Justice Aminu Bappa Aliyu of a federal high court sitting in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, has fixed 2nd December to rule on the legal tussle between erstwhile governor Abdulaziz Yari and the incumbent, Bello Muhammad Matawalle.
The suit seeks to establish whether the national caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has jurisdiction to form a caretaker committee in the state without consultations with stakeholders.
The genesis of the legal feud is traced to the time of the great decamp on 29th June 2021, when Governor Matawalle decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
Yari said that “soon after the decamp, the acting national chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, on a working visit to Zamfara State dissolved the then-existing exco of the state party and appointed Governor Matawalle as the APC leader in the state at the instance of which a caretaker committee was constituted to handle the affairs of the party.”
Yari and his group swiftly reacted by rushing to the court, challenging the action as illegal and undemocratic.
A court later ruled that both groups should maintain the status quo until the outcome of the court decision.
In an interview soon after the court sitting, the solicitor to the defendant, Barrister Pwahoumdi Lasco, said though he was satisfied with the proceedings, he would not comment on the direction of the judgement.
“I cannot preempt the court judgement, and nobody can do that,” he stressed.
“We have presented our case and they have presented their own and it is now left for the court to decide.”
On his part, the solicitor to the plaintiff, Barrister Daniel Enwelum, said “we are challenging the action of the acting national chairman of the APC governor Mala Buni who at a rally, offhandedly dissolved the existing state exco and handed over the party to the governor as the party leader.”
Barrister Enwelum explained that in the first place, there is no position of a leader of the party and that the constitutional provisions of the APC, articles 13, 14 and 17, particularly article 14, “does not give him the mandate to do such thing”, he stressed.
On the contention by the defendants that the court has ruled that both contending groups should maintain the status quo, the barrister explained that in legal interpretation, ” maintain status quo” means that each group should stop and avoid doing anything that could temper with the substance of the court proceedings.”
He however added that the last ward congress done by the Matawalle’s group was not legally proper and was therefore unlawful and unconstitutional as it was capable of distorting the main substance of the court proceedings.