PDP Asks Supreme Court to Sack Matawalle, Defected Zamfara Lawmakers

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has launched a legal battle at the Supreme Court to reclaim its mandate from Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, as well as federal and state lawmakers that defected along with him to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The new suit, filed solely by the PDP as the petitioner/plaintiff, is different from the one filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja by members of the PDP in Zamfara State, seeking to the removal of the governor.

The suit is supported by a 26-point affidavit deposed by the National Secretary of PDP, Senator Umar Tsuari.

The party, in the suit filed by Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), joined Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; the Chief Judge of Zamfara State and the Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, as defendants.

Other defendants are the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Matawalle, who last month joined the APC, became governor after the Supreme Court had annulled the victory of the APC, which won the 2019 general election in the state, and declared the party (PDP) with the second largest lawful votes as winner.

Others on the PDP legal team include Mr. Edward Obiokor, M.S. Agwu, Miss O.J. Iheko, Dike Udenna, Okechukwu Omeodu and Reginald WB Nnwoka.

The first defendant in the new suit is the INEC while the APC is the second defendant. Lawan is the third defendant and Gbajabiamila is the fourth defendant.

The speaker of the state House of Assembly, Matawalle and the state chief judge are the fifth to seventh defendants respectively.

In the suit, the PDP asks the Supreme Court to declare vacant the seats of all its members in the National Assembly and Zamfara State House of Assembly that defected to the APC.

The party sought accelerated hearing of the suit, saying the matter should be determined within 30 days after the service of summons on them, inclusive of the day of such service.

It said the apex court should cause the defendants for an appearance to be entered for them upon the receipt of the summons.

In court documents obtained by THISDAY at the weekend, the PDP is seeking a declaration that “sequel to the decision of the Supreme Court in SC. 377/2019: All Progressives Congress (APC) and Another v. Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and 179 others (2020) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1721) 383, only members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the plaintiff herein, are entitled to occupy or hold the office of governor, deputy governor, or member of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State or occupy any position or seat as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly for the purpose of representing any senatorial district or electoral constituency in Zamfara State for the period beginning from May 29, 2019 and ending on May 28, 2023.

“A declaration that the Supreme Court of Nigeria, having expressly held in SC. 377/2019: All Progressives Congress (APC) and Another v. Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and 179 others (2020) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1721) 383 at 433 that “a party that has no candidates in an election cannot be declared the winner of the election”, that all the votes credited to the alleged candidates of the All Progressives Congress “in the 2019 general elections in Zamfara State are wasted votes” and having “ordered that candidates of parties other than the 1st appellant (the 2nd defendant herein) with the highest votes and the required spread stand elected into the various offices that were contested for in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are foreclosed and debarred from occupying or holding the office of governor or deputy governor of Zamfara State, or the membership of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State or senator in respect of any senatorial district of Zamfara State or membership of the House of Representatives in respect of any constituency in Zamfara State for the period of May 29, 2019 until May 28, 2023.

“A declaration that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Faleke v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1543) 61 at 158, all the votes cast for the candidates of the plaintiff in 2019 general elections in respect of the offices of governor and deputy governor of Zamfara State, in respect of membership of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State, in respect of senatorial seats in all the senatorial districts in Zamfara State and in respect of membership of the House of Representatives for all the constituencies in Zamfara State, are votes cast for the plaintiff and the said votes are transferable at the instance of the plaintiff to its candidates.”

The PDP, based on its submissions, is seeking “an order of mandatory injunction “compelling the 1st defendant by itself or by its servants, or agents to accept the list of the plaintiff’s candidates issued by the plaintiff for the purpose of holding and occupying the office of governor of Zamfara State, members of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State, members of the Senate in respect of the senatorial districts in Zamfara State and members of the House of Representatives in respect of constituencies in Zamfara State and to issue certificates of return to each of the said candidates for the purpose of holding and occupying the said offices now purportedly occupied by members of the 2nd defendant in defiance of the decision of the Supreme Court in SC. 377/2019: All Progressives Congress v. Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and others for the unspent electoral term of office of May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2013.

The main opposition party also wants the apex court to issue “an order of injunction restraining the 3rd defendant by himself or by his servants or agents from recognising or continuing to recognise any member of the 2nd defendant (All Progressives Congress), claiming title to or purporting to represent any senatorial district in Zamfara State for the term of office of May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2023 or in any manner whatsoever denying recognition to or withdrawing recognition from the plaintiff’s candidate representing the senatorial district.

“An order of injunction restraining the 4th defendant by himself or by his servants or agents from recognising or continuing to recognise any member of the 2nd defendant (All Progressives Congress), claiming title to or purporting to represent any House of Representatives constituency in Zamfara State for the term of office of May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2023 or in any manner howsoever denying recognition to or withdrawing recognition from the plaintiff’s candidate representing the constituency.

“An order of injunction restraining the 5th defendant by himself or by his servants or agents from recognising or continuing to recognise any member of the 2nd defendant (All Progressives Congress) claiming title to or purporting to represent any constituency in Zamfara State for the term of May 29, 2019 to May 28, 2023 or in any manner howsoever denying recognition to or withdrawing recognition from the plaintiff’s candidate representing the constituency.

“An order of injunction restraining the 5th, 6th and 7th defendants by themselves or by their servants, agents or associates from initiating any impeachment proceedings against the member of the plaintiff, (Mahadi Aliyu Mohammed) being the deputy governor of Zamfara State or to deny him of any right or privileges attaching to the office of Deputy Governor of Zamfara State or in any manner howsoever denying any member of the plaintiff holding office or occupying the position of member of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State his due rights and privileges attaching to or accruing to his office as a member of the House of Assembly.”

The PDP further wants the apex court to determine the following questions:

“Whether upon a correct interpretation of the provisions of Section 1(2), 287, 221, 177(c), 106(d) and 65(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and upon giving due effect to the decision of the Supreme Court in SC. 377/2019: All Progressives Congress (APC) and Another v. Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and 179 others (2020) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1721) 383, any member of a political party other than members of the Peoples Democratic Party (plaintiff), being the political party who won the highest votes in all the elections in the 2019 general election in Zamfara State is entitled to occupy or hold the office of governor, deputy governor, member of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State or occupy any position or seat as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly for the purpose of representing any senatorial district or electoral constituency in Zamfara State for the period beginning from May 29, 2019 and ending on May 28, 2023?

“Whether upon a correct interpretation of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) and 68(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), 2nd defendant, who were originally elected to the House of Assembly of Zamfara State on the sponsorship and platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (plaintiff herein), namely; (1) Hon. Zaharadeen M. Sada, (2) Hon. Anas Sarkin Fada, (3) Hon. Nura Dahiru, (4) Hon. Nasiru Mu’azu, (5) Hon. Musa Bawa Musa, (6) Hon. Aliyu Namaigora, (7) Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Naidda, (8) Hon. Shafiu Dama, (9) Hon. Kabiru Magaji, (10) Hon. Nasiru Bello Lawal (11) Hon. Yusuf Alhassan Muhammad, (12) Hon. Yusuf Muhammad, (13) Hon. Shamsudeen Hassan, (14) Hon. Aminu Yusuf Jangebe, (15) Hon. Tukur Jekada B/Tudu, (16) Hon. Faruk Musa Dosara, (17) Hon. Nasiru Atiku, (18) Hon. Abdulnasir Ibrahim (19) Hon. Mansur Mohammed, (20) Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Bukkuyum, (21) Hon. Sani Dahiru or elected to the Senate as representing senatorial districts in Zamfara State on the sponsorship and platform of the plaintiff, namely; (1) Sen. Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u, (2) Sen. Hassan Muhammad Nasiha, (3) Sen. Lawal Hassan or elected to the House of Representatives as representing electoral constituencies in Zamfara State namely; (1) Hon. Shehu Ahmad, (2) Hon. Bello Hassan Shinkafi, (3) Hon. Ahmad Muhammad Bakura, (4) Hon. Sani Umar D’Galadima, (5) Hon. Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi, (6) Hon. Kabiru Amadu Gusau, having vacated their seats by reason of becoming members of the 2nd defendant, another political party other than the political party on whose platform they were elected, the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th defendants are entitled to continue to recognise or accord recognition to them as members of the Senate of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, or the House of Assembly of Zamfara State?

“Whether upon a correct interpretation of Section 188 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the 5th, 6th and 7th defendants can initiate removal proceedings or cause removal proceedings to be initiated, receive and/or entertain any notice of allegation from any member or members of the 2nd defendant purporting to be members of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State but who have vacated their seats by virtue of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) of the constitution or to take any step whatsoever, including appointing a panel of seven persons by the 7th defendant for the purpose of removing the member of the Peoples Democratic Party, (plaintiff); Mahdi Aliyu Mohammed, from office as the deputy governor of Zamfara State?

“Whether upon a correct interpretation of Section 221 of the constitution and upon giving effect to the decision of the Supreme Court in Faleke vs. INEC (2016)18 NWLR (Pt. 1543) 61 the plaintiff can be denied the right to submit a list of candidates to replace the governor of Zamfara State, members of the Senate, members of the House of Representatives and members of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State who were originally elected on the platform and sponsorship of the plaintiff but who are now members of the 2nd defendant?”

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