The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, over his comment on the plan to remove Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
Keyamo had said that Section 221 of the constitution as well as the judgment of the Supreme Court in Faleke vs the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which the party is hinging on to make its claim, does not relate to the defection of a governor from one party to another.
The minister added that Matawalle’s defection would not cost him the governorship seat, asking the opposition party to accept defeat.
But reacting in a statement on Wednesday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP slammed Keyamo for giving an uninformed opinion on the matter.
The opposition PDP said it would not be deterred by series of threats and attacks coming from the APC and its members.
The party further insisted that the Zamfara state deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, should be accorded the statutory office of the state governor following the defection of Matawalle to APC.
The statement read: “Keyamo, in his failed effort to fault our reliance on the Supreme Court’s direct interpretation of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in its judgment on Faleke v. INEC, ended up exposing a poor knowledge of the application of the law, by stating that the judgment cannot apply in a case of defection of a governor from the party on which platform he was elected to another, particularly, a party that did not even participate in the election.
“We refer Keyamo to the definite pronouncement of the Supreme Court in that case, to the effect 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 incontrovertible applicative import of that judgment is that the votes upon which Bello Matallawe assumed office as the governor of Zamfara state belong to the PDP and they are not transferable to the APC, which did not sponsor candidates for that election as required by section 221 of the Constitution.
“On Keyamo’s claim that once elected, the governor drops that party ticket and becomes free even to decamp to any other political party, we ask if that be the case under the law, how come Mukhtar Shehu Idris of the APC, who was already declared as elected governor of Zamfara State, had to lose the position immediately the Supreme Court decided that the votes cast for APC in that election cannot count?
“Nigeria runs a party system and the judgement of the Supreme Court had made it clear that a state governor only stands on the pedestal of votes belonging to the political party which sponsored him at the election and that, once the pedestal is removed, as in the case of Mukhtar Shehu Idris in Zamfara, or once the governor jumps off the pedestal, as in the case of Bello Matawalle, he automatically loses statutory understructure to remain a governor.
“Perhaps Kayamo needs be reminded that there is no position of independent candidacy in Nigeria which is why it is the logos of political parties and not names of candidates that are imprinted on the ballot papers if he had ever participated in elections and voted before.
“The PDP, therefore, finds it strange that Keyamo chose to jump on a rough voyage, for whatever reasons, to attempt to dissuade the PDP from testing these issues before the law courts.
“In any case, the PDP is not surprised that Keyamo could offer such warped legal opinion picked off the shelves of ‘Jankara’ market since he admitted that his intervention was borne “out of partisanship”.
”It is imperative to advise Festus Keyamo that since he has admitted to partisanship and had even begun to offer legal services to a sinking Bello Matawalle and the APC, he cannot do so as a Minister of the Federal Republic, who earns a living from the taxes paid by Nigerians across party lines.
“The PDP demands the immediate resignation of Keyamo as a minister and also advises him to join Matawalle’s legal team in his already lost bid to run away with the mandate of the PDP.”
This article was originally published on Nigeria News