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MATAWALLE’S DEFECTION- BETWEEN LAW AND MORALITY

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By: Bello Galadi,
 
The planned defection of His Excellency Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun), the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, from his party PDP, to the opposition APC, had heightened tension and generated heated debates. Some see the defection as illegal while some see it as morally reprehensible. I belong to the latter category.
There are quite a number of things that are morally right but legally prohibited. There are also things that are morally wrong but legally permissible. The defection of a sitting Governor is one of it.
Sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended) clearly prohibited sitting Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and Members of Houses of Assembly of States from defecting to other political parties before the expiration of their tenures and spelt out the legal consequences. The Draftsmen deliberately omitted the office of the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, for reasons best known to them. That’s one of the injustices of our justice system- selectivity.
Similarly, Section 188(1) to (11) of the Constitution deliberately refused to recognize defection of a sitting Governor as one of the issues to qualify for impeachment. Therefore, issue of carpet- crossing by Governors is more of morality than legal.
In the case of Matawalle, he can choose not to defect for fear of unknown and the challenges he is likely to face in the APC, but not on the basis of any legal hindrance. He has the right to belong to the political party of his choice, in the exercise of his right under Section 40 of the Constitution and in the absence of any clear provision in the Constitution or Electoral Act that specifically prohibits sitting governors from defecting to another political party before the expiration of their tenure.
I read the arguments of those advocating that it is illegal for a Governor to defect. I also read the record of proceeding and all the orders made by the Supreme Court under which Matawalle was returned as the Governor of Zamfara State in 2019. There was no where the court, either directly or indirectly stated that Matawalle must remain in the PDP until the expiration of his tenure.
It is a settled principle of law that it is the party which sponsors a candidate in an election that wins the election, not the candidate. But once a Governor takes oath of office, it is no longer his political party that is running the office but the candidate. The issue of political party, in my humble opinion, is overtaken by event.
Whether or not my opinion is correct is left to be decided by the court. Whoever is aggrieved by the defection of Matawalle should approach a court of law for interpretation.
Under the principle of interpretation of the Nigerian statutes, it has been established and well settled that “the express mention of one thing in a statutory provision automatically excludes any other stipulation which would have been excluded by implication”. See the case of OPIA VS. INEC & ANOR. (2014) 3 SCM, 175.
In my opinion, Matawalle is morally obligated to remain in the PDP until May 29th 2023. However, he is legally free to defect to APC or NRM or any political party of his choice at any given time.
Barka da shan ruwa to all my Muslim Brothers.
  
Bello Galadi, immediate- past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Gusau Branch (covering Zamfara State) and President of Bello Galadi Foundation.
He can be reached on:
Muhammadbel_law@yahoo.com and muhammadbellaw80@gmail.com
 
14th April, 2021   
  
 
 

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ZMHA AMEND LAW ON AREA DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL.

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Members of Zamfara state house of assembly has passed into law amended Bill for a Law to amend the Area Development Council Establishment Act Law No(7).

The development followed the delivery of
committee report by the house leader Faruk Musa Dosara who doubled as the Chairman of the house standing committee on local government.

With the new development, the qualifications for someone to be appointed as administrator of Area Development Council is senior living certificate .

The new law also stated that, the person to be appointed as Administrator for the Area Development Council must attain the age of (25) years.

The new amendment had also provided that, funds for the execution of development projects be credited to the account of the area development Council directly.

 

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ZMHA SCREEN FMR. BBC STAFF, TWO OTHERS AS SPECIAL ADVISERS.

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Three additional nominees for the post of Special Advisers have been screened by the members of the state house of assembly.

The nominees are Malam Sahabi Ahmad Mada, Dr. Nura Makwashe and Malan Shehu Garba.

Until his appointment, Dr. Makwashe is an academic staff working with the Bayero University Kano and also worked with BBC London during his study days in the United Kingdom.

According to the House Spokesperson Nasiru Usman Biyabiki the screening followed an executive communication received from the office of the Secretary to the State Government.

Presenting the nominees before the members, the house leader, Hon. Faruk Musa Dosara urged his colleagues to accept the nomination and confirm the appointment of the nominees.

Speaker Nasiru Magarya confirmed the nomination of the candidates as unanimous decision of the house.

Magarya urged the nominees to bring their experience to bear and justify the confidence reposed on them in ensuring the sustainable development of the state.

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BILL ON ZAMFARA ANTI-THURGGERY AGENCY SCALES THROUGH FIRST & SECOND READING

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A Bill for an act to establish Zamfara State Anti Thuggery Agency scales through first and second readings on the floor of the state house of assembly on Tuesday.

According to the House Spokesperson Nasiru Usman Biyabiki, the proposed executive Bill was presented on the floor of the house by the House Leader Faruk Musa Dosara.

After extensive deliberation, Biyabiki said, the Bill scales through first and second readings and later presented before the standing Committee on justice and security for further legislative consideration.

“Hon. Magarya said, if established vthe Agency will among other things complement the security agencies’ efforts in curtailing anti-thuggery activities and other social vices in the state” Biyabiki added.

Speaker Magarya called on the committee members to work hard and accomplish the assigned responsibilities within the stipulated period.

 

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