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

Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara, on Monday struck out the suit filed against Gov Bello Matawalle and four others for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in June 2021.

Justice Aminu Bappah Aliyu while ruling on the suit on Monday said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The summons in the suit no FHC/GS/CS/14/2021 was filed by one Alhaji Bashir Saleh, Ibrahim Muhammed Turaki and Andulhamid Haruna in the Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara.

The plaintiffs had prayed the court to declare that the first and second defendants, Gov Bello Matawalle and Alhaji Mahdi Aliyu Gusau who won the election on the platform of PDP to vacate office following their defection to the 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 as third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively in the suit.

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

In his ruling, Aliyu, said that the original summons filed by the plaintiffs lacked merit as the matter before the court was 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 could 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 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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