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I have just read social media publications regarding the judgment delivered today by the respected Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

I am of the firm belief that the judgment, shredded of all legal and factual details, cannot stand the acid test of constitutionalism, nor pass the furnace of appellate courts scrutiny. This is because the tenure of office of a Governor and his Deputy are constitutional matters.

The judgment is said to have sacked Governor David Umahi and his Deputy, Eric Kelechi Igwe from their offices. He cited section 221 of the Constitution, which merely prohibits political activities by certain associations which are not political parties from canvassing for votes or contributing to elections expenses of any candidate at any election. The Judge ordered the PDP to immediately send names of replacements to INEC so that fresh elections can be conducted. He also ordered INEC to cease recognising Umahi and Igwe as Governor and Deputy Governor, respectively, of Ebonyi State.
The learned trial Judge further held that the 393, 042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 9, 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC upon defection, and that there is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferable from one party to another. He therefore order INEC to conduct fresh election in accordance with section 177(c) of the Constitution. Not so fast, the enforcement of this judgment. The Governor and his Deputy have 90 days to appeal this decision under section 25(2), (a) of the Court of Appeal Act, it is their right under sections 240 and 241, of the Constitution, the judgment being a final one.


Perhaps, the Jurist’s learned attention was not drawn to appellate decisions on this type of matter, which under the doctrine of stare decisis and judicial precedent, he ought to have followed meticulously. He may also not have been availed of the clear provisions of sections 180 and 188 of the 1999 Constitution.


It is not only the registered voters of a political party that cast their votes for a President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor. Many non-politically partisan persons also vote; just like opposition party members who may prefer a particular candidate even though not in their party. It is therefore not correct to hold that votes scored by a candidates belong to a political party and therefore not transferable. The courts have since gone over the era of Amaechi V. INEC, where the Supreme Court had held that votes cast in an election belong to a political party. Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as altered that section, by providing that for a candidate to become Governor, he must have participated at all stages of the election. This includes primaries and the general governorship election.


The appellate courts have since held again and again that votes cast in an election belong to a live candidate, and not the political party which merely serves as a vehicle that enthrones candidates.
The Judge in his Judgment had agreed with the PDP which relied on sections 221, 177(c), 106(d) and 65(2)(b) of the Constitution to substantiate its argument that votes belong to the political parties; and it is impossible for candidates to exist without a political party. The case of NGIGE V. AKUNYILI (2012) 15 NWLR (PT.1323) 343 @ 357-376, which came much later over rule this position. The court held in that case that:
“…it is my considered view that the Appellant in relying on the provision quoted above (section 211 of the Constitution), has conveniently lost sight of the underlined words which show that a political party canvasses for votes on behalf of the candidate. In other words that a political party is nothing more than an agent of the candidate in gathering votes for an election. It is my further view that is against the backdrop of this, that the Electoral Act (Supra) requires the candidate (and not the party of the candidate) that has the highest number of votes at an election to be declared as the winner of the said election and further provides for the means of challenging the return of the candidate (and not his political party…”(Emphasis supplied).

In a more recent decision, the Court of Appeal in the case of NWANKWO & ANOR v. INEC & ORS (2019) LPELR-48862(CA) held thus:
“… It is trite that it is only a natural person that can be lawfully declared and returned as a winner of an election. The Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) only contemplates the declaration and return of a candidate in an election and not a political party”.

The authorities cited above have, for all intents and purposes, rested the issue as to whether it is the candidate or the party that owns the votes. The party only serves as a vehicle and nothing more. The judgment is therefore liable to be upturned on appeal.

Thus, the Amaechi case position has since been over taken by the 2010 amendment to the Electoral Act and recent decisions of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, which have now vested the votes on the candidate and no longer on the political party as wrongly held by Justice Ekwo. While interpreting section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, in CPC & ANOR v. OMBUGADU & ANOR (2013) LPELR-21007(SC), the Supreme Court held thus:
“Section 141 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides in unmistaken terms: “An election tribunal or court shall not under any circumstance declare any person Winner of an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all the stages of the said election.” By the above provision, the National Assembly has set aside the decision of this court in Amaechi v. INEC (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) page 227 at 296. Contrary to the decision of this court in Amaechi’s case, the implication of section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) is that while a candidate at an election must be sponsored by a political party, the candidate who stands to win or lose the election is the candidate and not the political party that sponsored him. In other words, parties do not contest, win or lose election directly; they do so by the candidates they sponsored and before a person can be returned as elected by a tribunal or court, that person must have fully participated in all the stages of the election, starting from nomination to the actual voting.” Per NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA, JSC (Pp 51 – 51 Paras B – F).(Emphasis Supplied).

Relying on the judgment cited above, the Supreme Court held thus in the case of OZOMGBACHI v. AMADI & ORS (2018) LPELR-45152(SC), held as follows:
“…I believe the Supreme Court has laid to rest the contention that it is the political party which contests and wins an election. In C.P.C. v OMBUGADU (2013) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1385), the court was categorical that individuals as candidates win election and not the political parties.” Per MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, JSC (Pp. 48 – 49 Paras E – A).
In HARUNA v. APC & ORS (2019) LPELR-47777(CA), the Court of Appeal held thus amongst several others:
“In other words, parties do not contest, win or lose election directly; they do so by the candidates they sponsored and before a person can be returned as elected by a tribunal or court, that person must have fully participated in all the stages of the election starting from nomination to the actual voting.” Per UGO, J.C.A. (Pp. 12-27, Paras. F-F).(Emphasis supplied).
The court further held thus:
“The implication of section 141 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is that while a candidate at an election must be sponsored by a political party, the candidate who stands to win or lose the election is the candidate and not the political party that sponsored him” Per UGO, J.C.A. (Pp. 12-27, Paras. F-F). (Emphasis Supplied).

I therefore most respectfully submit (as held by appellate courts) that a political party is merely a vehicle in which a candidate can ride to contest an election and nothing more. The votes belong to the candidate and not the political party. The political party ceases to have any considerable relevance or insolence over a person that has won an election and has been sworn in as a legislator, Governor or President of the entire people, who are far larger than a mere political party.


More poignantly, the apex court has since laid to rest, the question of whether the President and Vice President (and by parity, Governor and Deputy Governor) can defect from the original party that sponsored them during election to another party. This was the case of AG, Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007) 10 NWLR (Pt.1041) 1, 29.

Briefly, the facts of this case are that Abubakar Atiku (then Vice President) entered into a frosty relationship with his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, after both had been sworn in on 29th May, 2003. Atiku then resigned from the PDP and joined the Action Congress (AC) whilst still in office as Vice President. Obasanjo would brood none of this, as he promptly declared Atiku’s seat vacant as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Atiku, being aggrieved, sued the Attorney General, the IGP and INEC, by way of Originating Summons at the Court of Appeal.

After briefs were exchanged and argument proffered, the intermediate court unanimously held in favour of Atiku. It held that Atiku could defect without losing his seat. Dissatisfied, the A.G and others appealed to the Supreme Court which unanimously dismissed the appeal.
The law is that the Vice President could only be removed from office by reason of death; or when he is succeeded after spending 4 years in office; or through removal from office by impeachment proceedings under section 188 of the 1999 Constitution. Indeed, the apex court held in that case that the power to remove the President and Vice President (and by parity Governor and Deputy Governor) is provided for in section 143 of the Constitution (read section 188 in the case of Governor and Deputy Governor). The Supreme Court held as follows:

“The 1999 Constitution does not provide that the President or Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be removed or is removable from that office if he defects from the political party on whose platform he was elected to that office and joins another political party……….
“It is manifest from the provisions of sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution that the makers of the Constitution intended to; and indeed made punishable the defection of a member of the Senate, House of Representatives or a House of Assembly from the political party that sponsored him into another party before the expiration of the period for which the legislative house was elected by declaring the seat of such member vacant. However, no similar provision is made for the Vice-President. In other words, if the makers of the Constitution had intended the Vice-President or the President to suffer the same fate as a member of the Senate, House of Assembly, they would have inserted such provision in the Constitution in clear terms………
“It seems clear to me that the Latin maxims: expression unius personae vel rei, est exclusion alterius or inclusion unius est exclusion alterius- when translated into English Language mean: the express mention of one person or thing is the exclusion of another or the inclusion of one is the exclusion of another; respectively- are very much apposite here; see the cases of military governor of Ondo State v. Adewunmi (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt. 82) 280 and Attorney-General Bendel State v. Aideyan (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 118) 646 where the maxims were considered.
“Had the law-makers been minded that punishment or consequence of political cross-carpeting should be applicable to the President or Vice-President as they have done in respect of a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives or even a member of the House of Representatives or even a member of the House of Assembly in the aforesaid provisions of sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) would have stipulated same in an unmistakable term in section 146 of the 1999 Constitution quoted above”.

Continued the Supreme Court:
“By virtue of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, it is unconstitutional to deny a citizen of Nigeria the right to opt out of any political party, or the right to join or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest provided that the political party is recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission. In the instant case, it was not shown by credible evidence that the political party to which the 1st respondent defected was not recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission. In the circumstance, the 1st respondent ought not to be penalized for joining the political party”.
“1st respondent is alleged to have defected or cross-carpeted to another political party. Although defection or cross-Carpeting to another party or dumping the original party that sponsored one for election to a particular office which is created by the Constitution, or in the same vein, condemning or criticizing that party or its members who by virtue of the same election hold some offices created by the Constitution, is painful, unconscionable, and immoral, it is however not illegal. I cannot find any fault with the lower court’s adumbration on section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Chapter IV thereof, which guarantees a citizen of this country freedom of association”. (Underline mine for emphasis).


Another stormy tumble and rumble the present judgment will run into is section 308 of the Constitution which grants absolute immunity to the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor from being proceeded against in any civil or criminal proceedings. The only the exception is section 308(2) which permits proceedings against this set of people when they are sued only in their official capacity, or a nominal party.

The case against Umahi and his Deputy were in their personal capacities as human beings who had defected from the PDP to the APC, See Tinubu v IMB Securities Plc (2001) LPELR -3248(SC), I.C.S. (Nig) Ltd v. Balton B. V. (2003) 8 NWLR (Pt.822) 223, Fabunmi v. IGP & Anor.

Consequently, no civil or criminal proceedings could ever sustain against this set of persons, whilst still holding office. Indeed, in the words of section 308(1), “no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period in office”. More significantly, “no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued”.

This was why in Global Excellence Communications Ltd & Ors v. Donald Duke (2007) LPELR – 1323 (SC), The apex court lamented that “section 308 of the Constitution confers absolute immunity on those therein mentioned, without a corresponding disability on them to the exercise of their rights to institute actions in their personal capacities in any relevant court of law for redress during their tenure of office”.

Our discussion here is about the “lex Lata” (the law as it is); and not the “delege ferenda” (the law as we would want it to be. No sentiments or lachrymal effusion here. The Governor and his Deputy could not have been sued at all, to be removed from office for defecting, this not being a pre-election or post-election matter covered by the Fourth alteration to the Constitution, and which expired well over two years ago. The court made it clear in EJURA V. IDRIS & ORS (2006) LPELR -5827 (CA), where the court held:

“The 1st Respondent, the Governor of Kogi State can only be removed by a successful petition heard by an Election Petition Tribunal. Where, as in the instant case the Appellant sought to remove the Governor, by an Originating Summons filed before the Federal High Court, the provisions of section 308 of the Constitution protects the Governor from such a civil proceeding notwithstanding the provisions of section 21(5) of the Electoral Act. The trial Judge was right to decline jurisdiction in the light of the clear provisions of section 308 of the Constitution.” Per RHODES-VIVOUR, J.C.A (as he then was)(Pp. 15-19 paras. F). (Emphasis mine).

This was what was done in the Umahi case.

Going by the above plethora of authorities, I humbly submit that a Governor already sworn in can not be removed by the Federal High Court through an Originating Summons. It will surely be set aside on appeal. Mark my words.

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Monday Editorial


It has become clearly imperative for this medium to blow the trumpet for the newly deployed Commissioner of Police Mr. Yusuf Kolo who since his deployment has helped change the security narrative about the genuine fight against armed banditry in the state.


The deployment of this experienced Police officer has no doubt assisted greatly in improving the security situation of Zamfara state especially the stellar measures he adopted which are increasing social and economic stability in the state.

Reading about his CV and the career he has built in the service of the Nigeria Police Force, it has no doubt raised the hope of the people because for sometimes now Zamfara people had been agitating for deployment of capable Police officer who is vast in terms of security management and fighting insecurity.


For sometimes now, Thunder Blowers had carefully observed that, there is effective patrol and surviellance along the major highways in Zamfara State From Gada-Biyu Round about to Bimasa the Zamfara border town with Sokoto, one may clearly understand that this fine Police officer and gentleman Mr. Yusuf Kolo is ready to deliver his best to the restoration of security architecture  in Zamfara state.

This strategy is also effective at the Gusau-Kaura-Namoda and  Gusau-Gurbin Bore border with Katsina and Gusau-Tsafe-Yankara highways respectively. Within the capital city of Gusau again, there are various check-points mounted within all the strategic positions of Gusau and criminality has really reduced to the barest minimum.


It is evident that, there is serious stop-and-search operations in all the strategic locations in the state. and the recent arrest of some miscreants involved in various criminal activities is a clear indicator that, things are getting better with the new Police Commissioner’s arrival.


It is on record that, since his  assumption in office there has never been a major armed banditry attack in Zamfara except that of Zugu which took place at the bridge of his taking-over of the mantle of leadership of the State Police Command.

His tour of the divisions and formations across the state and his interaction with the officers on Duty Posts has really risen the hope of the people of the state. More importantly, the visitation to the traditional institutions and his engagement with them which had surely manifested in his recent achievements recorded.


We were keenly apt at the manner at which the Police Commissioner is personally moving round the streets of Gusau at the dark of the night to monitor the conduct of the operations of his men. His pictures are all over the social media moving with the other galant police officers working with full force to ensure that people slept with their two  eyes closed.

Residents of  areas of Gusau and outskirts including Damba, Tsunami, Mareri and  the rest are all grateful to this visionary tactical Police officer Mr. Yusuf Kolo for his commitment to ensuring that their hearts are at rest. For instance,from Lalan  to Damba,the level of Police enforcement along that area in the night is adding to the relative stability of the people.


What inspired people more is the manner at which the Police Commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo has effectively but tactically engaged the Nigerian Bar Association to develop strategies on how to jointly speed up the administration of criminal justice system in the state.

Our prayer is for the Police Commissioner to passionately sustain the momentum and continue to work hand in hand with the critical stakeholders to double this commitment, It is indeed wonderful and promising if the momentum is sustained.


Our conclusion on the steawardship of Police commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo is that his achievements speak volumes that he is matching his  academic credentials, his experience with these practical achievements.


We at Thunder Blower wish  you all the best as your partners in the fight against crime and insecurity in Zamfara  State.

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By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of Governor Bello Matawalle family and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness. It is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.

Hon. Abubakar Yanware is a die-hard supporter of the former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar and a strong stakeholder in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara state.

He was among the APC aspirants that contested for the State Assembly post from Tsafe and wanted to contest the APC Primaries for 2023 elections with the current Deputy Speaker of Zamfara Hon. Musa Bawa Tsafe before the APC reconciliation dashed away the hope of  people like him.

He shared his perspectives with the Managing Editor regarding the political reconciliation in the Zamfara APC and raise his concern on matters arising and also shared his perspectives on what is to be done to ensure that the party remains strong and united.



Well, people have their own ways of assessing a political situation or rather have their different ways of reacting to a situations especially when issues involved politics and political developments but for me, there are more to see than one can understand about the Zamfara APC reconciliation.

The leaders namely former Governor Yari, Governor Matawalle and Sen. Kabiru Marafa may be entering into the peace deal with all sense of sincerity because they may want to bring an end to the lingering crises in the APC, but that may not be a true reflection of the mindset of their supporters.

And remember, they have a limit to which they can influence the same spirit into the minds of their supporters because decision-making in politics goes with the perception of the game players here I mean the party supporters.

So, the leaders of the APC in Zamfara, especially Governor Matawalle and former Governor Yari need to take time and make review of the progress recorded from the reconciliation and begin to reach out to their genuine supporters.

I will say this with clear voice our supporters from the site of Yari the former Governor still have reservations with this reconciliation arrangement within Zamfara APC and something very urgent needs to be done to save the party from collapsing.


This is the reality of the situation many people have reservation about this Zamfara APC reconciliation and our leaders need to accept this as the true reflection of what is on the ground and begin to reach out to their supporters.

I am not part of those objecting to the reconciliation and all my supporters are with the reconciliation move hundred percent because I make sure that the moment the political reconciliation was perfected by our leaders I came back home and put my house in order by appealing to my supporters to forget the differences and join hand with the former Governor Yari in the new move.

But I am telling you, many of my political status across the (14) local governments especially those from the camp of former Governor Yari can not convince their supporters to accept the peace initiative entered into by our leaders and this shall be seen as a big problem because you cannot be relying on uncertain political structure to win election.

The feedback we are receiving from the communities is that people cannot be forced to continue to accept decision in the APC without them being properly consulted and this is the exact problem with the current arrangements entered into by our leaders, and for me, their resistance is a concern that need to be addressed with all sense of urgency.


I am sure he must be aware because he has ears to the ground and I believed from the exit of strong party men like Maibuhu Gummi and rest the former Governor must understand that all is not well with the reconciliation move within his camp.

The Governor, on the other hand, must understand that Yari is facing resistance from his supporters because steps that are supposed to be taken to ensure justice and fairness to all party members were not instituted.

Former Governor Yari may not speak this out for some strategic reasons but as wings to the politics of Yari we have to say this with all sense of modesty that politicians from Yari camp need to be accommodated so that their supporters can feel a sense of belonging politically.


I think the former Governor has done his best because since when the political reconciliation started he has been taking steps to ensure that his supporters are contacted, and I know how active he has been working to ensure that sanity is restored within his camp.

I believe it is not enough because time is not on our site and campaign will soon start and there is strong need to reach out to the people because the resistance is really telling bad of our political chances.

Recently, we have lost many people to PDP, and it is not to our best interest politically and all these are happening because there are no extended consultations with the members of the party at the grassroots.

If it means the former Governor should form a committee of consultation, so be it because it is important we get this problem addressed before the main campaign started.


The Governor needs to open his government and accommodate those serious hands from the camp of Yari so that they can have a sense of belonging politically.

By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of his family members and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness and it is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.

We knew the Governor may be facing similar challenges from his camp also, but that is the spirit of political reconciliation because the arrangements shall be “no-winner-no loser”.

Yari camp shall be given posts of Commissioners, Special Advisers and Council Sole Administrators that is justice and if this is done many concerns coming from supporters that have made sacrifices for Yari can be addressed.

Many of my readers would be looking at my position to be too primitive, but that is the only way out. If you go to my local government Tsafe, there are many powerful political forces from Yari and even Marafa camps that are abandoned to their fate, and you think this is healthy democratically?

At least certain percentage of appointments need to be sacrificed to Yari camp so that he can be able to step into the heart of his people, but for now, the Governor had to understand that there is no magic Yari can do to bring stability into his political camp than getting his supporters accommodated.


My answer to this question may not be different from my earlier position. Let the APC leaders in Zamfara- the Governor, former Governor Yari and rest put in genuine mechanism of reconciliation and be just and fair to their followers. Anything short of this no one can predict the end result of the APC political journey in 2023.

I am saying this because I know the kind of reaction that is coming from the people, and it is only justice that can help resolve the current state of uncertainty in the APC of Zamfara.

We know there are many candidates that are more popular in their respective constituencies, but the reconciliation had dashed their hope and political chances and these candidates are left without any arrangements.

You know this is a fact that those who had the opportunity to secure the ticket were only considered for some strategic reasons of reconciliation, not because they are better than the rest in terms of their political popularity.


Neither the party nor the candidate reached out to me since after the party primaries and it was the same thing with all the other aspirants that were aged out as a result of the political reconciliation.

What I expected the party to do was to set up a genuine reconciliation mechanisms that will make people like us who invested in the development of the party have a sense of belonging.

The implications of what is happening within the APC Zamfara is that people like us will be made to move aside and be watching things as they unfold, since the party does not consider us as stakeholders that are needed to win election.

But the APC needs to know that stakeholders like us cannot be abandoned to their fates because it can constitute a political redline to to the party.

It has been the same complaint all over but I wish the party can see reason why it shall reach out to us and carry us along as critical stakeholders.

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Zamfara state Governor had deployed a powerful delegation to inspect the condition of power distribution transformer at Tsafe power station on Monday.

The delegation was headed by the State Commissioner for Health Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe, Special Adviser to Zamfara Governor on Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET), technical staff of the Directorate as well as some powerful politicians in the local government.

The Commissioners who listen to the technical brief by the Directorate officials said the Governor of Zamfara Bello Matawalle was deeply worried when he received the news of the power outage at Tsafe and instantly ordered for on the spot inspection of the power transmission station.

Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe said based on the briefing by the DURET, the transformer which is measured at 2.5 (mba) was too small for the power consumption of Tsafe town, and it’s environ.

He said hence it was suggested that the new transformer to be installed be upgraded to at least 7.5(mba) he will intimate the Governor immediately and get the commitment of the state government in making sure that the problem is addressed out rightly.

He assured that the Governor will do what is right for the people of Tsafe local government by fixing brand-new transformer of high capacity since the existing one is no longer serviceable.

Furthermore, he thanked the people of Tsafe for sustaining their loyalty to the government of Bello Matawalle and assured that the government will do all that are needed to making Tsafe people comfortable.

In a remark, the Special Adviser Directorate of Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET) Alh Muhammad Shinkafi commended the Governor for his prompt response to the plight of Tsafe people and urged them to continue to extend their support to the government.

One of the elder statesmen in the local government Samaila Mudi Tsafe commended the Governor for taking the appropriate step of responding to the complaint of power problem in the Tsafe local government area and urged him to speedily fulfilled the pledge so that citizens of Tsafe can have a sight of relief.

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