Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa’s petition challenging the Feb. 25 senatorial election in which he was defeated by Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu for Abia North senatorial district has suffered a setback at the resumed hearing on Thursday.
This was due to incomplete document served on the respondent by Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa. There was a discrepancy between the document served on the court and the respondent, and the one which his counsel had.
The Abia State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, set aside the service on all the Respondents of the Petition (EPT/SEN/1/2023) filed by Mao Ohuabunwa.
The Tribunal during the hearing of a Motion to strike out the Petition as incompetent, found out as a fact that page 57A was missing in the copies of the Petition that was served on all the Respondents.
Strangely, 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 serious suspicions that the said page 57A was fraudulently smuggled into the Petition after the same had been served on the Respondents, as the said page 57A 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, the Counsel for the 3rd Respondent, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), the Counsel for the 2nd Respondent, S.E. Elema (SAN) and the 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 agreed with the said Senior Advocates of Nigeria and accordingly set aside the service of the Petition on the Respondents.
The case was therefore not adjourned to 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 has occasioned a great setback on the Petition filed by Mao Ohuabunwa as he may no longer be able to complete the hearing of his Petition within the 180 (one hundred and eighty days) that the Tribunal has to complete the hearing and give judgment in the case.