Court adjourns Zamfara governor Matawalle’s defection suit


The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, adjourned the suit seeking to remove Zamfara State’s governor, Bello Matawalle, over his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The suit was filed by two PDP members from the state – Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed – who are aggrieved that the governor took the electoral victory he earned on the platform of the party to the rival APC.

The plaintiffs had filed the suit on June 17 almost two weeks before the governor eventually cross-carpeted.

Mr Matawalle’s defection plan had been in the wind long before he officially dumped his former party for the APC on June 29.

At the resumption of proceedings on Friday, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kanu Agabi, withdrew two interlocutory applications seeking to stop the governor and his deputy from defecting from the party.

The applications had not been heard by the court before Mr Matawalle defected.

Mr Matawalle’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, Matawalle, did not oppose Mr Agabi’s request to withdraw the application on Friday.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo, then struck out the application and adjourned the case till September 29, for mention.

Background

PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Matawalle’s deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, refused to join his boss in cross carpeting to the APC.

Both Messrs Matawalle and Gusau were sued as co-defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/489/202 instituted by the PDP members.

The APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are the two other defendants.

The plaintiffs argued in their suit that the governor and his deputy are ineligible to continue to hold the positions on account of defection.

They contend that, in view of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court, to the effect that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State for not conducting valid primaries, it would be unlawful for Mr Matawalle and his deputy to retain their offices while defecting from the PDP to the APC, thereby transferring PDP’s victory to the APC.

They want the court to, among others, declare that Messrs Matawalle and Gusua must resign from their offices before their defection to INEC to conduct fresh election, within three months, for the PDP to replace them.

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