Nigeria’s main opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has urged a Federal High Court in the FCT to unseat the incumbent governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle and his deputy, Mahadi Aliyu Gusau, for defecting from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party made the request among the reliefs it sought in a suit filed in the names of two members of the party from Zamfara State, Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed.
The suit which was filed on June 17, 2021, before Matawalle defected, has Matawalle, Gusau, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the defendants.
The plaintiffs averred 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, having 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 transfer PDP’s victory to the APC.
They urged the court to, among others, declare that Matawalle and Gusau must resign from their offices to allow the INEC to conduct a fresh election within three months for the PDP to replace them.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), moved an ex parte motion for an order “granting leave to the plaintiffs/applicants to serve the motion on notice seeking leave to amend hearing notices and all other processes on the first and second defendants by substituted means, to wit: pasting same at the Zamfara State liaison office at 6/7 Sangha Street, off Mississippi Street, Maitama District, Abuja, or leaving it with any adult person in that office”.
In a ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the prayer contained in the motion; ordered the plaintiffs to effect service within three days and adjourned till July 16.
The PDP, as a political party, has also applied to be joined in the suit but its application to that effect has not been heard.
In a supporting affidavit, Ahmed said he suffered along with other PDP members in Zamfara State and that Matawalle’s and Gusau’s defection deprive them of the efforts they put into ensuring the party’s victory in the election.
He added that it would amount to injustice against him and other members of the PDP in the state if Matawalle and Gusau, being beneficiaries of the Supreme Court judgment, were allowed to defect to the APC without relinquishing their current offices.