ABIA ELECTION TRIBUNAL: Drama as Alex Otti’s Attorney, Chief Umeh Kalu Tried to Mislead The Court | #NwokeukwuMascot
As Court adjourned to Wednesday, 21st, June, 2023 for pre-hearing.
There was a melodrama in court yesterday, 13th, June, 2023, following the Counsel to 2nd Respondent, Chief Umeh Kalu's attempt to ambush the Petitioners by deceiving the court that he effected proper service on the Petitioners.
Chief Ume Kalu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who was neither Counsel to INEC, nor baillif of the court claimed he undertook to serve INEC's reply on the Petitioners at their No.76 St. Michaels Rd, Aba, office.
But to the chagrin of the Petitioners, the said Chief Ume Kalu in his unsolicited mission as court bailiff, presented to the Tribunal, an acknowledgement of receipt and prove of service, purported to have been endorsed by a fictional name Chika Gabriel Nwafor, a strange litigation officer; who is neither known to the Petitioners nor work in the said office.
The drama started when Counsel to INEC, the 1st Respondent, expressed surprise that their reply to the Petitioners petition has not been served on the Petitioners, even as they had filed their reply since the 6th, day of June, 2023.
In what seemed like they had successfully cornered the Petitioners, Counsels to the 2nd and 3rd Respondents quickly accused the Petitioners of lack of diligence. Which would invariably mean discharging the petition for replying out of time.
Consequently, Counsel to the Petitioners put up a convincing defence insisting that the name Chika Gabriel Nwafor never existed and that the name is not only fictitious, strange but does not work in the office.
Despite stating the obvious during the heated debate that ensued, Counsels to both the 2nd and 3rd Respondents insisted that the questionable service be formalized; even after the Petitioners Counsel had also, clearly explained that endorsement of service cannot be taken to be an affidavit.
Conversely, the Court in its wisdom ruled that Petitioners be properly served with INEC Reply. Following this development, the Court was adjourned to Wednesday, 21st, June, 2023 for pre-hearing.
Ukpai Ukairo Esq, C. O. Nwaogu Esq, Emeka Eze Esq, Maurice Eleri Esq, C. C. Nwogu Esq for Petitioners.
J. I. Nnodum SAN & team for 1st Respondent.
Prof. J. O. Olatoke SAN & team for 2nd Respondent.
Anayo Nwaokodo & team for 3rd Respondent.