February 08, (THEWILL) – A Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara state capital on Monday dismissed the suit challenging the defection of Gov Bello Matawalle and four others from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
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
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 the 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 (the deputy governor) for remaining in the PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and Attorney-General of the Federation, were joined as third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively in the suit.
The plaintiffs 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 on Monday, Justice Aminu Bappah Aliyu, held 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.
Speaking on the judgement, Mike Ezeokhome (SAN), who represented 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.