The Abia State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, yesterday, set aside the service on all the respondents of the petition filed by Mao Ohuabunwa. During the hearing of a motion to strike out the petition as incompetent, the tribunal found out as a fact that page 57A was missing in the copies of the petition that was served on all the respondents. Meanwhile, the said page 57A was only found in the copy of the petition that the petitioner’s counsel had and that of the tribunal, therefore giving rise to the suspicion that the said page was fraudulently smuggled into the petition after the same had been served on the respondents.
This is because the said page was the only page in the petition that was numbered with an alphabet. As the respondents were expected to be served with the certified true copies of the petition, counsel for the 3rd respondent, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), counsel for the 2nd respondent, S.E. Elema (SAN) and counsel for the 1st respondent, Tunde Afe Babalola (SAN) with Uche S. Awa (SAN), jointly applied to the tribunal to set aside the service on the respondents of the incomplete petition.
The tribunal however agreed with the respondents’ counsel and accordingly set aside the service of the petition on the respondents. The case was therefore not adjourned till any date as the case will only commence again when all the respondents are served afresh with the correct and certified true copies of the petition. This will however cause a great setback on the petition filed by Ohuabunwa as he may no longer be able to complete the hearing of his petition within the 180 days that the tribunal has to complete the hearing and give judgment in the case.