Court strikes out suit filed against Gov Matawalle’s defection to APC

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From Maiharaji Altine Gusau

The Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara state capital has on Monday dismissed the case filed by some PDP members, challenging the defection of Governor Bello Mattawale to the All Progressives Congress (APC)

The Presiding Judge, Justice Aminu Bappah Aliyu while ruling on the suit said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The case in the suit no FHC/GS/CS/14/2021 was filed Alhaji Bashir Saleh, Ibrahim Muhammed Turaki and Andulhamid Haruna.

The plaintiffs had prayed the court to declare Gov Bello Matawalle and Barrister Mahdi Aliyu who won the election on the platform of PDP to vacate their offices following their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on June 29, 2021.

The plaintiffs, through their counsel, J. C Shaka, however, amended the originating summon and excluded the second defendant and deputy Governor for remaining in the PDP.

The plaintiffs had joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and Attorney General of the Federation and third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively in the suit.

They had asked the court to restraint the fourth and fifth defendants from recognizing and dealing the first and second defendants among other prayers.

In his ruling, Aliyu, however said the orIginating summons filed by the plaintiffs lack merit as the matter before the court is neither election matter nor election process.

Aliyu ruled that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.

He further ruled that the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not, in any way, prohibit any person from joining any association or political party of his choice.

Aliyu said it was only an election tribunal or state house of assembly that can remove a governor from office.

The court therefore awarded the cost of N1m to each of the defendants to be paid by the plaintiffs.

Mike Ezeokhome, SAN who represented the Gov Bello Matawalle and the APC commended the court for ruling in favour of his clients, while J.C Shaka said the plaintiffs would study the judgement for further action.

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