Defection: Court fixes April 8 for PDP’s suit against Zamfara Gov, Matawalle

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ABUJA–The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, slated April 8 for adoption of final written address in a suit seeking to sack the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle from office, following his defection to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which lodged the suit before the court, accused the governor of illegally transferring its votes and mandate to the APC.

It argued that Matawalle, having abandoned the party through which he ascended to power, have lost the ticket to remain in office.

The Plaintiff, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021, maintained that in view of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court, to the effect that the APC had no candidate in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State, having not conducted valid primaries, it would be unlawful for Matawalle to retain his office since he has joined the APC.

It wants the court to among others things, declare that Matawalle must resign to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct fresh governorship election within 90 days, to enable the PDP to replace him.

The Plaintiff equally prayed the court to sack all the federal lawmakers and members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly that defected to the APC with the governor.

Meanwhile, at the resumed proceedings in the matter on Thursday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, stressed that the stage was set for final adoption of written arguments, since all the parties have filed and exchanged the necessary processes.

Upon the final adoption of addresses, the court, will then fix a date for judgement.

Counsel to the PDP,  Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, confirmed to the court that he had entered all his processes and served same on Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, who represented Matawalle and 34 others.

INEC and the APC were equally cited as Defendants in the suit.

Justice Ekwo had before he adjourned the matter, warned that any counsel that failed to appear in court on the next date, would have his processes deemed adopted.

It will be recalled that though governor Matawalle decamped to the APC, his erstwhile deputy, Mahdi Aliyu-Gusau, refused to leave the PDP.

Aliyu-Gusau was subsequently impeached by the Zamfara State House of Assembly on February 24, afterwhich Senator Hassan Nasih was sworn in as his replacement.

Remarkably, Justice Ekwo had on Tuesday, delivered a judgement that sacked governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state and his deputy, Eric Igwe from their respective offices, owing to their defection from the PDP to the APC.

The court equally ordered 16 Ebonyi state lawmakers that defected to the APC with the governor and his deputy, to vacate their seats.

It directed INEC to receive a list of their replacements from PDP, or in the alternative, conduct fresh elections to fill the vacant positions. 

culled from Vanguard

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