There was a mild drama in the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday in the suit seeking to disqualify former Governor Seriake Dickson from contesting the Bayelsa West senatorial bye-election.
The suit which was filed by Eneoriekumoh Owoupele at the Abuja division was transferred to Yenagoa.
Eneoriekumoh, who hails from Dickson’s Sagbama Local Government Area, is alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Form EC9, which Dickson, candidate of the PDP for the election, submitted to the commission, contained false information.
When the matter came up for mention, lawyers for the plaintiff, Messrs. A.O Aniso and E.A. Aluzu informed the court that they were yet to effect service on the Peoples Democratic Party and had filed a motion for substituted service on former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, the second and third defendants in the suit.
On why the service was yet to be effected in Abuja, the lawyers informed the court that they were reliably informed by the bailiff of court, Adewale Adepitan, that the court had refused to release the file to the bailiff.
The court summoned the bailiff and asked him to ascertain why he was unable to serve PDP in Abuja and the bailiff said the Registrar of the court informed him that the court had not released the file.
The lawyers said they would return on Wednesday to move ex parte application against Dickson.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Jane Inyang, asked the bailiff to go and serve the PDP in Abuja as it is the address for service.
In a related development, a group under the auspices of Concerned Citizens of Bayelsa West Senatorial District has petitioned the National Judicial Commission (NJC), to intervene expediently over the transfer of an alleged case of certificate forgery against former Governor Seriake Dickson from the Federal High Court, Abuja to Federal High Court, Yenagoa.
A suit No. FHC/YNG/CS/72/2020, with the PDP and Dickson as defendants, sought Dickson’s disqualification from contesting the forthcoming Bayelsa West Senatorial District bye-election.
The group in a press statement on Tuesday by its leaders, Mr Ogboka Selekeowei and Samson Emi Paa-ebi, after a peaceful protest at the gate of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, said the sudden transfer of the case to Yenagoa was allegedly to compromise and truncate the legal process and called on the apex judiciary regulatory body to intervene.
They alleged that the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Aniso and Aluzu, waited for over 16 days for the matter to be assigned to a substantive judge for trial, but to no avail.
They further accused Dickson and PDP of going through the back door without the consent of both parties to transfer the matter from Federal High Court Abuja to Federal High Court, Yenagoa.