A Justice Bappa Aliyu Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara state has today ruled that Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara state has the right to defect from the PDP to the APC as the constitution of both political parties as well as the nation’s 1999 Constitution did not prohibit him.
The PDP, saddened by the governor’s defection along with hundreds of thousands of his followers including members of state and national assemblies from the state, has been pursuing the governor with threats, intimidation and court orders for him to return.
In his ruling at the court today, the Federal High Court Judge, Justice Bappa Aliyu who pointed out that the case was neither a pre-election nor post-election matter which would have been an Elections Petitions Tribunal case said the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to treat it.
On the request by the plaintiffs including Bashir Saleh, Abduhamid Haruna and Ibrahim Muhammad Turaki to remove the governor, claiming he had to be in their party to remain in office as presented through their counsel, J C Shakaka, Justice Aliyu informed them that it is only an elections petitions tribunal or the state House of Assembly that have the power to do so.
He therefore charged the plaintiffs to pay the sum of N1 million to each of the four defendants comprising the state Governor, Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawalle MON, the APC, INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation as compensation for wasting their time.
This has therefore put to rest any further claim by the PDP on Matawalle sitting on ‘their mandate,’ because the mandate belongs to the people of Zamfara and entrusted in Matawalle.
We, as a party at the APC office under the leadership of Hon. Tukur Umar Danfulani wish to again commend the Nigerian judicial system for standing firm by the truth without fear or favour.
We particularly commend the Counsel to Governor Matawalle, Mr. Mike Nzekwume SAN for his resilience in the defence of the rule of law and urge him to keep it up.
The good people of the state are highly worthy of commendation over their steadfastness and prayers and we wish to assure the citizens that even though the court processes never intrude in our governor’s effort to bring succour and development to the state, with the court ruling today, he will be more reinvigorated and energised to do more with the confidence that he will continue to enjoy the good prayers of our people.