- Governor Matawalle's defection to the ruling APC has continued to generate political tensions in Zamfara
- The deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, who refused to leave the PDP is said to be making attempts to unseat his principal
- The police, however, stopped Gusau from assuming office as governor, a move that attracted a heated reaction from the PDP
Gusau, Zamfara state - Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, the Zamfara state deputy governor has reportedly got the backing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take over Bello Matawalle’s seat as the governor of the northwestern state.
This followed Governor Matawalle’s recent defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside other elected political office holders in the state.
However, Gusau stayed back, saying he was not carried along on the defection plan, The Nation reported.
The deputy governor predicated his decision to unseat Matawalle on the 2019 Supreme Court verdict which voided the victories of all APC candidates at the elections.
It is, however, gathered that the Zamfara state police command is blocking Gusau’s attempts to assume office as governor, a situation that prompted a reaction from the PDP on Sunday, July 11.
PDP condemns police action
Speaking on the development, PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan condemned what he called attempts by the police to undermine the statutory powers of the deputy governor.
The opposition party claimed that Matawalle lost his seat the day he defected to the APC and cautioned the police against harassment of the deputy governor.
It also slammed the police authorities in Zamfara for “unlawful and vexatious” obstruction of a planned rally by the deputy governor.
The PDP said the deputy governor was vested with statutory powers to take the seat of the governor “in a situation where the governor has vacated his office”, in line with the extant ruling of the Supreme Court.
According to the party, the police should be providing the deputy governor "with all the protection and privileges" rather than "harassing" him, The Guardian also reported.
PDP’s legal team to oust Zamfara governor constituted
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP has approved a legal team led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Godwin Kanu-Agabi, to challenge the defection of Governor Matawalle.
The legal action was not limited to Matawalle as it would also challenge the legality of the defection of members of the national and state assemblies from Zamfara state.
Kanu-Agabi would lead a team of lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), when the suit challenging the defections would be filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja this week.