By Henry Okonkwo
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed July 16 to hear a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party challenging the defection of Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara to the All Progressives Congress.
The PDP contends that it would be unlawful for Matawalle and his deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, to retain their offices after defecting to the APC.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Monday after listening to the ex-parte motion of the plaintiffs’ counsel, Kanu Agabi, praying the court for an order to serve the first and second defendants by substituted means through pasting the originating process at the Zamfara State Liaison Office in Abuja.
Justice Ekwo granted the prayer and adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit until July 16.
Two members of the PDP from the state – Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed – had, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021, asked the court to sack the governor and his deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, over their defection which they claimed had made them ineligible to continue to hold the positions.
Matawalle, Mr Gusau, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission are first to fourth defendants respectively, while the PDP is listed as a party to be joined in the suit.
The plaintiffs are contending that, because of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court to the effect that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara, 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.