Politics

PDP asks court to sack Zamfara governor, lawmakers

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has applied for a court order to join the three Zamfara senators in the National Assembly and 27 other lawmakers who defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a suit against Zamfara state Governor Bello Matawalle.

The joinder application (marked FHC/ABJ/CS/650/2021) dated and filed September 30 on behalf of the Party by its counsel, O.J. Onoja (SAN), asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo to sack Matawalle, the three senators, six House of Representatives members and all the lawmakers in the State’s House of Assembly who defected from the party to the APC.

The PDP had earlier sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor of Zamfara and Chief Judge of Zamfara as 1st to 7th defendants respectively.

THEWILL reports that Matawalle alongside the three senators, six House of Representatives members and all the 24 members of the Zamfara House of Assembly had, on June 29, defected to the APC.

While the governor defected to APC, the deputy governor, Mahdi Gusau, has remained in the PDP.

In light of this development, the PDP sought the court order, joining Matawalle as the 8th defendant since only his office was sued in the earlier application.

The party, which urged the court to join his deputy, Gusau, as 2nd plaintiff to the suit, also prayed the court to join the senators, the House members and the 24 lawmakers in the state as 7th to 38th defendants.

The PDP, in an originating summons dated and filed on July 8, had sought the court interpretation of Sections 1(2), 188, 287, 221, 177(c), 106(d) and 65(2)(b), among other provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended for a determination of four principal questions as set out in the application.

It asked the court to determine whether Matawalle and all the lawmakers are eligible to continue to occupy the various political offices into which they were elected on the platform of the plaintiff.

“That part of the complaint of the plaintiff in the originating summons also relates to the attempts of the 5th to 7th defendants to initiate and commence impeachment proceedings against the 2nd party (Gusau) sought to be joined, who is a member of the plaintiff political party and was elected to the office of deputy governor of Zamfara State on the platform of the plaintiff.

“That the parties sought to be joined were mentioned in the originating summons by name and their actions and inactions form part of the material facts that gave rise to the cause of action and subject matter of the originating summons and are thus persons whose interests may be affected by the outcome of this case, among others”, the application partly read.

The party said the application was brought in the interest of justice to join the said persons as co-plaintiff and defendants to enable the court to effectively and effectually consider and resolve all the issues in controversy in the case once and for all and avoid a multiplicity of actions over the same subject matter.

It said the move was to ensure that “the ends of justice are not defeated by mere technical objections as to joinder of parties.”

When the matter was called, Onoja notified the court about three motions he had which he described as “harmless.”

“Number one is a motion on notice for extension of time filed and served on Sept. 28. The second one is a motion for extension of time filed on Oct. 12 and served”, he said

The two motions were adopted and granted as prayed by Justice Ekwo.

However, when Onoja was about to move the motion for joinder dated and filed September 30, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who is counsel to the 5th, 6th and 7th defendants (Speaker of House of Reps, the governor and chief judge of Zamfara) interjected.

Ozekhome argued that the application filed since September 30, was only served on them three days ago.

He said what the PDP planned to do was to ambush them and recreate a new case because the people it sought to be joined were not even members.

He said more time would be needed to study the motion.

The judge adjourned the matter until Nov. 2 for a hearing of the motion seeking a court order to join some parties in the suit.

Matawalle emerged as the governor of Zamfara State, following a judgment of the Supreme Court on March 24, 2019, that nullified the APC primaries in the state.

The apex court ruling affected Mukhtar Idris, the governorship candidate of the APC, who was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the election and all other candidates of the APC in the general elections.

Get more stories like this on Twitter and Telegram

Recommended Stories