) as well as at the Wadata Plaza (PDP national secretariat) in Abuja.
“We are happy that after about six months, we have crossed this hurdle of service and we hope that in no time we will effect the service, and we will be set for the business the courts are created for.”