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Court adjourns Zamfara governor Matawalle’s defection suit

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday adjourns till September 29 to hear a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to remove Zamfara State governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle and his deputy, Alhaji Mahadi Aliyu Gusau from office over alleged unlawful defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021 filed in the names of two PDP members from Zamfara State, Alhaji Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed is contending 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, has not conducted valid primaries, it would be unlawful for Matawalle and Gusau to retain their offices while defecting from the PDP to the APC, and thereby transferring PDP’s victory to the APC.

When the matter came up yesterday, lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Kanu Agabi (SAN) sought the leave of court to withdraw the deputy governor’s name from the suit, on the ground that there was no evidence that he had defected from the party.

Also at the proceedings on Friday, the PDP, via a motion, applied to formally take over the case as the 1st plaintiff on the ground that the mandate being contested belonged to it.

The trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo who granted the Plaintiffs’ request, as there was no objection from other counsel in the matter also ordered the removal of the deputy governor’s name from the suit.

The Judge also ordered that PDP be made the plaintiff and directed the party to amend and file all its processes within seven days and adjourned the matter till September 29, 2021, for mention.

In the suit, the plaintiffs want the Governor sacked over his unlawful defection from the PDP to the All APC and to, among other reliefs, declare that Matawalle must resign from his office before his defection to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct fresh election, within three months, for the PDP to replace them.

The trial Judge had, on Monday granted an order of substituted service of the originating processes on the defendants, through the National Secretariat of the APC in Abuja and thereafter, slated July 16, 2021, for a report of court papers on the two defendants.

The governor and his deputy had two weeks ago, defected from PDP to APC which prompted the move by PDP to claim its mandates from them through legal action.

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