PDP removes Zamfara deputy governor from suit challenging Matawale’s defection

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Friday in Abuja applied to remove the Zamfara Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mahadi Aliyu Gusau’s name from a suit it had filed at the Federal High Court seeking to remove the latter and his principal, Governor Bello Matawalle, for illegal defection from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The party had previously joined Gusau’s in the suit to remove the Zamfara State Governor for defecting to the APC with its mandate which it maintains it received by virtue of a Supreme Court ruling in 2019 which directed that its candidates be issued with certificates of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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The Supreme Court had ruled that the APC failed to conduct any credible primary to produce its candidates at the 2019 General Elections and consequently annulled their victories rom the state House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives, Senate to the Government House, a situation which saw al the PDP candidates sworn in.

However, on Friday, PDP’s lead counsel Godwin Kanu-Agabi SAN filed an application to remove deputy governor’s name removed from the ballot box, claiming that there was no evidence of his defection.

PDP also formally took over the matter as the first plaintiff in a move to that effect, claiming ownership of the contested mandate.

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo ordered the deputy governor’s name to be removed after hearing no objections from other lawyers involved in the case.

PDP was also made the plaintiff, and the judge ordered the party to revise and file all of its processes within seven days.

He then set a date for the case to be mentioned in court on September 29, 2021.

Matawalle was represented by a legal luminary, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, at the Friday sessions, while the APC was represented by Alhaji Ahmed Raji SAN.

Tanimu Inuwa, a Nigerian Senior Advocate, represented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party requested the Federal High Court, which was being used as a battleground, to remove the Governor for his illegal defection from the PDP to the APC.

The request is part of the reliefs sought in a complaint filed in the names of two PDP members from Zamfara State, Alhaji Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed, with the filing number FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021.

The plaintiffs argue that it would be illegal for Matawalle to retain his office while defecting from the PDP to the APC, thereby transferring the PDP’s victory to the APC, in light of an earlier Supreme Court ruling that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 governorship election in the state because it had not conducted valid primaries.

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo granted an order of substituted service of the originating processes on the Governor through the APC national secretariat on Monday, when the legal battle was kicked off by an ex-parte application filed by Kanu-Agabi (SAN).

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