In a dramatic u-turn, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday in Abuja withdrew Zamfara Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mahadi Aliyu Gusau from a suit seeking to unseat him and his principal, Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle, at the Federal High Court over alleged unlawful defection.
The party had earlier slated Gusau for removal from office as the deputy governor of the state over the same issue.
However, on Friday, PDP lead counsel, Kanu Agabi SAN applied for withdrawal of the deputy governor’s name on the ground that there was no evidence of defection from him
In a motion to that effect, PDP also formally took over the case as the first plaintiff on the ground that the mandate being contested belonged to it.
Following no objections from other lawyers in the matter, Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo ordered removal of the deputy governor’s name.
The judge also ordered that PDP be made the plaintiff and directed the party to amend and file all its processes within seven days.
He subsequently fixed September 29, 2021 for mention into the suit.
At Friday proceedings, Matawalle was represented by a legal luminary, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN while another legal giant, Alhaji Ahmed Raji SAN stood for the APC.
Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Tanimu Inuwa represented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the Federal High Court being used as a battleground, the party asked the court to sack the Governor over his unlawful defection from PDP to the APC.
The request forms part of the reliefs being sought in a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021 earlier filed in the names of two PDP members from Zamfara State, Alhaji Sani Kaura Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed.
The plaintiffs are contending that, in view of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court, to the effect that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 governorship election in the state, having not conducted valid primaries, it would be unlawful for Matawalle to retain his office while defecting from the PDP to the APC, and thereby transferring PDP’s victory to the APC.
They want the court to, among others, declare that Matawalle must resign from his office before his defection to allow INEC to conduct fresh election, within three months, for the PDP to replace them.
Last Monday when the legal battle was kickstarted through an ex-parte motion argued by the plaintiffs lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo granted an order of substituted service of the originating processes on the Governor through APC national secretariat.
The governor had two weeks ago defected from PDP to APC which prompted the move by PDP to claim its mandates from him through court action.