The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, against defecting from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying he risks losing his seat.

The spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, said no law allows the governor to cross to the APC or any other party as the governorship mandate was statutorily given to the party through the ballot box as established by the 1999 constitution and the judgement of the Supreme Court.

It also cautioned 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 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.

The PDP was reacting to a reported plan by Mr Matawalle to defect to the APC.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that a presidential aide had suggested that the governor had joined the APC.

The personal assistant to the president on digital and new media, Bashir Ahmad, in a Facebook post, suggested that Mr Matawalle had left the PDP for the party.

“The PDP categorically cautions Bello Matawalle to know that his plans amounts 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,” the PDP said in the statement sent to this newspaper after the press conference.

Should Mr Matawalle finally join the APC, he would be the third PDP governor to join the APC in the past seven months. The other two are the governors of Ebonyi and Cross River.

The defection of governors and other elected officials from one party to the other is commonplace in Nigerian politics and no governor has previously lost his seat because he changed parties.

Read the full text of the PDP’s statement below.

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 amounts 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.

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

Signed:

Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

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