PDP to challenge Zamfara gov’s reported planned defection to APC

June 28, 2021
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Should the governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the All Progressive Congress (APC), as expected, the main opposition party has hinted that it would drag him to court to retrieve its mandate.

The party is basing its position on the combined reading of Section 221 of the Constitution and the pronouncement of the Supreme Court judgement in Faleke vs. the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which affirmed that the votes scored in an election belong to the political party and that the candidate nominated to contest at an election by his party, acts only as of the agent of his party.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who gave the party’s position at a press conference in Abuja Monday, therefore, cautioned Matawalle, saying that his decision to leave the PDP amounts to vacating his office.

He said the main opposition party is watching unfolding events in the Zamfara state and would explore all legitimate means to retain its mandate in the state.

The party spokesman reminded the lawmakers in the state that there is no division in the PDP in Zamfara to warrant any defection to another party.

Ologbondiyan said: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is watching developments in Zamfara state as they concern reports of plans by the state governor, Bello Matawalle, to cross over to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“The PDP categorically cautions Bello Matawalle to know that his plans amount to a decision to vacate office as no law allows him to cross over to any other party with the governorship mandate statutorily given to the PDP through the ballot box, as already established by the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the standing judgment of the Supreme Court.

“A combined reading of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution as the pronouncements of the Supreme Court in Faleke v. INEC (2016) is clear in holding that it is the political party that stands for election, that votes scored in election belong to the political party and that the candidate nominated to contest at an election by his party, acts only as the agent of his party.

“The PDP also cautions members of the National Assembly as well as members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, not to allow themselves to be pushed into losing their seats as the provisions of the constitution is very clear in barring lawmakers from cross carpeting, except in a situation of a division in the political party upon which platform they were elected.”

“There is no division in the PDP to warrant the defection of any of our lawmakers.

“The PDP hopes that Bello Matawalle, as well as members of the National and State Assembly from Zamfara state, will take caution.”

The party spokesman posited that the PDP has done all that is necessary to keep their governors but those defecting lack the courage to withstand the pressure from the APC.

He said: “It is empathetic to say that every requirement to stabilize the party and make our governors to remain in the party has been done to every individual governor.

“But it takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of valour for some governors to be able to withstand, to take a stand and speak out against the situation that the nation has been pushed to.

“Perhaps those that you can find decamping are those who lack the courage to be able to withstand the heat of the APC at this moment.”

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) has approved the dissolution of the Zamfara State Executive of the party.

Ologbondiyan said that the decision is in line with the provision of Section 29 (2)(b) of the PDP Constitution 2017 (as amended).

“All party leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party in Zamfara state should, by this, be guided accordingly,” he said.

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