Six council chairmen in Zamfara State, who were sacked by Governor Muhammad Matawalle, have taken the governor to court challenging their removal from office. Matawalle recently removed all the 14 council chairmen, but later reappointed eight who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). PDP has been holding sway in Zamfara since May 29, 2029.
Chairmen of Gusau, Mafara, Bakura, Maradun, Gumi and Shinkafi councils, who stayed back in the APC, were those not recalled. One of the affected chairmen, Alhaji Babangida Abdullahi, who disclosed their intention to seek redress in court, told newsmen in Abuja that their removal from office was illegal and unconstitutional.
Abdullahi, who was the chairman of Gusau before his removal, lamented that the resolution of the House of Assembly, which the governor relied on to remove them from office, was most undemocratic.
He said they were accused of mismanagement of funds, yet the state assembly neither probed them nor even invited them for questioning, but decided to take the laws into their hands.
Said he, “The whole thing is about our refusal to dump the APC for the PDP. The state assembly, which is wholly PDP, chose to victimise us. After accusing us of financial mismanagement, no one ever presented any petition to us, or invited us to face any panel and defend ourselves. The next thing was removing us from office.
“We were 14 council chairmen and the whole drama took place in less than 12 hours. We were sacked and caretaker committees were announced and inaugurated in less than 12 hours.
“What is the criterion used in reappointing the eight as caretaker chairmen? The simple reason is that they have defected to the PDP, but the six of us, who refused to be bought over, were sacked when our tenure has not elapsed.”
Abdullahi declared that the “injustice and undemocratic attitude of the Matawalle-led PDP government” could not stand. “We must pursue it to the final court in the land.The rule of law must take its course, and we must be reinstated to complete our tenure. We were democratically elected and cannot be sacked by wave of the hand.”
Matawalle, who is a product of the rule of law, must not stand the law on its head, he added
“We are surprised that Governor Matawalle, who got his mandate at the Supreme Court, courtesy of the rule of law, will so blatantly violate the constitution of the country. If not for the law, he would not be governor today. Therefore, we call on him to rescind his decision and act in consonance with the laws of the land.”